Affordable housing

Makueni Land Information Management System

May 27th, 2024

FSD Kenya supported the county government of Makueni to enhance its Land Information Management System (LIMS).

A robust LIMS promotes more effective citizen service delivery through enhanced own source revenue collection, as it enables transparent and accurate land records data management, spatial planning, resource mapping and property valuation by the county.

Makueni began to move from manual to digital processes from 2018 by creating an electronic development application management system (e-DAMS) and developing an online database to capture its 2019 valuation roll. The enhancement supported by FSD included converting this database to a geodatabase and developing web based and mobile applications which were integrated with the geodatabase to create a more powerful electronic LIMS (e-LIMS).

Two technical teams supported this work, including Powerbase which was commissioned by the County, and Oakar who were commissioned by FSD Kenya. Two staff trainings and one year post implementation support were provided by Oakar. A gender field was also introduced into the e-LIMS. While this data needs to be verified, it is significant that it will allow the county to evaluate and understand the land ownership patterns by gender.

The centralised geodatabase, spatial visualisation, streamlined processes and staff training has resulted in reduction of redundant data and enhanced data analysis and management. The direct impact is a reduction in processing time for land searches and transfers from 21 days to 7 days. Annual revenue collection increased from KShs 6 million to KShs 22 million (from year ending June 2022 to year ending June 2023). Additional revenue increases are expected when the county enables digital invoicing via bulk SMS and real time visualisation to follow up on payments.

The County Executive Committee Member (minister) responsible for lands, planning, and environmental matters in 2023 highlighted two key factors in the success of the e-LIMS project. Strong collaboration with other county departments (including ICT, finance, and communications) and significant investment in public awareness regarding the new system and property tax requirements. Additionally, the county placed a staff member within the national Land Control Board, which is a national function, to ensure all subdivisions require rates compliance certificates at the county level.

The project faced challenges as it started during the Covid-19 period when travel was limited. Converting the database to a geodatabase required converting single points for land parcels to accurate GIS boundary coordinates, which was a laborious exercise requiring significant data collection, validation and clean up. The county hired data clerks to support this data collection, and these clerks also collected key information on landowners including their National ID numbers, phone numbers (to allow bulk SMS to be sent) and physical addresses. Parcel data in five towns was previously supported by an aerial mapping survey commissioned by FSD Kenya and undertaken by Ramani Geosystems. This showed the importance of developing a system that is flexible and adaptable, and able to provide regular updates to integrate new technologies.

A comprehensive set of security measures were implemented to ensure data privacy. These include robust security of the database, web tokens to authenticate users for access, secure end points in the application programming interface (API), encrypting data during transit and the physical security around the server location.

The value of building strong relationships between key partners at the beginning of the project is critical as it drives the trust to provide access to sensitive data and APIs and ensure project coordination in a timely manner.

Given FSD Kenya’s investment in the enhancement of the e-LIMS was approximately KShs 10 million and the previous aerial mapping was KShs 9 million, this demonstrates a well-designed project in collaboration with the county with strong returns on the investment.

In the near term, the focus of the work will involve continuously refining the e-LIMS by addressing user feedback and uploading data from more towns (the system currently captures data of approximately 30,000 parcels in 3 towns only). The county is also working internally to promote integration with other digital processes in the county (for example, license approvals and fees and water charges).

In the longer term, the vision is for the Makueni e-LIMS to be connected to the National Land Information Management System (NLIMS) christened Ardhi Sasa, as the latter is still limited to Nairobi and is yet to cover Makueni. It is the expectation that both systems can be interoperable through the development of an API that would facilitate the required linkage.

Emerging trends in the e-LIMS landscape include the use of advanced analytics for more effective decision making and blockchain for securing the data but come with inherent risks of cybersecurity threats and data protocols. Continuous monitoring and evaluation of data quality and system performance and managing the inherent risks are pertinent for the e-LIMS to remain dynamic and resilient and to support Makueni’s economic growth.

Makueni County is open to sharing information about their e-LIMS with other counties. FSD Kenya is grateful to Habitat for Humanity Kenya for their support particularly in introducing the opportunity and supporting stakeholder discussions.

Figure 1: Showing LIMS visualization of Nunguni Market Parcels

Figure 2: Showing Mobile App visualisations of the statistics and parcels’ attribute information pages

For additional details, visit the official Makueni e-LIMS and e-DAMs sites at their official websites https://lims.makueni.go.ke  and https://edams.makueni.go.ke/

This blog is one of the articles in FSD Kenya’s 2023 annual report. To read the full report, click here. 

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