You may find yourself planning a survey in western Kenya. And you may ask yourself: where will I get population data?

keopendataIf you’re like me, you’re currently in the process of planning a baseline evaluation survey for a youth program covering 9 counties in western Kenya. You might be interested in some good population and age information for those counties.

No? You don’t need that right now? Well I do.

Fortunately for me, the government of Kenya has just made that data (and a whole lot more) easily available. Last week, it launched a new Open Data Initiative website: http://www.opendata.go.ke/

Beyond the fact that it makes my life easier, this is kind of a big deal. Several others have blogged about it. The word “revolution” keeps popping up. See the following for more:

Browsing the Open Data site, I found most of the data I need. The one glaring omission is ethnic breakdowns — which would be useful for knowing what language survey respondents will speak. Given the nation’s history of ethnically tinged politics, this isn’t too surprising. Kenya’s census figures have been controversial in the past.

Even with that omission, this is still a huge step forward. Bravo!

(Headline comes with a hat tip to the co-Best New Aid Blog of 2010, Shotgun Shack.)