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Kenya’s research and advisory center moves to break down the power of behavioral science and how to tap into it

Busara Center holds media workshop on how to tap into behavioral science. (George Tubei)
  • On Thursday, Busara Center, a research and advisory nonprofit organization based in Nairobi, held a fruitful breakfast workshop for Media partners at Intercontinental hotel.
  • The aim of the workup was for the center to break down how behavioral science as a new branch of economics works
  • While globally, behavioral science continues to be exploited by multinational companies and even governments when designing and rolling out products and services, the phenomenon is just starting to pick up in Kenya.

On Thursday, Busara Center, a research and advisory nonprofit organization based in Nairobi, held a fruitful breakfast workshop for Media partners at Intercontinental hotel.

The aim of the workup was for the center to break down how behavioral science as a new branch of economics works and how the Kenyan media can better utilize it in their work of informing and educating the public.

“This morning’s event was our first imitative to engage with the media. We publish a lot of academic work and we work with private companies, funders, non-profit organisations but we typically don’t share our findings externally or with the public for no other reason than we haven’t really had the capacity to until now,” Caroline Martin, senior communication and marketing manager at Busara Center told Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa.

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“So, we wanted to present what we know of how humans behavior is framed, the cognitive processes and decision making and the work that we have done locally in these markets in East Africa and across the African continent but also one of the goals was to understand if there is any demand for this type of content from the media in order to inform our communication strategy,” She added.

Busara Center, which was founded in 2012, is dedicated to applying and advancing behavioral science across the globe and has since partnered with several academic institutions around the world to close the global research gap in the scientific study of human behaviour.

The center has successfully developed solutions for clients in the health, governance and financial inclusion sectors across East Africa and Nigeria.

While globally, behavioral science continues to be exploited by multinational companies and even governments when designing and rolling out products and services, the phenomenon is just starting to pick up in Kenya.

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Francis Meyo, a senior director at Busara Center says the uptake and appreciation of behavioral Science is encouraging.

“In Kenya, we are starting to see interest in behavioral science from leading companies in various sectors to different government departments dealing with issues of consumer protection or trying to ensure that government services are being taken up. So, it’s really important we feel to be able to enhance the power of behavioral science to understand why people behave and act in the ways that they do to better design products for their consumption or to better improve on the utilization of those products,” said Meyo.

The government of Kenya is currently in the middle of national mass registration of its citizens through a National Integrated Identity Management (NIIMS) called Huduma Namba that is meant to be a single source of a citizen’s data and Meyo says behavioral science can come handy in determining the success of the programme.

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“At this point, I think people are still unaware of how the Huduma number will act as a pathway to the delivery of certain services but I think given all the different registration platforms that have existed in the past Huduma Number is bringing those together. I think that would be a very powerful tool for the government in enhancing several databases to then be able to provide various services to its citizens. The idea here is what’s the desired behavior that you are trying to encourage and how do you sustain it in the long run so understanding what really motivates people is key to the successful uptake of Huduma Number,” said Meyo.

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Email: news@pulselive.co.ke

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