How Huduma Kenya digitally transformed service delivery

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Martin Mirero, CIO Huduma Kenya

In 2008, the president of Kenya launched Vision 2030 to help transform the country into a “rapidly industrialized, middle-income nation” by 2030. The African nation began its journey in 2009 via a massive fiber optic cable project to bring affordable internet connectivity across the country. In 2010, the government replaced the Constitution. Then in 2011, legislation such as the Urban Areas and Cities Act helped bring the new vision to life. Finally, in its efforts to empower citizens and reduce corruption, the government founded Huduma Kenya.

Digital Opportunity

“Kenyans had major challenges in accessing public services,” says Jacqueline Otwori, director of business process re-engineering for Huduma Kenya. “Public service delivery points were full of long queues, manual process, sometimes corruption incidences. And we thought this cannot continue, so we needed to transform the way services were being offered to Kenyans.

Before the Huduma centers, citizens had to travel from all over Kenya, collectively costing millions in travel costs and lost earnings. The Huduma Kenya program aims to improve access and delivery of government services to its citizens.

Five core values guide Huduma Kenya:

  1. Innovation
  2. Transparency
  3. Courtesy
  4. Efficiency
  5. Integrity

The greatest challenges of accessing Kenyan government services was distance and travel costs. Citizens had to travel to Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city, for identity cards, birth certificates and other government-issued documents.

“Being the only center in the country, it was very cumbersome. The crowds were huge,” says Alice Shiundu, a Huduma manager. “People didn’t have money. Sometimes they had to sell their goat to get a bus ticket to come to Nairobi. Coming here on the first day did not mean they would get the services finished. They had to go back, sell another goat, come again the next day.”

The nation needed to decentralize and expand the availability of government services. They needed to do it securely, efficiently and affordably. And for the Huduma team, their fellow Kenyans needed a way to live happier, more successful lives.

 Technology to improve government services

Our goal as Huduma is to transform public services to citizens in a one-stop-shop model. Pretty much every government document that a citizen may need is available in our centers. Huduma Kenya branch offices would deliver vital services to citizens closer to home, but the “how” was challenging. How could they take the manual services in its old single-branch system and make them available—and efficient—across the country? The answer: digital transformation.

Over 21 million customers in five years

The team focused on building a unified technology architecture to transform how they access and deliver services, including:

  • Cloud
  • Digital Workspace
  • Networking
  • Mobility
  • Security

The result is a modern digital foundation for innovative and powerful transformation that benefits all Kenyans. The Huduma team now supports 52 branches that serve up to 30,000 citizens daily in 47 counties.

“Today we are sort of an integration layer between government back office and the citizens. The VMware platform helps us run our private cloud. And that not only gives us flexibility, but also enables us to secure our environment from one central place,” says Mirero.

Huduma uses VMware Cloud Foundation and VMware Workspace ONE with Horizon to virtualize and centrally deliver desktops in the 52 local Huduma centers. With this digital foundation in place, Huduma instantly and quickly deploys new services and updates. And since no application data touches the remote desktops, the integrity of the transactions can be guaranteed.

Social good

The Huduma team took massive strides toward its Kenya 2030 goals, embracing digital transformation to improve access to government services. The program’s success was celebrated across the world, culminating with the U.N. Public Service Award on Improving Delivery of Public Services. For citizens, Huduma’s value is life-changing.

A recent internal study cited that Kenyans saved millions in transportation costs, number of visits and time spent compared to the old system. The report also cited that the Huduma program contributed to lowering government corruption by 96 percent.

“It’s extremely humbling to know that the things we do here have an impact.” Mirero.

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