Journal: Research Data Share KE Design Team


Sept 10, 2020

Attendees: Wangari, Wambui, Hawi, Angela, Aurelia


  • Discussion of our design group organization, tasks, etc - this document here.

  • Review Gender and COVID-19 new essay by Syokau and Aurelia here. Discuss any future thematic areas that people might be interested in exploring - put on the back-burner

  • Update from writing call.

  • AOB

Links shared:


  • Collaborative formations between supervisors and students at ASAA felt different to Kenyan students at USIU. Funding given to pairs (rather than just the faculty?).

  • Hawi - finishing master’s thesis. Private security from human rights perspective under COVID19 (for his NGO). G4S, watchmen (askaris). Visiting different sites; Kajiado, Nairobi, Kiambu, Machakos. 300 - 400 guards and the communities around them. Tools once they are ready for peer review. Usalama Forum. Civil Society Org. iCoka - international coalition on private security and Dikaf - Swiss gov’t.

  • Hawi has also written an opinion piece on the ongoing stalemate at the senate. Please take time to read and share.

  • WW: What's the new regulation the government has introduced?

    • Private Security Regulation Act. Registration, management, etc. Law in 2014. But largely lying on the shelf.

  • Writing together: figure it out from the beginning.

  • Establish who is “in” on a particular writing project. (Then need ways to hold each other accountable).

  • First joint writing together - A's dissertation chapter on RDS group and then turns into ESTS piece (in 2021). 

    • Each project should establish who is lead(s). 

    • Formalize it. Meeting to formalize the first chapter/project. Lock in our projects in future.

  • Dissertation chapter/ working towards ESTS article in

    • Lead: Angela

    • Group: Wambui, Wangari, Hawi, Aurelia

  • Governance - organic. Are we a democracy?

To Dos:

  • Set of questions to guide the analysis. Angela to start a draft. Make sure all members are on the "deutero" essay in RDS.

Next Meetings: 

(Optional) Writing/co-working call: Sept 24, 2020: 5 PM - 6 PM NBO

(Monthly) design team call: Oct 8, 2020 5 PM - 6 PM NBO

August 13, 2020

Attendees: Aurelia, Syokau, Leo, Angela, Wambui


  • Discuss any technical / other questions based on the last co-working session.

  • Review Gender and COVID-19 new essay by Syokau and Aurelia here. Discuss any future thematic areas that people might be interested in exploring.

  • Discussion of our design group organization, tasks, etc - this document here

  • Update on sub-groups RE: the papers we’d like to write together/their audiences - outline here

  • AOB

Links shared:


  • Reviewed some of the technical issues that came up during the last co-working session. 

    • Analytic question sets vs questions

    • How to annotate vs create essay

  • WM: I caught the tail end of Angela's comment earlier about the need to standardize how we annotate e.g. starting the title with our initials, etc. I think it will help us manage and find information better as our data bank grows.

  • Talked about use of PECE as a workspace vs publication and the kinds of skills that we are gaining right now (qual data analysis):

  • (three ways PECE can be used - as

  • Added to this doc on possible publication projects. Decided that we would have another call to focus on this because we always run out of time. Call will be on August 27 at usual time.

To Dos:

  • By next call on Sept 10, Syokau and Aurelia will complete their essay on Gender & COVID19 for the rest of us to review and offer feedback on.

Next Meetings: 

(Optional) Writing/co-working call: August 27, 2020: 5 PM - 6 PM NBO

(Monthly) design team call: September 10, 2020 5 PM - 6 PM NBO

July 9, 2020

Attendees: Hawi, Aurelia, Trevas, Wangari, Angela, Wambui


  • Intros and Updates

    • What have people learned about their specific questions that they have been annotating with?

  • Discussion of the papers we’d like to write together/their audiences - outline here

  • Reflecting in detail on annotating and adding artifacts. If you have feedback on the actual platform as you go through the process, you can annotate using these questions.

    • Outline the parts of the process

    • What were the benefits of going through the process? What were some of the challenges?

    • ...

Links shared:


  • Saba Saba protests were not covered well in the news yesterday. Mainstream media not covering social justice issues well.

  • Co-working session worked well. 2 hours was short. 

  • AM: There’s a lot more questions we can ask from the materials that we have. One artifact can generate so much information. Annotating as a technique to raise more questions into a topic.

  • Discussion about publication venues (see this doc for more)

  • Next meeting agenda will include discussion about how we want to operate and govern our design team based off this doc.

To Dos:

  • Think more about publication forms & venues (and what your own goals and priorities are) and add them in here.

    • Wambui to lead on academic publication

    • Leo (?) to lead on policy level intervention

    • Aurelia & Hawi to work together on better understanding how we might be able to feed the work we have done so far into “grassroots” type orgs and their existing work.

  • Develop thematic (sub)-essays based on people’s annotations/interests. AO to work with Aurelia and Syokau to flesh one out as a sample prior to the next call.

  • Keep working on artifacts and annotations!

Next Meeting: August 13, 2020 5 PM - 6 PM NBO


June 11, 2020

Attendees: Aurelia, Hawi, Angela, Trevas, Wambui, Nicera


  • Intros and Updates


  • HR:

    • Seen a lot of demonstrations related to police violence. Human rights activists doing demos in Kiambiu, Mathare… has generated into a big issue. Kiama arrested and taken to police cell. Milimani court. Tweet related to two demos - US embassy and going to the courts. US embassy one was peaceful/no police brutality. One going to high court had tear gas and arrests.

    • Economic hardships due to COVID19. Police arresting these people in informal settlements because they are not abiding by the curfew (because they cannot). Police brutality.

  • AM:

    • Topic of racism in KE is institutionalized. Racism that gets attention is “on the face” kind of racism. People have not been attentive to the racism in instiutions. People are now beginning to talk a bit about it/African history. More people identify with police brutality. Those linkages open now. People beginning to see the injustice of racism but hasn’t opened a big convo in everyday person’s language. On a lots of whatsapp rounds. Amnesty International, Oxfam, etc. corporate and NGOs who normally do not like to talk about these things are really taking a stand on this. UN Women. AU envoy meeting yesterday discussing parallels between how Africans are being treated.

  • TM:

    • Aspects of police relationship read as police brutality in KE. Race is profiled in KE on basis of colonialism. King Leopold’s statue in Belgium brought down circulated more around whatsapp groups. The colonial attachment to race was more significant.

  • HR:

    • Need to look at the history. Question of segregation that has been institutionalized. People of diff economic backgrounds segregated based on spending and earnings. Informal settlement residents don’t get certain things because of where they live.

    • Police brutality would not be there if people could get adequate access to resources like water. Opening of Eastleigh - gov’t saw losing a lot of money based on trying to enforce the protocols. Neighboring communities were sneaking in and out of the hubs and arrested/beaten, etc.

    • June 6 - President wanted to open up KE. People expected him to open but big surge of cases. Curfew extended to 9 pm.

    • Cases increased in Nairobi and Busia (because of the border). People wearing masks and going about their business.

    • Police finding other ways to exploit citizens. Using masks as excuse to get additional money.

  • HR:

    • Amnesty International leading a police working group who met with CS Matiangi and justice system. Tweet about this meeting. What came out between civil society and the gov’t?

  • AO: What are local/international corporates and NGOs/IOs doing?

    • TM: IMF has splurged on KE (good for hustler gov’t)

    • WW: George Floyd playing out in diff. Way here. Talking about colonial history and succeeding structural problems that have been there. Linking that to human rights. Local activists.

    • AM: Channels like The Elephant have helped to contribute to knowledge and awareness raising. They are the ones we are relying on for papers. The org we are writing for, it is a think tank but when we write about police brutality, they say, sorry we are not activist… don’t be so strong. Felt censored by that. A lot of funding may come with COVID. Lots of calls made for COVID. AM in the rotary club, lots of money coming in for COVID. Is COVID everything? What about the other issues? In terms of funding, funding has still not changed, there is a lot of money going to the horn for example. Funding in a targeted way that is not contextualized for the people. Funding going through state or humanitarian effort but still feels like funding is for relief and not for building safety nets, institutions, etc. How is it supporting community response mechanisms? Communities left alone to sort themselves. Funding never reaches that level of impact.

      • WW: “The Elephant for sure has done a huge job in highlighting the lesser-known stories/perspectives in relation to the COVID-19 issue: data, opinion pieces, lengthy interviews with experts (I've seen an economist, epidemiologist among others).”

    • Article on the IMF COVID 19 injection fund:

    • HR:

      • Right now no physical trainings or international travel, etc. Many orgs are still mum. Discussions that are happening but in the UN quarters. Many calls for proposals but they have gone mute a bit. This will shift the direction for post-COVID. Virtual trainings and conferences, etc.

      • Issue of funding

    • TM: 

      • Words and figures thrown left right and center. Biggest problem I’m finding is figures thrown all around. Health is a devolved function so it is supposed to be at the level of county.

    • WW: “Government has set up various working groups, plus there has been talk of cash transfers for the elderly and vulnerable groups, and an artists' fund. Only problem is that there is no clarity on how the artists' fund will be disbursed (who is an artist is a key question), plus there are claims that some of the money for vulnerable and elderly groups is not getting to the intended recipients.”

    • WW: The gov’t does not trust citizens; citizens don’t trust gov’t. Gov’t says one thing and practices something else. 400 people in Nyeri allowed to a funeral. Thought we were supposed to be social distancing. Seeing politicians meeting, etc. complete inconsistency.

  • What we are working towards:

    • AO: there were two streams - archiving and documenting the online conversations as generating our own data + finding what existing data is there (this has been less active). End goal was to present at IODC in Nov. on qualitative open data. If this is the case, how are we capturing our own learnings related to this process?

    • What are our experiences related to annotating? Different synergies that we have - diff. Backgrounds.

    • Goal: write a paper. Show what we speak out and communicate. Towards that, think about conference paper or something else.

    • Work becomes the research process. Let’s also capture what we are doing, how we are doing, what we experience. These zoom meetings, etc. actively document.

    • These practices can help us to open up conversations about documenting and generating data. Data coordination. We can make bigger contribution in how data is managed in the country.

To Dos:

  • Aurelia to set up a standing co-working time.

  • All to keep annotating and adding artifacts. We will discuss these in detail during next call and also reflect on the process so far. These reflections also form our working group’s data for our future papers.

Next Meeting: July 9, 2020 5 PM - 6 PM NBO


May 14, 2020

Attendees: Wangari, Angela, Wambui, Syokau, Aurelia, Trevas


  • Intros and Updates:

    • What have you been noticing about how public discourse in Nairobi is changing about COVID-19?

    • Other updates?

  • Transnational STS COVID-19 Project

    • Next monthly call (June 11) to be a joint meeting with members of this transational project to share what we have been working on with them and getting their feedback and questions. Can think together with us about what we have been finding.

    • We can use shared analytic questions that cut across other contexts to think comparatively about similarities and differences. Need to further flesh this essay out before the June call.

    • For example, how is social media being used in other contexts?

  1. What do you do when you see “mis-information”? [Is there a point where we might want to intervene? Would it be useful to begin creating comparative examples to throw back into public discussions? No “right answer” but to get people to think a bit differently?]

  • Annotating 

    • Everyone to pick a question and work on it for a week/during the week to answer it

    • [Start crafting questions customizable to your unique interests but opens for collaboration; e.g. one on mental health for Joyce; data for Angela and others; etc. etc.]

    • New members and how to distinguish roles

    • Next steps?



    • Updates & Observations:

      • Wambui: Disease seen as a Nairobi problem? No testing outside of Nai. Life going on as normal. Police blocks going in/out of Nairobi. Denial? Specific hospital set aside for COVID cases but no cases that have been there. County gov’t leadership has not done anything that shows proactiveness. Typical politics as usual (opportunist thinking, more political rather than anything). Interested in nature of communication or the lack thereof: news from media; kwa ground, haven’t felt it; invest in existing infrastructure - nyumba kumis, chiefs, etc. to bring the disease closer. Such distance in communication - disease is NBO disease, no urgency locally, rural counties are different b/c economic activities are different. Small farm agri. - how to manage that? Rely on your own thinking and own common-sense. Big remove from what central gov’t talking about.

      • A: role of social media?

      • W: news of crime, etc. thefts speak to economic situation - stealing food. Struggles are filtering through in some of the things people are doing. Reliance on media and what media has said. Whatsapp groups very similar.

      • A: interesting to see materials from around the world circulating - e.g. images from Indonesia, US, UK, etc.

      • Wangari: lots of info on mental health, uptake is very low. Missing is community based kinds of support. Socioeconomically, people struggling to put food on table. Alcohol. More talk about mental health but prioritization low still.

      • Syokau: Magufuli (TZ) tested Pawpaw and some animal (?) which is fueling a counter narrative questioning whether corona really is a thing and how do we know we have it.

      • A: where are the fault lines being drawn?

      • S: Taxi driver - we were told 21 days; no savings now. Need to go back to make money. How are people going to eat? Ruaka - washing hands; masks became a thing; now no one wears a mask. People saying, "if i haven’t gotten it already then i won’t get."

      • Maybe only Hon. Mutahi Kagwe (Cabinet Secretary for Health in the Republic of Kenya) being the cautioning voice.

      • Wambui: urgency of COVID has become diluted. Who communicates and what are they saying? Not following the 3 PM bulletins as much.

      • “God will be with us.” “God will not let us suffer.” Recognition that this thing is serious but what do we do? Just have to hope for the best (not sure we can handle it if it comes).

      • Center (Nairobi) vs periphery (rural)

      • Conflicting messaging coming out. KEMRI has no money and they are the ones doing the testing. Lead researcher fired. Dissonance somewhere there contributing to us being very relaxed.

      • A: Where’s aid? Donor orgs?

      • S: Any support you do right now… biggest way to give back is via food or money. Any org is trying to give back that is predominantly what they are doing right now.

      • How will this COVID19 time change the next elections?

    • Wambui: What kind of speech emerges around challenging times/seasons? Elections, pandemics, etc.

    • Wangari: Craving good news.

    • Syokau: Add annotation question on transition of what a normal work day looks like? People forced to work remotely, etc. The way we were measured in terms of work, arrive early. What does productivity look like, how is it measured? Once this season is over, how will it shake out?

    • Aurelia: Didn’t end up coming to Africa in the way it came to the West. Behavior change. What influences people? Kilimani people all masked up but other parts of town, not a big deal. Don’t see a post-COVID era coming anytime soon. How do we live with COVID? Tourist economies really need to think about how to grapple with this. Thought would see public health officers enforcing the rules, water for hand washing has been empty. Laxity of public health is really worrying.

    • A: Interesting that police have been seen as so heavy handed with enforcing but health officials not... Speaks to the capacities of the Kenyan state that are already well-established?
    • Wambui: Citizens always playing cat and mouse with government. Disfunctional relationship. Who do you trust and why? Why are people not complying? People understand the problem. Something removed to the individuals’ daily life. This authority telling you on TV - “you must” as opposed to central authority saying you are on the same side. Police is coming to remind you, let’s be careful. Trust (in gov't/media/science/etc) is interesting to unpack.

    • Trevas: are other neighborhoods observing curfew? Wambui: yes for the most part it seems so.

    • Wambui: Translation of technical terms into languages other than english. E.g. alcohol based sanitizer. Is something getting lost in translation. Some of the struggle of communication in how people are understanding the disease.

    • Aurelia: Ghetto radio conversations show the level of disconnect in information. callers asking: "Can i just be taking my lemon and I’ll be protected?" You can see the information gap. Ghetto radio, where Kenyans really are at.

    To Do:

    • Choose "your" annotation question to adopt. If you don't see one you are interested in, work with Angela to add it in.

    • [We will add annotation question on changes to “work day” and environment - for Syokau; add annotation question on communications strategies / rural/urban differences - for Wambui]

    • Group goals:

    • Everyone add in (ast least) 1 artifact per week to RDS.

    • One annotation (of that artifact) (using “your” question) per week.

    • Angela will move in those annotations into this essay out before the June call.

    Next Monthly Call: Thursday June 11, 2020 5 PM - 6 PM Nairobi

    April 16, 2020


    • Trevas Matathia, Joyce Wangari, Leo Mutuku, Esther Obachi, Angela Okune, Rapudo Hawi


    • Intros and Updates:

    • FAQs:

      • Clarification: This COVID-19 project is a way for us to build our understanding and skills related to research data in KE. We are not trying to become COVID-19 experts per say but leveraging the important moment to understand and also develop a collective, public dataset and learn from the process of attempting to do so what it means to develop collective datasets in/for/about Nairobi/Kenya.

      • Clarification: Through this process we are learning about how we can build public datasets together. Check out this collaboration agreement which was just added to the Working Group sign up form recently.

    • Tentative two-part workplan (discussed from ~27 minutes - 36 minutes)

      • Interested in:

    1. Identifying and understanding previous research that we believe could be relevant to understanding COVID-19 (identifying thematic areas we believe to be relevant; aggregating and synthesizing what has already been done; identifying and searching for datasets available)

    2. Building new dataset of COVID-19 public discourse and analyzing their significance and shifts and changes. How is COVID-19 in Kenya similar/different from others parts of the world (comparative aspect links us to the Transnational project)

    Work Plan Part 1 (Lead: Leo)

    • Doc here to outline potential areas of previous research that we believe could be relevant. We will then divvy that up and look for potential data as it relates to these topics (and hopefully eventually get access to some that we can put into RDS and share). Please add to the doc with your ideas.

    • How do we use Zotero? (here is our zotero bibliography)

    Work Plan Part 2 (Lead: Angela for now; Rapudo & Trevas volunteered to help lead on moving artifacts from whatsapp into RDS)

    • Angela will make a video walk through RDS platform and how to:

      • Upload artifacts

      • Annotate artifacts

      • Review current essay here. How to add your artifacts and annotations into the essay.

    • We will have another technical session to work on the onboarding onto RDS.

    • Then we need to finalize on analytic questions (draft here).

    Technical infrastructure - To Do ASAP:
    • Join whatsapp group if you haven’t already [sign up for working group via this link to receive link to whatsapp group]

      • We are currently using the group to share links to articles and news that relate to how COVID19 is affecting everyday lives in KE and beyond, esp. if it has an interesting research angle (under work plan part 2)

      • Max 2 posts (most relevant)/person a day so as not to fill our feed.

      • When you send an artifact, pls include brief 2 sentence commentary on why you think the artifact is interesting/important (this would be the “critical commentary” section).

    • Join Zotero bibliography here.

    • Register for the Research Data Share platform here.

    • Audio recording here.

    • Question: what is the long-term goal RE: applying for project funding for this work?

      • Discussion ~18 - 25 minutes:

        • As we develop this out, we may decide to develop a collective proposal. But also no problem to use the open dataset to develop your own individual or organizational proposal to do further research. It is something we can keep discussing. We may also possibly develop a collective proposal if we see a need to. We can keep an eye out for opportunities and revisit this when we see anything promising.

        • End game: Have an open, searchable dataset that can be pulled into your own repository to enable further research. Then develop research proposals to dive deeper into the datasets, perhaps building out further what we might begin to see from the data.

    • Question: how are you collecting data?

      • Are we using government data?

      • We are aggregating into the whatsapp group but next steps is to catalogue the resources in the whatsapp group so that people can discover, search, access it and do additional work on it.

    • Suggestion by Leo: Keep a running list of research questions.

    Next CallS:
    • Technical Q&A on RDS platform: Wednesday April 22, 2020 5 PM - 6 PM Nairobi

      • Angela will send video tutorial ahead of time.

    • Monthly Call: Thursday May 14, 2020 5 PM - 6 PM Nairobi

    March 19, 2020 NOTES


    Aurelia (Eider Africa); Jimmy (BIEA librarian); Rapudo Hawi (Kijijiyeetu; smart villages – trying to strengthen village units in the county;; Leo (Intelipro/Quotidian Data); Angela (UC Irvine Anthropology/Quotidian Data)

    Agenda: What's next?

    • Idea: Surfacing data better (so that we avoid asking repetitive questions of the same communities.) Have we fully exhausted these other places where we could be looking for alternative secondary data? How do go about identifying them? Making that knowledge available/public?

      • Context: Nairobi history and the data that feeds into/makes Nairobi history. What is easily available? What is missing and should/could be made more available?

        • Proposed next steps:

          • 1) Identify what data is available (RE: Nairobi history). Where/what formats? What stakeholders do we need to involve?

          • 2) Input curated versions into RDS, with permissions.

          • 3) Develop analytic questions related to questioning the always build-in margins:

          • 4) Might this be relevant for some of the research classes taught to be integrated into syllabi/coursework? Perhaps sharing this out as a resouce for Nairobi-based faculty teaching research methodology?


    Audio recording here.

    Given the state of the world right now, it could be particularly interesting to think about how we might be able to collate existing research data that ties to COVID19 issues. 

    What previous research projects have taken place that are relevant to thinking about and working on the COVID 19 emerging crisis? Where is the data? What formats are available? Where are they? What access do we have?

    Use it not to repeat but to build up further (future) interesting research.

    Aurelia: e.g. How does the idea of handwashing work out in informal settlements? What coping strategies exist? Interpersonal relations? What questions would be interesting in that space?

    • There has been a LOT of research on handwashing under the notion of “WASH projects”. Can we get access to it? Need to get access to the donor reports/data on people’s laptops.

    Brainstorm of types of existing projects/research themes that could also be relevant for understanding the sociotechnical dynamics of COVID19:

    • Informal economy

      • Markets - Gikomba traders – not enough

    •  Informal settlements

      • WASH

      • (Measures by gov’t have been about comfortable life – hand sanitizers, etc. Access to water is a problem in many of these parts… not about hand sanitizer…)

    • Schools/edtech

      • What does virtual education look like?

      • Online learning – not an area so developed. What opportunities are emerging from having this? How are teachers coping and students?

      • Edtech research

    • Mobility infrastructure

      • Does Railway museum have any data on movement of people, past and present?

    • Nairobi culture

      • Dynamics that shape our livelihoods.

      • Looking at culture that emerge in Nairobi such as genge, sheng, mababi

      • Dynamics of livelihood based on societal needs that attract people such as makongeni, Jericho, buruburu, kileleshwa, karen, runda, westlands

    • Pharmaceutical supply chains

    • Ebola Research

      • How did countries manage ebola? What systems did they put in place? Lots of research and actual data from ebola. How healthcare systems can handle pandemic even their current structures right now?

    To Do:

    • Add further to the above brainstorm list.

    • Angela to set up a doc to add to:

    • Circulate this blurb online while we have 30 days (at least) of “cognitive surplus” to enlist more people to our group:

      • “As natural scientists collaborate towards developing vaccines for the global pandemic, we invite social scientists to similarly work together to translate our individual experiences and data into collective knowledge that can support communities. Join the Research Data KE Working Group if you are interested in collating existing qualitative/ethnographic research resources across diverse thematic areas relevant to thinking about and working on the COVID 19 global pandemic. Sign up here.”

    • Share in the new whatsapp group relevant materials from other whatsapp groups/Twitter/news, etc. esp. News clippings; research reports; etc. etc. These do not have to be “Africa”-specific but it will be interesting to see the kinds of materials that get circulated and how other countries are also talked about.

      • Angela will archive those into RDS platform for us to look at together; can inform our understanding of the media narratives related to this pandemic and be object of analysis in the future.

    • Aim: collate as much of the available and relevant qualitative/ethnographic data that could somehow tie into/inform current/future work on COVID19 (and other global health pandemics). 

    • Investigate:  How much relevant research data currently exists in portals?

      • Start with Open Data portals

      • Move to our existing networks via orgs and individuals. Find out if researchers will mind sharing with us their research reports.

    • Next meeting: Thurs April 16 5 PM Nairobi:

    Additional organizations to involve:


    • Info held within media.

    • Roping in media representation. Newspapers. Lots of social media. Local data. Sometimes not published.

    Rope in organizations – within the working group, orgs on board. Data – because of how we are penetrated by donor-led projects, lots of data is within orgs. So seeing how we can have them help us know what has been done.




    Creative Commons Licence


    Contributed date

    March 3, 2020 - 3:01pm

    Critical Commentary

    AO: This text artifact includes the running agenda and monthly meeting notes for the Research Data KE design team established out of the Archiving KE event at the end of 2018.


    Research Data KE Design Team