The great County of Kisumu has developed an interactive WhatsApp platform that’s supposed to allow its thousands if not millions of residents to get first-hand information from the various county departments.
The WhatsApp number +254756742421 has been set up for this purpose. This is one innovative communication approach brought about by the Directorate of Information.
According to the latest sector statistics by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), covering July to September 2017, the demand for data/Internet soared, with the number of estimated data/Internet users jumping by 12.5 percent to post 51.1 million users compared to 45.4 million users reported in the previous quarter.
With a population of around 50 million, Kenya smartphones penetration stands at 41 million as at 2018, and use them for:
- Connecting and sharing with family and friends
- Keeping up to date with current affairs
- Browsing for things to buy online or offline
- Checking personal emails
- Watching video, listening to music
- Sourcing general information and learning online
It is in this backdrop that the County of Kisumu is taking its interaction and communication with its county-zens online, via WhatsApp..
See below screenshots of some of the chat activity I initiated and the replies I got:
The BIG QUESTION is, how reliable with this medium of communication be used in passing of relevant county information? Since, as the tourism query above, has even listed Kiboko Bay as an attraction, while we all know that this was a private resort, which has since closed. I hope that this is updated immediately with the realities on the ground.
And maybe also, how will this platform availability be shared out to the members of the Kisumu Community, since majority of the residents have with them smartphones.