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[liberationtech] National Violence Outbreak Early Warning System in Kenya

Terry Winograd winograd at
Mon Feb 28 21:49:04 PST 2011

National Violence Outbreak Early Warning System in Kenya

Effective early warning systems have been recognized as prudent
investments, and when coupled with early preparedness for early
response; they help in mitigating conflict and increasing stability.
Kenya’s post election violence of 2007/2008 cast a dark shadow in the
country as response options proved ineffective and wanting. While the
Intelligence Service seemed to possess actionable intelligence on the
likelihood of violence in many parts of the country, their
communication channels did not appear to reach to people on the ground
or civil society agencies (Commission of inquiry, 2008). Based on this
experience, the urge to develop a harmonized conflict early warning
system came to the fore.

The National Steering Committee (Office of the President) in
partnership with UNDP-Kenya has since worked on the development of
such a System. Zab Vilayil was tasked to implement his concept of an
Integrated Conflict Early Warning mechanism into the context of Kenya.
The framework of the System applies the state of the art use of
technology, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Short Message
Service (SMS), Indicator-based Situation Reports, Media Reports as
well as other sources to cross-reference information. This system is a
hybrid mixture of public crowd sourcing and national structure
sourcing, which contribute in information cohesion. The customized
National Conflict Early Warning System for Kenya was launched on
November 25th, 2010 and is considered one of the most refined conflict
early warning information tools.

Zab Vilayil is a human security practitioner and early warning systems
developer. He draws conceptual and practical insight from his
experiences in Iraq, Kuwait, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda,
India, Uganda, and Kenya. His work ranges from teaching in Edmonton to
research work on the Ssese Islands in Uganda. Vilayil is based in
Canada and most recently completed the development of the National
Conflict Early Warning Mechanism for Kenya under UNDP. He was awarded
the ‘Peace award’ by the National Steering Committee (Office of the
President) for his work on the Early Warning Framework in Kenya. His
recent work has generated interest with Foreign Affairs and
International Trade Canada (DFAIT), Canadian International Development
Agency (CIDA) and the Inter Governmental Authority on Development
(IGAD) in Africa.

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