Kenyan launch of Service Delivery Indicators (SDIs) for accountability and results

African child in a classroom
Some rights: www:flickr.com common: Adam Oxford

Hivos has partnered with the US-based Hewlett Foundation to monitor the quality and performance of Kenya’s primary schools and health clinics as part of an Africa-wide SDI initiative. The indicators provide a set of metrics for benchmarking service delivery performance in these sectors to track progress across and within countries over time.

Kenya is the first country where the  Service Delivery Indicators( SDI) have been implemented, following pilot surveys in Tanzania and Senegal.  The main objective of the initiative is to generate current data on the quality of service delivery that can help citizens to hold their respective governments accountable and push for change that delivers better results for them.

“When information is objective and of high quality and when this information is placed in the hands of the client and at the same time in the hands of decision makers, that is when we see change happening” says World Bank Country Director, Diarietou Gaye.

Hivos will be offering grants to pre-existing coalitions and networks that would like to use the information, though interested parties are encouraged to push the boundary in how they intend to use the data.

“The project seeks to partner with new and traditional media to present the information revealed by the data to the general public, in user friendly ways. The SDI project is going to try and think a little out of the box with our partners.  We encourage sectors that usually don’t work together to do so,” says Will Jansen, director of Hivos in East Africa.

Through this programme, Hivos will support Kenyan Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), media organisations and journalists in the use and dissemination of the SDI information.

Education and health account for a third of government spending, but the SDI findings revealed that  Kenyans were not getting value for their money from either sector. Teachers and health providers were found to be performing at modest levels at best. For example, public school teachers were 50 percent more than likely to be absent from schools compared to their private school counterparts. While 80 percent of  public health facilities have sanitation, only 58 percent of drugs needed by mothers are available.

The launch of this programme comes at an important time for Kenya, as it offers the new government both challenges and opportunities. How Kenya manages performance in health and education is important for both the effectiveness of public spending and a more equitable sharing of future prosperity.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the World Bank are providing funding for the  SDI initiative, and the data used  has been collected by teams managed by the World Bank.