Whether it’s – Kenya to receive 5.8 billion in military aid, government creates 500,000 jobs, NGO plans to plant 1 million trees, ILO says 352 million children are economically active, SACCO’s contribute 45% to GDP, or 30 per cent of teenagers in some Kenyan coastal areas are involved in casual sex for cash – numbers are thrown at us everyday and we absorb the numbers and take them as gospel truth. We – blogs, the media, and the public – then re-broadcast them to others as fact and they are repeated around the world.
The numbers can come from government departments, ministers, NGO’s, donors, and other leaders who use them to justify arguments, increased funding, or positions taken. One thing I remember from statistics class is that numbers can be made up to say whatever the author wants if they are slanted in a certain way.
So, I am not saying all the numbers from a study or report are false or some opinions polls are poisoned, but in the spirit of Coldtusker’s financial gaffes we should take time and question the accuracy, motive, reason, purpose, feel good factor, or any other underlying story to the numbers.