The First Tranche
All Blog Posts
AidData maps media resilience in post-Soviet Europe and Eurasia in the face of malign foreign actors
The project fills knowledge gaps with novel data covering 17 countries in Eastern Europe and Eurasia.
Data innovation in conflict zones: Enabling insights without endangering lives
On April 6, AidData and the W&M Whole of Government Center for Excellence will host a panel on evaluating development policy and interventions when on-the-ground data collection is difficult, dangerous, or infeasible.
Belt and Road bailout lending reaches record levels, raising questions about the future of China’s flagship global infrastructure program
A new study finds Beijing has dramatically expanded emergency rescue lending to countries in financial distress.
Afghanistan’s national program to clear landmines delivered broad-based impacts, study finds
AidData’s first-of-its-kind evaluation of the Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan finds landmine removal led to increased economic growth, trust in government, and productive land use and was associated with increased aid.
AidData launches new series of analysis, data on Russia’s ongoing efforts to influence countries in Europe & Eurasia
A three-year research project culminates in a trove of dozens of country reports, indexes, and hundreds of indicators quantifying Kremlin influence on civic space, the media, and energy security across 24 countries and occupied territories.
Inside Russia’s long game to project influence and undermine Ukraine: Lead-up to the 2022 invasion
Russia used language, religion, and ideology to cultivate sympathizers, vilify opponents, and generally foment unrest in tactics that are a template for influence operations in elsewhere in Russia’s periphery.
Samantha Custer, Alex Wooley
AidData wins award from USAID’s Equitable AI Challenge for project on gender bias in AI-created poverty measures
The award will fund an assessment of the impact of gender bias on AI-generated poverty estimates.
One year in, lessons from the war in Ukraine—and Ukrainians’ resilience
Investments in a strong civil society are key to countering foreign influence in times of peace and war.
Samantha Custer, Alex Wooley
U.S. must reinvest in strategic communications to match China and Russia, new research volume finds
Produced for the inaugural Gates Forum and publicly launched at a follow-on event today, the research proposes bipartisan solutions for foreign policy challenges facing the U.S.
Debating the Aid System: Surfacing insights from the Global South for OECD reform
The 60th anniversary of the OECD Development Cooperation report calls on donors to deliver on past commitments and adapt to the changing needs of Global South partners.
AidData wins grant from the Ford Foundation to track latest trends in China’s overseas development program
The support enables AidData to expand its global Chinese development finance dataset, the most comprehensive of its kind.
Hands-on training empowers journalists in Pakistan for data-driven reporting
The AidData-led training responds to the media’s need for better data and evidence to understand how foreign lending and government economic policies are impacting citizens.
Inaugural Gates Forum convened national leaders at William & Mary
Participants addressed solutions to U.S. strategic communications.
W&M News Staff
New research on how gender differences and power dynamics drive measurement error in household surveys
Agricultural program evaluations depend on accurate household surveys, but couples will often give different answers to an objective question, like the size of an agricultural plot. How can this error be reduced?
Jessica Wells, Rachel Sayers, Katherine Nolan
Lab-in-the-field: AidData and CDD-Ghana partner on research to evaluate household impacts of dams in Ghana
Researchers leading AidData’s Gender Equity in Development Initiative work with local partner in Ghana to collect gender-disaggregated geospatial data and better understand measurement error in agricultural impact evaluations.
Monica Maher, Sarina Patterson
From “world factory” to “world builder”: New research decodes how China’s Belt and Road Initiative is received
The “Delivering the Belt and Road” report provides new evidence on how Beijing has implemented the BRI in practice, how citizens and leaders view it—and where it might go next.
Shining a spotlight on global inequality in the fight against HIV/AIDS: the view from Somaliland
On World AIDS Day, a look at ongoing work to overcome stigma, close information gaps, and strengthen health information systems in Somaliland.
Dr. Ismail Muhumed Ayeh, Dr. Carrie Dolan, Alex Wooley
New report on a global survey of developing country leaders reimagines aid
In late 2020, nearly 7,000 leaders weighed in on the state of reforms in their countries, key barriers to progress, and what they most want from development partners.
As budgets shrink, study finds little evidence aid is directed to the worst-off
Conventional wisdom is that scarcity shifts aid resources to needier places, but a new study finds this isn’t the case.
AidData-led project awarded nearly $4.75 million for agriculture and climate research
AidData is leading a team of partners that has won a $4.74-million, four-year investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a project to spur the use of Earth Observation in how we study climate-sensitive agriculture across developing country geographies.
Beyond saving lives, landmine removal in Afghanistan clears path to development, study finds
AidData’s geospatial impact evaluation of a demining program in Afghanistan sheds light on the results of a decades-long effort to tackle the complicated and compelling problem of landmine removal.
Sarina Patterson, John Custer
AidData launches new research initiative on gender equity in development
The initiative seeks to address the hurdles inherent in gender-based research, applying geospatial data and rigorous impact evaluations of development programs to produce policy-relevant findings.
Monica Maher, Sarina Patterson
As Mali weathers climate change, can irrigation projects help farmers adapt?
A new geospatial impact evaluation by AidData examines the complicated impacts of irrigation interventions in the context of Mali’s ongoing armed conflict.
W&M hosts inaugural conference on China’s global influence
During the June 22-24 conference at the W&M School of Education, participants worked to separate fact from fiction while analyzing China’s growing global influence through plenary sessions, working groups, keynote addresses and poster presentations.
Martha Reilly/Global Research Institute
Separating fact from fiction: China's growing global influence and its implications
William & Mary’s inaugural 2022 China Convening gathers a diverse group of global leaders to stimulate evidence-informed dialogue on China.
Samantha Custer, Sarina Patterson
How China’s lending activities affect the political survival of leaders
A new AidData Working Paper explores how the co-occurrence of Chinese loans and IMF programs affects leader tenure, finding that Beijing’s loans prolong the tenure of leaders—especially if they are corrupt.
Andreas Kern, Bernhard Reinsberg, Patrick E. Shea
Competing visions for the Indian Ocean: China’s influence in South and Central Asia
China has positioned itself as an indispensable partner for the Maldives and Sri Lanka, adapting economic tools to advance multiple objectives. What are the implications?
Banking on Beijing: The Aims and Impacts of China's Overseas Development Program
A new 400-page book from five leading scholars chronicles China’s transformation—in the space of a generation—from a net recipient to a dominant provider of international development finance.
How we constructed the world’s largest dataset on China’s overseas spending
A behind-the-scenes look at AidData’s latest methodology to track underreported financial flows from China to the developing world.
Kyra Solomon, Bradley C. Parks
Testing transparency’s benefits: When does it truly improve how institutions perform?
New research in the American Journal of Political Science tests how aid transparency initiatives impact project performance, using a novel dataset of 20,000+ project ratings.
Global insights with national implications: AidData’s policy engagements on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
A new AidData policy brief explores the growing debt sustainability challenges of CPEC, a portfolio of Chinese-funded infrastructure projects in Pakistan worth $62 billion.
AidData publishes a controversial $200m Chinese loan contract for Uganda’s main airport
A source of international concern, the loan contract shows China Eximbank does not have any legal grounds to seize Entebbe International Airport—but it has required the Government of Uganda to keep cash collateral in an escrow account that can be seized in the event of default.
Brad Parks, Ammar Malik, Alex Wooley
Eyes in the sky: The evolving use of drones in international development efforts
AidData’s Geospatial Scientist Kunwar Singh on how drones are helping revolutionize aspects of international development research.
Monica Maher, Sarina Patterson
Explore new updates to AidData’s Chinese public diplomacy dashboard
A new video shows how to get subnational data on Beijing’s financial diplomacy, and generate granular country profiles to compare and contrast China’s overtures between and within countries.
Call for Papers—Separating fact from fiction: China’s growing global influence and its implications
In June 2022, William & Mary will convene a select group of policymakers, scholars, business and civil society leaders from around the globe to better understand China’s growing reach and influence.
New report on Beijing's efforts to cultivate influence amidst rival powers in South and Central Asia
AidData today released an extensive new study on China's public diplomacy efforts to win over foreign leaders and publics along the Silk Road, in what Beijing considers its “greater periphery.”
The largest update yet to GeoQuery, AidData’s free spatial data platform
New data on Chinese development finance, and data at monthly intervals for frequently-used datasets.
Sasan Faraj, Seth Goodman
Building the evidence base: AidData’s deep-dive analysis of Zambian school-related gender-based violence
Using an exogenous proxy to study the complex relationship between access to schools and gender-based violence.
Together for Girls
AidData’s new dataset of 13,427 Chinese development projects worth $843 billion reveals major increase in ‘hidden debt’ and Belt and Road Initiative implementation problems
The analysis, based on a massive new dataset four years in the making, includes a special focus on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
TUFF Cookies: Students aim for policy impact through hard-hitting research, part two
From loans repaid with the proceeds from cocoa bean sales to payments encouraging North Korea to participate in nuclear negotiations, AidData’s Tracking Underreported Financial Flows (TUFF) team tracks it all.
Kyra Solomon, Brad Parks, Sarina Patterson
TUFF Cookies: Students aim for policy impact through hard-hitting research, part one
From loans repaid with the proceeds from cocoa bean sales to payments encouraging North Korea to participate in nuclear negotiations, AidData’s Tracking Underreported Financial Flows (TUFF) team tracks it all.
Kyra Solomon, Brad Parks, Sarina Patterson
Statistics development in Somalia: Challenges and opportunities in a complex environment
As Somalia endeavors to recover, reconstruct, and redevelop after decades of conflict and civil war, it faces an unprecedented need for better data and statistics.
Dashboard additions allow for deep dive into China’s influence toolkit in South and Central Asia
Newly available subnational data allows users to explore Beijing’s financial diplomacy at the province and district level, while detailed country profiles provide a bird’s-eye view.
Sarina Patterson, Austin Baehr
Addressing the global crisis of gender-based violence in schools with better data
A new effort to understand school-related gender-based violence may help policy makers and communities craft legislation and strategies to respond and keep students safe and in school.
Sasan Faraj, Sarina Patterson
Corridors of power: Understanding China’s toolkit to influence the Silk Road
We break down China’s influence toolkit in South and Central Asia, as profiled in AidData’s interactive dashboard and a report newly available in Russian.
Samantha Custer, Sarina Patterson, Austin Baehr
Climate change, the environment, and oceans rank near the bottom of leaders’ priorities, according to global survey
As global carbon emissions bounce back post-pandemic, a new AidData report finds climate action and environmental goals are among the least important issues for leaders.
China rises sharply in influence among developing-country leaders, but does not yet surpass the US and G7 countries, according to new report
A survey of nearly 7,000 leaders by AidData finds an increasingly contested development cooperation field.
Amidst calls to decolonize aid, what issues do developing-country leaders prioritize and what do they say they want from partners?
New report finds policy makers in the world’s poorer countries prioritize education, jobs, and strong institutions, and give high marks to donors that embrace locally-led development.
New report on a global survey of leaders scores donors’ performance in an era of contested cooperation
Multilaterals such as the IMF and World Bank perform highly; China rises in influence, but the US and other G7 donors hold their own.
Using Facebook’s Social Connectedness Index to study social networks’ impact on the diffusion of agricultural technology in sub-Saharan Africa
AidData found that the use of improved seeds was higher in regions more socially connected to other regions that had previously adopted improved seeds.
Rachel Sayers, Alex Wooley
Development that doesn’t deforest: Study points to path forward for local infrastructure projects
A groundbreaking study of 40,000 local infrastructure projects in Cambodia finds the program by-and-large created economic gains while not hastening forest loss.
Sarina Patterson, John Custer
Is it possible for infrastructure not to hurt forests?
A recently published study in JAERE finds that certain types of local infrastructure projects can improve rural livelihoods AND forest conditions, but important caveats apply.
John Custer, Sarina Patterson
New study shines a light on Beijing’s secretive international lending program
An unprecedented cache of documents shows that Chinese loan contracts have unusual secrecy provisions, collateral requirements, and debt renegotiation restrictions.
New insights into geospatial data at NYC Open Data Week 2021
How can innovative sources and applications of open geospatial data be used to empower insights at a global scale?
Aid distributions to the most vulnerable remained equitable even after Nigeria crossed a key income threshold, study finds
The country avoided one potential unintended consequence of a policy question that will affect nearly two dozen countries over the next decade.
John Custer, Sarina Patterson
Empowering global insights with geospatial data
AidData’s new video series helps you get started with GeoQuery, our platform for creating customized geospatial datasets.
Sarina Patterson, Parker Kim
Listening for influence: AidData and African Population and Health Research Center partner to improve policy impact
A joint survey yields insights on how research organizations in Africa like APHRC can collect and respond to feedback data from the policymakers they seek to influence.
Tanya Sethi, Grace Kibunja, Sarina Patterson
AidData wins two-year Hewlett Foundation grant to build research partnerships in Africa
A new $600,000 grant from the Hewlett Foundation will help AidData bolster engagement with policy makers and influencers in Africa
A “new” type of data for development
AidData’s next-generation measures of important development outcomes use machine learning to help policy makers overcome data gaps.
John Custer, Seth Goodman
AidData wins two-year Ford Foundation grant to close the evidence gap on China’s Belt and Road Initiative
Ford Foundation grants AidData $200,000 to examine Chinese development finance.
Open Data Center for Health enables Côte d’Ivoire’s health workers to improve HIV program coverage
A handoff ceremony caps a two-year effort to improve the data and tools accessible to the country’s health workers
Chinese infrastructure investments shift economic activity, reduce spatial inequalities, finds new paper
The paper shows that Chinese projects relocate economic activity from city centers to peripheries.
Plan B for development impact evaluations? Going remote.
New methods to predict missing geospatial data could reduce barriers to evaluating development programs in hard-to-reach areas.
Un Plan B pour évaluer l’impact du développement? Aller dans les zones reculées.
De nouvelles méthodes de prédiction des données géospatiales manquantes pourraient permettre de réduire les obstacles à l’évaluation des programmes de développement dans les zones difficiles d’accès.
How does foreign aid change public spending in a country?
The results from our latest experiment shed light on the political and economic consequences of foreign aid.
Ryan Jablonski, Brigitte Seim, Johan Ahlback
AidData publishes 100th working paper in series
Six years later, the AidData Working Paper series has now attracted a global readership and authorship.
U.S. contributions to Kenya estimated at over $3 billion annually, according to new AidData research
The report is the first to provide a whole-of-society view of U.S. contributions to Kenya’s economy and development.
John Custer, Sarina Patterson
AidData launches third Listening to Leaders Survey in 141 countries
The survey goes out to 100,000 in-country leaders, gauging attitudes on priorities, reforms, and partnerships.
In 'Nature': Using GIE to map deforestation in the Amazon rainforest
AidData's Ariel BenYishay co-authored a new paper in Nature Sustainability on how land titling programs impact Amazon forest loss.
Nathan Warters/W&M News
Making data work for refugee and migrant children
Overcoming blind spots in how we produce and use data about refugee and migrant children will help decision makers better direct resources to them.
Sasan Faraj, Sarina Patterson
Powerful lessons for global development
How much foreign direct investment are China and Russia putting into low- and middle-income countries? How much of China’s foreign aid supports their own strategic economic development? These are just some of the questions students are helping to answer at AidData.
Evaluating the impacts of a food security program in the face of climate shocks
A recent evaluation highlights how severe climate shocks hindered the long-term impacts of a USAID food security program in Malawi.
Five lessons on counting the costs of sustainable cities
We share lessons learned from our work with UN-Habitat to understand the financing needed to achieve SDG 11 at the city level.
Mihir Prakash, John Custer
Unlocking geospatial data for global development
AidData looks back, looks ahead.
Seth Goodman, Dan Runfola, Elizabeth Teare
How does China’s development model affect state stability in African countries?
Both World Bank and Chinese aid projects are associated with a reduction in violence against civilians, but regions with Chinese aid see an increase in government repression.
Melvin H.L. Wong, Lennart Kaplan, Kai Gehring
Beijing's public diplomacy spending in South and Central Asia quantified and evaluated
AidData, a research lab at William & Mary, today released new data and analysis capturing the results of the Chinese government's strategic public diplomacy efforts in 13 countries.
New report, dashboard captures Beijing’s influence in East Asia & the Pacific
New AidData report details how Beijing mobilizes media and students to bolster China’s image abroad.
Where are we going, where have we been? What we’ve learned about promoting data and evidence uptake
An update on AidData’s three-year strategic vision to promote data and evidence uptake by policymakers and practitioners, and where we are going next.
Bradley C. Parks
Are democracies more likely to give development aid? The answer is surprising.
All things being equal, poor democracies are less likely to give aid than poor autocracies, new research finds.
Andreas Fuchs, Angelika Müller
Getting on target: A new approach for tracking financing to the SDGs
We tracked over $44 billion in donor financing to the SDGs in four countries, using an updated methodology for estimating SDG-related financing.
Jennifer Turner, Sarina Patterson, Jacob Sims
How Cambodia’s program to strengthen local governance built roads and saved lives
A new report on the long-term impacts of locally-led development projects provides insights for those who work in post-conflict settings.
Christian Baehr, Sarina Patterson, John Custer
Urban boundaries for 200 cities added to AidData’s GeoQuery tool
Users can now access more than 60 geospatial datasets for 200 metropolitan areas across the globe through GeoQuery.
Sarina Patterson, Elizabeth Teare
What would it cost for our cities to be sustainable by 2030?
In partnership with UN-Habitat, AidData is developing the first methodology to help cities determine the funding needed to achieve SDG 11.
Sarina Patterson, Mihir Prakash
Data, DREAMS, and Disease: How to make a health information system useful for HIV prevention?
Our DREAMS Innovation Challenge project with Zambia’s National HIV/AIDS Council overcomes data gaps that hamper HIV prevention.
Emilie Efronson, Parker Kim
Do subnational data improve resource allocation and service delivery?
We synthesized insights from 31 studies that measure the effects of giving location-specific information to public officials and citizens.
Bradley C. Parks, Ariel BenYishay
GeoQuery reaches 10,000 dataset requests
GeoQuery, AidData’s flagship platform for creating customized geospatial datasets, today fulfilled its 10,000th data request.
Sarina Patterson, John Custer
Cutting across contexts: Better evidence to link the SDGs with national planning
Political will to localize the SDGs is growing. But decision-makers need a rigorous and replicable way to link the global goals to local contexts.
Jacob Sims, Jennifer Turner
Asking the right questions: AidData to launch third global survey of developing- country leaders
In 2020, we plan to field a new wave of our Listening to Leaders Survey to over 55,000 decision-makers in 140 countries.
Mengfan Cheng, Sarina Patterson
Back to basics: A stronger case for bednets to fight malaria
A new study in PLOS ONE by a team including AidData, William & Mary researchers finds that a bednet campaign in the DRC led to a 41% decline in child mortality rates.
John Custer, Sarina Patterson
Financier of first resort: China’s bid to be lender of choice for the developing world
In a new book published today, we examine how Beijing proactively seeks investment opportunities for its excess capital overseas to advance its national interests.
Samantha Custer, Michael Tierney
In fragile states, increasing citizen trust in democracy
AidData is surveying thousands of households in Niger to evaluate a USAID project that aims to strengthen government accountability.
Elizabeth Teare, John Custer, Sarina Patterson, Katherine Nolan
GeoSIMEX: A better method for handling geospatial imprecision
Analysts need to find ways to live with the reality of noisy and imprecise geospatial data. GeoSIMEX may be able to help.
Carolyn Iwicki, John Custer
The Cloudera Foundation awards AidData $1,152,000 to expand use of GeoQuery for social impact
Sarina Patterson, Alex Wooley
Measuring and responding to demand for official statistics
Statistical agencies are prioritizing international development partners over domestic users. How can data producers and funders improve domestic data use?
Mihir Prakash, Tanya Sethi
Counting on statistics: What can data producers and donors do differently to increase use?
A new report from AidData surveys hundreds of government officials in developing countries to understand what they need to better produce and use official statistics.
USAID roads project sparked—and shifted—economic activity in West Bank
AidData merged high-resolution nighttime lights imagery with precisely-located road improvements to discover how a $900-million investment impacted the Palestinian economy.
AidData wins two-year Millennium Challenge Corporation award
The MCC awards AidData $400,000 to develop new methods using high-resolution satellite data to more accurately and frequently monitor the impacts of land reforms on poverty and land use.
Chinese infrastructure investments reduce inequalities in developing countries
A new AidData working paper analyzes Chinese infrastructure's impacts using the most comprehensive dataset of Chinese development project locations ever assembled.
A volley of words—and new data—on China’s diplomatic reach
A recent report by AidData informed and incited discussion of China’s growing public diplomacy activities in East Asia and Pacific.
Creating open geographic data for the fight against HIV/AIDS
The #MapCiV mapathon is the first step in a broader strategy to collect data about poorly understood areas of Côte d’Ivoire, and harness technology to reveal new insights that lead to more informed policy decisions.
Chinese public diplomacy in East Asia and the Pacific: Is it working?
A new report from AidData chronicles the nature and impact of China’s diplomatic programs.
Tuned-in or tone-deaf? Leaders and citizens agree, diverge on priorities for poorer countries
Report: Climate change among least important issues according to developing countries
AidData's Listening to Leaders 2018 report finds climate action and environmental goals are bottom priorities for both citizens and leaders.
Linking the SDGs with national development planning for better coordination
AidData is piloting a new methodology in Rwanda to connect financing for and progress on the SDGs with national development.
AidData wins $2.95 million to track HIV/AIDS in Côte d’Ivoire
The project is designed to enhance the use of health data by the government of Côte d’Ivoire, civil society organizations and local communities.
The GeoBoundaries team at AidData has now made over 600 sets of administrative boundaries freely available for 196 countries across the globe.
Enhancing statistics for the SDGs: A new project to increase use and impact of official statistics
AidData is polling producers of national statistics as part of a new collaboration with Open Data Watch and PARIS21.
Russia’s foreign aid re-emerges
Little is known about Russia’s foreign aid. We examine the evidence to see what makes Moscow's spending different.
China’s financial statecraft: Winning Africa one Yuan at a time?
Teasing out the nexus of money and influence in China’s development activities in Africa with a recent global dataset and a forthcoming report on leaders’ perceptions.
Minding the gap in data on migrant, refugee and trafficked children
Understanding what data is available about children on the move will help decision-makers better direct resources to them.
AidData/William & Mary awarded two-year grant to study data on refugee, migrant and trafficked children
The two-year, nearly $500,000 grant funds research to improve the data needed for assistance programs seeking to help children on the move.
Data to fight disease: A new partnership to improve HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment data in Zambia
We’re partnering with Zambia’s National AIDS Council to build new tools to sift through reams of official data on HIV/AIDS, and apply it for better outcomes.
Listening to leaders on education data: A new report
What data do education leaders want and need to improve learning outcomes? AidData and Brookings evaluate two new global surveys on decision-makers’ use of data and evidence.
Filling the missing middle: A method for impact evaluators on a budget
Faster and cheaper than a randomized control trial but more rigorous than a performance evaluation, Geospatial Impact Evaluations (GIEs) fill the “missing middle” for organizational learning.
Rogue agent or team player? Beijing’s motivations for aid provision
A new study in ISQ pinpoints the factors that motivate Beijing to provide aid and other forms of government financing to Africa.
Six deep dives into China’s checkbook diplomacy
AidData’s release of the most comprehensive dataset yet on Beijing’s spending abroad prompted a flurry of media coverage and policy analysis. See our top five picks for articles and interviews that provide new insight.
Strengthening Côte d’Ivoire’s health sector with open data
Researchers from AidData will travel to Côte d’Ivoire to lead development of a USAID-funded geospatial data center.
Decoding Data Use: What evidence do world leaders want to achieve their goals?
A new AidData report illuminates the black box of how leaders source evidence and use it to accelerate development in low- and middle-income countries.
Realizing Agenda 2030: Not just more, but better financing needed to succeed
How do the global goals crowd in international financing and inform domestic priorities? A new AidData report assesses the historical baseline for funding to the SDGs.
AidData releases first-ever global dataset on China’s development spending spree
Five years in the making, AidData’s data collection effort has captured more than USD $350 billion in foreign aid and other forms of state financing that China committed to five major regions of the world.
Beyond the Tyranny of Averages: AidData report highlights unequal development within countries
Relying on averages is worsening inequality within countries. We look at whether aid financing reaches the poorest regions, and find that donors are missing the mark.
Success in the streets: A hackathon for Sustainable Cities
#Hack4TheCity focused on the challenges and opportunities for sustainable growth in Uganda's cities.
Harnessing open data to help the most vulnerable in Uganda
One organization in Kampala is working to make open data more usable and accessible for citizens.
Foreign aid's commitment problem
For development agencies and country governments to reach “go” on aid policies—and then uphold their commitments—is no small feat.
Where is AidData heading next? A sneak peek at our 3-year strategic vision
We'll work to produce cutting-edge innovations in data, methods, and analysis to help leaders in development make better-informed decisions.
Building a geospatial revolution
Geocoding the globe! In our five years of partnership with USAID, we located over 130,000 development activities and $750 billion in assistance.
Supporting evaluation at USAID through a global research network
Lowering the barriers for researchers to collaborate directly with those who set development policy means innovations reach the field sooner.
Expanding USAID's capacity for data-driven decisions
AidData Summer Fellows afford USAID Missions the opportunity to establish a basis for sustained geospatial work to enhance their development programs.
Spreading geocoded aid information through the AidData Summer Fellows
Student fellows funded by USAID have spread geospatial data and analysis to development organizations that can best use it to improve their communities.
Allocating funding fairly in Nepal
Geocoded data has empowered government officials to more effectively negotiate with donors and advance Nepal’s development interests.
Making development data fit for purpose in Senegal
By calling attention to barriers to the use of development data and making actionable recommendations, an AidData report helped renew investment in Senegal's aid management platform.
Papers selected for workshop on tracking international aid from emerging economies
Twelve teams of 27 authors will present their proposals at a workshop this September in Heidelberg, Germany.
AidData DREAMS at #AfData17 to allocate HIV/AIDS resources more effectively
Our PEPFAR-funded project is working to improve targeting of aid investments for reducing HIV/AIDs rates among young women.
AidData-Afrobarometer partnership produces geocoded public-attitude survey data for 37 African countries
The new dataset represents the most precise and consistent geocoding of Afrobarometer's surveys to date.
From Williamsburg to the world: AidData Summer Fellows launch their journey
Announcing the Summer Fellows Class of 2017, and a new gift to support international experiential learning and research.
When does multilateral development finance provide better value-for-money?
AidData's Brad Parks, Mike Tierney, and Daniel Nielson highlight insights from their co-edited special issue of the Review of International Organizations.
Fanning the sparks of corruption? A Chinese dragon haunts Tanzania
Chinese aid's lack of transparency leads to questions about whether it will contribute to or undermine other development efforts, particularly those of traditional donors like the World Bank.
Call for Proposals: Workshop on tracking international aid from emerging economies
Submit a one-page proposal to receive pre-publication access to unpublished datasets, including AidData's forthcoming China global dataset, and to present at Heidelberg University this September.
Data for development: Measuring only what we use
Every dollar spent on data is a dollar not spent on life-saving vaccines or key environmental protections — so we should not collect data that we will not use.
Avoiding Data Graveyards: How can we overcome barriers to data use?
Development practitioners track mortality rates for scourges like HIV/AIDS, and malaria. But nobody tracks the mortality rate of data.
No one left behind: Why we need granular data to respond to hotspots in the U.S. and beyond
The story of why deadly "hotspots" of high lead levels in U.S. neighborhoods went undetected for years, and how data can help address these pockets of inequality.
Counting the “missing millions”: Disruptive ideas to leave no one behind
Three reasons why the status quo of development data isn't good enough—and three examples of how we can change it.
What are development corridor strategies, and do they work?
Liberia made foreign direct investment (FDI) the centerpiece of its development strategy. We examine how these natural resource concessions affected local economic growth.
Chinese-funded infrastructure in endangered forests: What is the data telling us?
The picture becomes clearer when breaking down the effects within each country.
Want to reform aid? Double down on impact evaluations
More investment in evaluation would determine which types of projects deliver the best results, and reassure American taxpayers that foreign aid can provide good value-for-money.
AidData launches new Listening to Leaders survey
The survey will collect data from thousands of leaders on which development partners they prefer to work with, and why.
Is governance data “good enough”? World leaders want more transparency, greater context
Relevance and credibility rise to the top as key attributes of good governance data, snap poll finds.
Using machine learning to combat environmental degradation on a global scale
Leveraging machine learning algorithms to sift through terabytes of high-resolution satellite data, a new report by AidData and the Global Environment Facility has identified the factors that contribute to land degradation on a global scale.
Rating the 2016 project performance disclosure practices of 50 donors
Despite the fact that most funders of overseas development projects are now signatories to major transparency initiatives like IATI and the Open Government Partnership, only two donors systematically publish standardized project performance ratings.
Country ownership and aid: Learning from partner country perceptions of the US government
Can the US government improve the local ownership of its foreign aid programs by adopting more of the practices that its partner countries regard as useful?
From Pork to Performance: Follow the Money; It’s the Tip of the Iceberg
Can technology and transparency disrupt the status quo of pork-barrel politics and produce digital dividends by moving government performance out of the shadows and into the spotlight?
Three insights into what data users demand: Are open data advocates listening?
In early 2016, the AidData Center for Development Policy interviewed close to 200 policymakers and practitioners in three countries about their demand for data in the sectors of education, health and agriculture. Here's what we heard.
Parceling out prosperity? Tracking and evaluating the impacts of natural resource concessions in Liberia
How concerned would you be if a third of your country's land was granted to foreign investors?
Context matters in foreign aid’s effect on violence
Does foreign aid to conflict-prone countries make them more stable, and decrease the frequency and intensity of conflict? Research on the complicated nexus between aid and conflict has produced conflicting results, with no consensus on foreign aid’s true effects.
Quantifying remoteness: A scale of accessibility across Nepal
More than two weeks after a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit the country and killed nearly 9,000 people in April of 2015, the first help to reach the highest village in Makalu region was a single man.
Aid to refugee camps brings help — and harm
Humanitarian aid has become an increasingly crucial component of the international community’s response to violent conflict. In some ways, it might be making things worse.
Debt, deals, and dictators: How Africa’s autocrats adapt to aid requirements
Do Western donors' aid recipient requirements really constraint autocrats' repressive abilities?
Aid and the intensity of violence: Can good intentions backfire?
Do foreign aid commitments to countries experiencing ongoing violent conflict affect the intensity of violence in different regions? One theory says "yes."
Untangling the complex relationship between aid and conflict with subnational data
Outside actors frequently try to address the causes and consequences of civil conflict by offering aid to “one side” or to innocents caught in the middle. However, there are still some unanswered fudamental questions regarding aid's real effect on conflict.
The changing tactics of aid when partisanship runs high
The U.S. distributes almost twice as much foreign aid as any other nation; in 2015 alone the U.S. spent about $27.4 billion on foreign assistance. What happens when an uncooperative Congress makes it difficult for the executive branch to allocate bilateral aid?
Suits on the ground: Does "ground game" buy influence?
Does “ground game” — the strength of a development partner’s local presence and direct engagement with recipient government officials — affect how in-country decision makers assess the performance of development partners?
Groundbreaking study on how developing world leaders view German aid
The study is the first to analyze Germany’s official development assistance activities based on the experiences, observations, and opinions of decision makers in the countries that German aid agencies seek to help.
Small but mighty: Denmark ranks highly as a development partner, according to report
Denmark is one of only six countries in the world to achieve the UN's development assistance target, though this is only part of the equation for development success. How do Denmark’s development efforts measure up from the perspective of its partner countries?
AidData publishes geocoded dataset on Chinese financing in ecological hotspots
The dataset captures $161 billion in financial commitments between 2000 and 2014 and extends the geographical coverage of AidData’s existing database of Chinese development projects in Africa to parts of Asia and Latin America.
Four open data speed bumps on the road to ending hunger
Without the right information at their fingertips, development decision-makers are flying blind, relying on intuition rather than evidence in their efforts to zero out hunger by 2030.
Viewing poverty more clearly — from space
Ground-breaking research by Stanford University scientists has combined satellite imagery taken from space and machine learning to bring better measurements of poverty and economic development within reach.
Sunlight for growth: AidData joins GODAN Action to open up data in agriculture and nutrition
GODAN Action will seek to leverage open data to increase crop yields, improve nutrition for consumers, and promote evidence-based policymaking.
How do other countries perceive the US government's global development influence?
With the recent White House Global Development Summit and passage of the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act (FATAA), it is an opportune time to reflect on lessons learned from the United States’ performance as a development partner.
PEPFAR Innovation Challenge to reduce HIV/AIDS in Africa awards AidData two-year project
AidData will produce new tools and analysis to support policymakers making crucial healthcare decisions in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
AidData Summer Fellows begin worldwide journey at “bootcamp” training
Now in its fourth year, the Summer Fellowship program continues to provide opportunities for future leaders in the field of international development to gain hands-on experience abroad.
Tracking investment in disability inclusive development
How do we ensure people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups are included in the post-2015 development agenda?
Crowding in funding for the SDGs: Reflections on the missing development trillions
Now that the world has agreed on 17 goals, 169 targets and 230 indicators for the SDGs, the dialogue is shifting towards the “price tag” the SDGs come with. Estimates on this abound, and are in the range of $3-5 trillion.
Does foreign aid fuel trust? Unexpected evidence from Uganda
Initial findings suggest that aid has a positive effect on future growth potential by fostering social capital, which can be converted into future economic gains.
Making data matter for development: Introducing the 2016 AidData Summer Fellows
This year’s 16 fellows will assist host organizations in Bangladesh, Ghana, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Thailand, and Uganda.
Announcing AidData’s Core 3.0 Research Release
AidData’s Core Research Release (Version 3.0) is our most comprehensive dataset tracking international development finance.
Reflections on this week’s coverage in The Economist
In “Apples and Dragon Fruits,” we analyze the factors that motivate China’s provision of official financing from China to Africa. One of the core findings is highlighted in this week’s edition of The Economist. We’d like to take this opportunity to clarify our findings.
Evaluating evidence from a USAID governance project in Ghana
Local politicians and bureaucrats in low- and middle-income countries play a crucial role in the distribution of aid dollars, acting as gatekeepers in determining which constituents receive aid, and to what degree that assistance is effective. Let's look at Ghana as an example.
Walking the talk: Lessons learned and looking ahead to wave two of AidData’s Omnibus Survey
As international pressure mounts to deliver on commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is ever more important for development actors to understand how they can maximize their effectiveness and be helpful partners.
“Beyond Africa”: A glimpse into AidData’s forthcoming dataset on Chinese financing in ecological hotspots
The forthcoming dataset captures more than 1100 Chinese projects from 2000 to 2014 in 19 countries, totaling $95 billion in total official financing.
AidData students transform skills developed at AidData to create award-winning app
The way they tell the story, app-developers Kelvin Abrokwa-Johnson and Nathan Owen were just two eager William & Mary students who came to AidData looking to gain career skills. What they came away with, though, was much more than that.
Striking a balance: How donors can more effectively promote sustainable reform
Development partner organizations must strike a fine balance between their ambitions and political reality to effectively promote meaningful reform.
AidData and the U.S. Global Development Lab: What to look for in Y4
What to expect during the fourth year of AidData and the U.S. Global Development Lab's partnership.
AidData and the U.S. Global Development Lab: A look back at Y3
A look back at the third year of the partnership between AidData and the U.S. Global Development Lab.
Does information about foreign aid change how people view their own government?
There are countervailing arguments in development literature regarding foreign aid's effect on citizens' perception of their government. One team attempts to straighten things out.
Does foreign aid undermine political institutions?
Many scholars, including the recent Nobel Laureate Angus Deaton, would tend to agree. Others? Not so much.
AidData’s promise to users of its data products
Today marks an important milestone for AidData: we’re going public with our Data Management Plan (DMP).
Listening to our readers: Improvements to AidData’s Value for Money Index
The Value for Money index is the first attempt to combine data on the policy influence of bilateral and multilateral development partners, as perceived by participants in the 2014 Reform Efforts Survey, with international development finance data from AidData.
Press release: Developing world leaders speak out on aid donors
The "Listening to Leaders" report draws upon the frank views of policymakers and practitioners from 126 low- and middle-income countries, and attracted the participation of high-level officials across the public, private and civil society sectors.
Measuring the ‘health’ of AidData project records: Quality scores for development finance data based on open sources
In response to user requests for simple and intuitive summary metrics of data quality at the project-level, the AidData team has developed a scoring system that we call our “Health of Record” methodology.
What’s new in AidData’s latest Chinese development finance dataset?
Last week, we released our 1.2 dataset and TUFF methodology updates. So, what are the five most important changes to come with these updates?
Chinese “aid” to Africa: Be careful comparing apples and dragon fruits
Western pundits have a narrative about China’s activities in Africa. But is this narrative true?
No more flying blind: Join the data revolution for sustainable development
Attention is quickly turning from the content of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to how these goals will be implemented. Data will be critical to track resources, monitor progress, and create accountability for results.
"The West can keep their 'aid'": Uganda looks East for infrastructure
Uganda is currently investing in huge infrastructure projects in order to further enable industrial and economic development. The country is looking to China to supply more than $10 billion in funding for the construction of many of these projects.
Introducing the next generation of development innovators: AidData's student Shark Tank makes a splash
Inspired by a similar event held in February of 2015 in which AidData’s staff pitched innovative development ideas, teams of students developed research proposals that leverage sub-national spatial data to address relevant policy and research questions over the course of 8 weeks.
Nutrition aid: Do we have the full picture?
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests some nutrition interventions have made a significant impact.
Take our Uganda geocoded data for a test drive and make your own map
This week, we invite you to join us for a step-by-step walkthrough of some basic mapping and visualization techniques that are possible with the Level 1A data for Uganda.
Asking the right questions: AidData's Survey Practice
The "Marketplace of Ideas for Policy Change" report analyzes the influence of over 100 external assessments according to over 6,750 survey participants, and it makes some interesting observations about factors that make assessments more and less influential.
Reducing extreme poverty in the post-MDG era: Lessons from four emerging economies
The last 15 years has shown that trends in growth, poverty reduction, and the link between the two have varied widely among countries. Four key lessons collectively point to the need to look beyond the usual metrics and beyond growth entirely.
Changing tides: Tracking aid in the Caribbean
Over the past several decades, The Caribbean and its countries' needs and priorities have shifted. They have now expanded beyond their traditional relationships in the development world and started to form ties with non-traditional donors.
Making geocoded data more accessible: Introducing Level 1A
AidData is excited to announce several improvements to our upcoming geocoded datasets that will lower barriers to entry for end users who want to see who is funding what and where they are siting their investments.
The politics of aid allocation: New evidence from Zambia
As the ongoing debate continues over whether financial assistance is an effective way to improve development outcomes, the politicization of aid is one factor that some scholars suggest makes it harder for aid to reach the places where there is the most need or opportunity.
If you don't ask, you don't get
Just asking directly is the best strategy for countries wanting to get better data and information about Chinese aid.
AidData funds next generation of development research using geospatial data
In this post we’re excited to tell you more about 9 awardees that will begin work this summer, and provide a preview of how this cohort of research projects will advance our mission to make development finance data more accessible and actionable.
Achieving a “new normal”: Mapping the future of the AidData and U.S. Global Development Lab partnership
The “geospatial revolution” comes at a critical time as the global development community reflects on the post-2015 development agenda to end extreme poverty.
Independence Day: Aid and conflict in South Sudan
The way that an influx of funding and personnel to an area of extreme, persistent conflict affects the conflict itself garners academic attention.
AidData/USAID GDL Series 3: Strengthening the “demand side” of data
AidData has collaborated with a network of more than 80 partners -- governments, multilateral institutions, non-profits, and the private sector, including engagements with over 25 USAID Missions and operating units -- to scale the “technology” of geospatial data and analysis.
AidData/USAID GDL Series 2: Making meaning out of data
Today, we briefly describe some of the research and technical activities that support our partners to make meaning out of data.
Working towards a “new normal”: AidData and the U.S. Global Development Lab’s efforts to accelerate uptake of geospatial data and analysis
AidData has been working in close partnership with USAID’s Global Development Lab to create a “new normal” where policymakers and practitioners ask themselves “why would we not use data and analytics to maximize the impact of every development dollar we spend?”
“Why should we wait?”: Mapping for the next disaster
Maps are integral to humanitarian relief efforts, especially in remote, disaster-prone countries.
Who do developing world leaders listen to and why? New evidence from the 2014 Reform Efforts Survey
Do leaders pay more attention to external assessments that benchmark their performance against other countries, or to assessments that are specifically focused on their own country? The answer to this question is nuanced.
Going "Deeper Than Data" with AidData
This summer, AidData is premiering a six-episode podcast series to take you past the maps and dashboards on our website to the human stories at the heart of our research.
AidData’s Summer Fellows put data to work for development
The 2015 Summer Fellows’ cohort hail from 7 US universities and are hosted by partner organizations in Uganda, the Philippines, Peru and Ghana.
The marketplace for ideas: Money, power, and simplicity
Money and power still matter, but simplicity does too. If you are trying to get the attention of a developing country government, tell them clearly what the problem is and what they can do to fix it.
“First data responders?”: Lessons learned from Nepal
In the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake, hyper-local, crowdsourced data functioned as signposts for both national and international organizations as they sought to provide timely relief to those areas in greatest need of assistance.
Open Data: A journey of discovery in Nepal
This short documentary follows the journey of journalist Gyanu Sharma in Nepal, who understands that having access to data can help him create a better future for his son.
Saudi aid to Yemen: Stability over development?
A lack of consistent aid reporting practices from donors like Saudi Arabia has limited the ability of international observers to monitor how much of this assistance Yemen has actually received or what was funded under blanket pledges.
New "Marketplace of Ideas for Policy Change" report shows how external sources of analysis and advice shape reform in low and middle income countries
The Marketplace of Ideas for Policy Change report examines the influence of over 100 external assessments of government performance on the policymaking process in low and middle income countries.
Mashing up aid and budget data: opportunities, challenges and pathways forward
The success of the transparency initiatives is contingent upon the degree of the compatibility and interoperability of their data.
Money, Ideas & Reform: What does it take to influence lasting change?
With a new survey practice, AidData hopes to improve the ability of development partners to evaluate their influence and impact, but also to encourage greater attentiveness and responsiveness to the experiences and priorities of in-country decision-makers and stakeholders.
Poverty in Pakistan: Numerous efforts, many numbers, not enough results
Although great strides have been made, millions of Pakistanis remain vulnerable to falling into absolute poverty.
Launching a Geospatial Data Revolution
There are three major challenges for the development community in launching a Geospatial Data Revolution.
Liberating 35 Years of USAID Experience
To “liberate” DEC information, AidData is piloting a new dataset of machine-readable data to provide new levels of access for researchers, data scientists, and practitioners to mine, analyze, and create “new” knowledge from old lessons.
Trust Funds: DAC Donors Contribute, Most Non-DAC Donors Don’t
Given the dissatisfaction of certain non-DAC donors about their relatively low voting share on the Bank’s Board, one might think that trust funds would be an attractive instrument to exert greater influence or work together with other like-minded non-DAC donors.
Staging a Geospatial Data Revolution
Before the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are finalized, it’s critical to take stock of what we have – and have not – accomplished before we double down on the next fifteen years.
A 5 Minute Dive Into Our New Geocoded World Bank Data
This dataset offers an exciting opportunity for researchers and policymakers to better understand the impact and allocation of World Bank projects.
New Minerva Research Explores the Relationship Between Aid and Conflict
The Minerva Initiative will allow academic researchers to examine whether development aid makes countries more or less resistant to violent conflict within their own borders.
Leveraging Aid for Trade Capacity in Uganda
A recent study funded by the Economic Policy Research Center in Kampala, Uganda looks at how aid-for-trade disbursements align with Uganda’s national development priorities and the impact of trade-related aid on the country’s capacity to trade.
Localizing the Post-2015 Agenda: How Responsive Are Donors to Timor Leste’s Education Needs?
The need for subnational development data that is actionable and open has never been more apparent. In this post we drill down into why this matters in one particular example: education in Timor Leste.
Looking Back Anew: AidData’s #ChinainAfrica November Launch Event
The dashboard launched at the event attempts to create a space for discussion about China’s role in Africa, opening up a broader conversation where anyone can provide comments and contribute multimedia content on the projects of interest to them.
Aid Information Matters for U.S. Citizens, Too – Transparency Efforts and Domestic Audiences
There is a key element in the development assistance process that sometimes gets overlooked: the accountability donors have to their own governments and citizens.
Unlocking the Black Box: Transparency Matters and the NGO Aid Map
In this post, we spotlight what this mapping tool has to offer and some hopes for how it can be further strengthened to advance open data for development in 2015.
Open Contracting for Open Development: Insights and Applications
Information about public procurement can be extremely difficult for citizens, civil society and other stakeholders to access. As a result, the Open Contracting Partnership was formed to make procurement information more open, accessible and actionable
The Demand Side of the Data Revolution: Lessons from the Government of Nepal
Drawing on the perspectives of 60+ government officials, donor staff, CSO operatives, and academics, AidData painted a picture of the government data “ecosystem” in Nepal.
Diving into the Details: What “Aid on Demand” Says and Doesn’t Say About China in Africa
We're delighted to see that the paper provoked a fair amount of media coverage and debate among scholars. However, a lack of familiarity with the data, methods, and findings has led to inaccurate reporting and confusion. We’d like to briefly clarify several matters of fact.
Harnessing the Data Revolution: Three Goals to Better Improve Development Outcomes
Several basic conditions need to be in place to ensure that data are actually put to good use.
Democratizing Development: Mapping Chinese Investments in Africa
Launching today, AidData’s interactive geospatial dashboard features over 2000 Chinese-backed development projects in Africa, disaggregated to the provincial, municipal, or street-corner level.
Negotiating the Blurred Lines Between Official Development Assistance and Other Official Flows
Without better and disaggregated data on OOF transfers by source country, it is difficult to accurately assess OOFs from DAC and Non-DAC providers, as well as the amount of debt accumulated by recipient countries.
Reforming ODA: WIth the Rise of Central and Eastern Europe, Is It Time for a Change?
Despite joining the OECD-DAC and reporting their aid in line with ODA standards, Central and Eastern European countries continue to feel some dissonance between the OECD-DAC narrative of development assistance and their own development realities.
Avoiding Data Graveyards: 5 Questions the Data Revolution Should Be Asking
Even as the data revolution builds a supply of better development data, it must address the broader ecosystem within which it is, or is not, used.
Measuring Development Finance from Arab Donors
Ignoring Arab countries’ unique understandings and modalities of aid means that we are ignorant about the reality of a significant proportion of modern development finance.
Can Emotions Influence Aid Allocation?
A recent study found that individuals giving money to charities react differently to mixtures of qualitative and quantitative evidence on aid effectiveness depending on whether they are motivated primarily by altruism or by positive emotional feeling by helping others.
South-South Cooperation: Latin America and the SEGIB Alternative
The SEGIB's development of a robust methodology for capturing South-South development cooperation is an important achievement. It presents an interesting alternative to the ODA standard and suggests a new approach to systematically tracking development assistance.
Style or Substance?: The BRICS in the Post-Busan World
The arrival of the BRICS had clearly brought about a fresh start in how we perceive development finance.
The Disappearing Act: Foreign Aid to Sinking States
2013 marked a record high in humanitarian aid contributions across the globe, but assistance for SIDS decreased by 2.9 billion from 2010-2012 and is expected to continue its decline.
South-South Cooperation: Providing Context in a Changing Landscape
We’re increasingly aware of the important role that countries in the global South play in development cooperation. But as long as we depend on existing definitions for measuring development cooperation we won’t really understand how big this role is.
AidData Research Highlighted In Science Article
More investment is needed to reach international biodiversity targets by 2020.
Redefining Development Cooperation: In Search Of Common Ground
The OECD Development Assistance Committee is attempting to agree on a new definition of Official Development Assistance. In the murky, ever-evolving world of international finance, such definitions are central to how we understand and allocate aid.
Taking The Pulse Of Global Development: AidData Seeks New Insights On How Citizens Engage With Open Aid Data
This week, AidData launched Project Pulse, a new feature on aiddata.org that allows anyone to weigh in on how development projects are performing in areas of interest to them.
How Would You Like Your Data? Putting Citizen Feedback In A Form People Can Use
How to best harness mobile technology to close the feedback loop is a topic of substantial interest and ongoing discussion in global development.
Open Contracting: Going Granular for Increased Transparency and Accountability
Having easy access to procurement information will help move the development conversation from one about what is happening where to one about how resources are being allocated and projects are being implemented on the ground.
Two Million and Counting: Test-Driving the Open Contracting Data Standard
This first OCDS dataset contains over 2 million European Union procurement awards since 2006, with over €1.45 trillion in contract funding represented.
Social Audits: The Missing Ingredient to Good Governance
If citizens lack the means to actually hold their governments accountable, attempts to foster good governance will likely fail.
Mapping for a Cause: MapGive Ebola Outbreak Mapathon
A remote mapping event organized by the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and the Red Cross, the Mapathon brought together 50+ volunteers to aid humanitarian relief respondents fighting the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa.
OpenAid Italia: Should We Expect More?
The portal is a crucial step in the direction of open data and more transparent development investments, though it is important to note that better availability of data does not automatically equate to better decision-making.
The One Degree of Separation between Emerging Donors and FIFA
Brazil’s expanding focus on development abroad corresponds with its broader efforts to assert its global role. But the government’s international aspirations have provoked a backlash from some of its constituents.
Can Data Visualization Make it Easier to Crowdsource Corruption Monitoring?
A top-down information exchange is not enough to deter corruption. An effective monitoring program requires an open, productive interaction between civil society and those able to "ground-truth" information and provide context.
Energy investments in Africa by the US, Europe, and China
Despite heavy investment from the US, Europe, and China, the International Energy Agency estimates that additional investments of $20 billion yearly are required to meet SSA’s power needs by 2030.
Geocoding 101: A Behind the Scenes Look at Visualizing Aid and Development
Now anyone can easily download the data from our IATI publisher page or aiddata.org to understand who is funding what and where. Here’s an inside look at the process of creating geocoded data, such as that from Nepal, from start to finish.
Demand-Driven Data is Instrumental in enhancing the Supply of Data
Open data key players in Nepal should focus on the demand for data when designing efforts to improve the supply of data, as demand for data and the supply of data are each other’s complement.
Open Data: Bad for the Corrupt, Good for Everyone Else?
The Ugandan government still must take more strides toward making more of its data open and accessible, but by making its budget information publicly available, it is on the right path.
Citizen-Driven Data is Key to the Success of Nepal’s Open Data Revolution
Data visualization tools are key to nurturing a stronger community of data users in Nepall, though there is a consensus that the very nature of the data being produced needs to change in order to make it more relevant to target audiences
Where’s My Goat? Amplifying the Voice of Communities to Combat Corruption
Citizens are critical allies in the fight against corruption. But at present their voices aren’t being heard.
Zakat and Development Finance: Filling In the Gaps
The international community has taken important steps in recent years to expand the definition of development finance, but major gaps remain. One such gap is religiously-affiliated aid, such as Zakat.
How Does Aid Impact Democratic Change in Africa?
Aid might catalyze transitions to multipartyism and stabilize multipartyism once it is adopted, though the extent to which it increases electoral competition so that opposition parties can challenge incumbent governments is limited.
It’s Not Just Big Data: Data Granularity and Aid Targeting
While political criteria may ultimately prove more important in the allocation of aid and spending, granular georeferenced aid on baseline problems like where aid money actually gets spent provide some intellectual ballast as to where resources ought to be directed.
How TUFF Is It To Track Chinese Aid? Insights from Beijing’s Latest White Paper on Foreign Aid
China’s State Council published a white paper providing an overview of its funding for overseas development activities. We took this opportunity to test how well AidData has been able to capture Chinese funding with our Tracking Underreported Financial Flows (TUFF) methodology.
China and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: Toward a Beijing Consensus?
The desire to create a new multilateral institution could indicate that China feels its influence in existing development banks does not reflect the strength of its economy or its contributions to those institutions.
US Private Foundation Data and the Total Resource Envelope
Given a shift in emphasis to greater international giving on the part of US private foundations, it is increasingly important to understand the scope and distribution of these grants and how this compares to official development assistance.
Taking the Health Aid Debate to the Subnational Level
Macro-level studies largely condemn health aid as ineffective or minimally effective in the aggregate. Most of the praise for health aid comes from project-level analyses. It may be time to rethink the way we’re analyzing these relationships.
Following the Money: Haiti Tracks Donor Commitments to Fulfill Their Aid Pledges
Nearly five years after the 2010 earthquake, basic questions such as “where has the money gone?” are still as relevant as ever.
Did the International Community Fail the Central African Republic?
The extent of the need and limited resources makes understanding how humanitarian assistance is being distributed in the Central African Republic even more critical.
Beyond Open Data in Uganda: How Do We Make Citizen Feedback More Actionable?
Making data available online is a necessary first step in the open data movement, but information is valuable only when it can be used. This means getting the right data in front of the right people.
Crisis Mapping and Aid: Learning from Haiti
Crowd-sourced web maps have become a popular tool for humanitarian response. These platforms facilitate an immediate response to the most insecure regions of a country in crisis.
Chinese Development Finance and the African State: A Capacity-Legitimacy Trade-Off?
With support from IIE and USAID via its Democracy Fellows and Grants Program, we plan to systematically assess the effects of Chinese aid and investment on recipient states at both the national and sub-national levels.
Seeing China in Africa Through the Lens of South Sudan
China’s evolving policy for engaging with South Sudan is an interesting case study for whether Beijing will be able to reconcile its disparate interests into one cohesive foreign policy.
How ‘rogue’ is China’s aid?
There is seems to be some resource-seeking bias in Chinese outward foreign direct investment (OFDI), development assistance, and arms transfers. But this link is not terribly strong or inconsistent with patterns of the US or other major powers.
Do Maps Matter in Aid Allocation Decisions?
Preliminary results from an AidData study indicate that maps may, in fact, lead to better targeting of aid dollars to reach those most in need.
2014 Summer Fellows Help Communities Use Data for Smarter Development
Funded by the U.S. Global Development Lab, 21 AidData Summer Fellows are working in five countries this summer to create, visualize and analyze geocoded data on who is funding what, where and to what effect.
Visualizing Inequality: The Need for a Gender Data Layer
Prominent feminists are now experimenting with GIS to visualize gender differences in maps. A gender-specific layer of data could help researchers and policymakers better understand and analyze these inequalities.
Rebuilding Honduras: The Role of Transparent Aid to Restore Public Trust in Government
This year, in partnership with USAID’s Higher Education Solutions Network, AidData is supporting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within the Government of Honduras to geocode all foreign aid projects tracked by the PGC.
MapAfrica: African Development Bank Looks to Institutionalize Geocoding
The MapAfrica effort builds upon AidData’s existing partnership with AfDB to geocode their ongoing projects by applying precise location information to discrete development activities.
Official Press Release: AidData and the African Development Bank Launch MapAfrica, Move From Mapping Financial Flows to Mapping Results
The interactive online platform enables citizens, government officials and donors to view the geographic location of AfDB’s investments in development projects throughout Africa.
Gender and GIS: Using Maps to Improve Food Security in Uganda
Utilizing geocoded data, such as that available from the Uganda Aid Management Platform, researchers can use spatial data to understand how the gendered dynamics in Uganda make it difficult for women to realize their full potential in agriculture.
South-South Cooperation: A Honduran Case Study
There is a new type of development cooperation that is swiftly becoming prominent throughout the world: South-South Cooperation (SSC).
So You Want to Reform Government? Rule One: Know The Policy Domain
Much of the existing literature on political reform examines reform efforts from the perspective of a single policy domain. This observation led us to wonder if the nature of change required in some policy domains make reforms in certain areas harder to accomplish than others.
The Great Debate: Fungibility, Citizen Feedback and the Future of Foreign Aid
Debates associated with aid’s effectiveness, or lack thereof, are numerous and divisive, coalescing around a few key issues like fungibility and governance.
Biodiversity Conservation Aid: Who is Getting How Much and Why?
The findings of a recent study suggest that three central factors influence the kind of biodiversity aid a recipient country receives.
Locating Foreign Aid in Haiti
AidData is working in collaboration with the Haitian Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to collect location data for projects reported in Haiti’s External Aid Management Module (MGAE).
Re-conceptualizing How We Evaluate Aid: Be Wary of Managing by the Numbers
Aid agencies which are given a wider scope for independent action perform better than those that are tightly supervised.
A Fuzzy Transparency Mandate for the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation
The development landscape is changing and our expectations for a transparency regime must similarly evolve.
Does Citizen Feedback Circumvent or Reinforce Representative Democracy?
Feedback initiatives seek to amplify citizen voices in shaping development priorities, monitoring progress and evaluating results. How does this intersect with other elements of democracy, such as parliamentarians elected to represent their constituencies?
AidData and the Open Aid Partnership Join Forces to Strengthen Capacity for Open Development
AidData is pleased to formally endorse the Open Aid Partnership, building upon existing collaborations with OAP partners to achieve our common goals of liberating local development data and engaging citizens and stakeholders in evidence-based conversations in development.
Overcoming the Fears of Transparency
Transparency, a great objective in principle, can unleash fear: the fear of losing the support of donors and of damaging working relationships with partners. The natural tendency is to be protective about what filters out to the press, to spin and sometimes to self-censor.
5 Things You Should Know Before Starting a Citizen Feedback Initiative
There are more options to choose from than ever before that can amplify citizen voices in development.
Haiti's Government Embraces Aid Management Platform to "Build Back Better"
A wave of change is occurring as both international donors and the Government of Haiti are taking a critical look at how the past four years have progressed and identifying a viable long-term strategy for moving forward.
Using Project-Level Information to Determine Impact: A Closer Look at Malawi’s Aid
Recent evidence suggests that targeted aid can indeed have a significant impact on desired outcomes.
DRC Launches Geocoding Effort to Improve Monitoring of its Foreign Assistance
The launch of geocoding work in the DRC is timely, as government ministries and development partners have repeatedly emphasized the need for geographic data on foreign aid investments, and for those data to be in a common format and central location.
The Stabilizing Influence of Chinese Development Finance in Conflict-Prone African Countries
The results of a study using AidData's TUFF methodology indicate that when “traditional” donors generate aid shocks to African countries, those countries having access to substantial Chinese development finance are significantly less likely to face conflict.
Do We Need a Data Revolution or an Accountability Revolution?
The term “data revolution” belies the importance of the other ingredients needed for citizens to hold governments and donors accountable.
Delivering Better Governance and More Effective Aid with Spatial Information
Information on both development inputs and outputs should be a powerful asset in delivering better governance and more effective aid for developing countries.
Targeted Assistance vs. Diffusion: The Influence of Foreign Aid in Promoting Labor Rights
The type of assistance and source country providing the aid are important factors influencing how effective aid will be in strengthening labor rights within recipient countries.
Perceptions Matter: The Effect of Foreign Aid on Democracy Depends on Incentives
Countries that are not strategically important or that receive more aid from unconditional donors make significantly more progress toward democracy than countries that are strategically important and receive more aid from conditional donors.
Making Data Matter: How Aid Management Platforms are Changing Development In-Country
Launching public portals invites a wide group of stakeholders – donors, universities, think tanks, and advocacy groups – to work alongside the government in order to use aid information to improve development outcomes.
Hackathon Challenges Developers to Improve Automated Coding of Development Data
Launching headlong into 36 hours of software development fueled by tea, adrenaline and very little sleep, hackathon attendants hoped to tackle a challenge that has long stymied the open data community – how to reliably extract structured data from unstructured text.
Donor dependence, donor withdrawal: Implications of Malawi’s Cashgate scandal
Donor withdrawal and threats of withdrawal have certainly incentivized the Malawian government to move swiftly in prosecuting offenders. However, the Cashgate scandal may also be introducing the rest of the world to a more vocal and active Malawian civil society.
The Sky’s the Limit: Using Satellite Imagery to Track Development Finance Projects in Africa
Skytruthing holds great promise as an innovative method to verify the status of development projects identified remotely using the TUFF methodology.
UNU-WIDER Working Paper on Ground-truthing of Aid Projects Released
The findings from the UNU-WIDER report indicate that, among the projects researchers could visit, there was broad agreement between the project data generated from TUFF and the ground-truthing data.
Behind the headlines: The deeper roots of Malawi’s Cashgate scandal
IFMIS, a technical solution to deter corruption in public finance management, was insufficient on its own in exposing and stopping corruption. Technical solutions alone will fall short in facing corruption when not also addressing the incentives of those in power.
Can Data Visualizations Help Mediate Between the Worlds of Research, Policy and Practice?
Substantive information acquired from diverse information sources, synthesized and displayed in a simple, clear, and relatable manner, is necessary for the information to be effective in shaping public discourse and policy.
Tracking Chinese Development Finance to Africa Initiative: What To Expect in 2014
In partnership with Humanity United, we will launch several new features and functionalities to the china.aiddata.org site in the coming year in order to improve the usability and usefulness of the data.
The Maturing of the IATI Data Standard: Ensuring Quality in a Highly Networked Environment
With consistent use of organizational identifiers and good data standards, IATI will yield increasing returns to scale as more publishers share data.
We Have Geocoded Data in Uganda – Now What?
With this geocoded data, the Ugandan government hopes to visualize who is funding what and where in their country to inform national development planning, improve coordination between development partners, and strengthen civil society interventions.
Official Press Release: New Chinese Development Finance Data to Catalyze Research and Feedback
The January 2014 release creates a more complete picture of Chinese development finance to African countries with additional project documentation and a refined open source approach to data creation and triangulation called Tracking Under-Reported Financial Flows (TUFF).
Putting the Pieces Together: Building a Community of Practice to Track Under-Reported Financial Flows
Absent transparent accounting by emerging donors, alternative methods are needed to capture the scale, composition, and destination of their overseas development activities. Iterating better approaches will take equal parts innovation, experimentation, and collaboration.
How Tough is AidData's TUFF Methodology? New Evidence from Uganda and South Africa
Initial field research results revealed general agreement between the data on development projects generated via TUFF and ground-truthing fieldwork.
Reflecting on Open Aid in Nepal: Many Steps Forward, But More Work to be Done
It is essential to the success of the aid transparency movement in Nepal that donors and the government commit to opening the data, but it is equally essential that this data is met by an active and capable civil society community that can use open data.
Pushing the Development Finance Envelope: AidData Improves Upon Its China Data
Employing these supplementary data collection methods, we were able to generate a more reliable picture of Chinese development finance in Africa by adding 114 new projects and updating 131 existing records in our database from 2000 to 2011.
AidData Research Consortium Seeks Answers to Big Development Questions with Granular Data
Leveraging subnational information about development finance activities – down to the province, district and street-corner level – the ARC will produce research to address pressing development questions in seven areas.
A Data Revolution for 2014: It Starts With Data, But Ends With Action-Inducing Insights
If data is to influence decision-making in how we allocate, coordinate and evaluate foreign aid, we need more than stand alone maps, charts and dashboards. We need to not only identify what interesting data patterns and trends exist, but also to answer why.
Connecting the Dots: Spatial Analysis and Visualization Using the 3.0 GIS Portal
Point data is useful for identifying a precise latitude and longitude or understanding the distribution of projects at a macro level.
Halving Hunger: What Can Burundi and Rwanda Tell Us About Aid, Politics and Health?
Despite sharing a common border, Rwanda and Burundi represent a best and worst case, respectively, in their GHI outcomes according to the 2013 index.
Watchdogs or Critical Friends?
Sometimes, holding people and organizations to account needs teeth, especially in young democracies and fragile states with no mutual checks and balances.
Philippines Disaster Reinforces Need for Transparent Assistance and a Focus on Resilience
Following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), the Philippines has launched the Foreign Aid Transparency Hub (FAiTH), which will provide information on all foreign aid channeled through the Philippine government.
Geocoding: A Route to Deeper Transparency for the African Development Bank
Being able to understand which projects exist, where gaps are, and who is working on what to address these gaps, will help all parties make more informed choices.
Student Innovators Use "Story Maps" to Network and Collaborate to Solve Development Challenges
Students from different university development labs collaborated to create Story Maps depicting how the work of individual labs could be visualized, both geographically and topically.
Shedding Light on Projects Through Contract Transparency
Increasingly, open contracting in procurement through portals are becoming the norm for governments around the world, with a global initiative at work to establish a common standard for contracting data.
Impact Beyond the Numbers: Reflections on Year One of the AidData Center
With one year of implementation behind us, the AidData Center has created a strong foundation that will enable us to bring our big idea to scale in the coming years.
Open Data Frontiers: Going Granular, Addressing Quality and Getting Feedback
The global development community must overcome challenges of data quality, data relevance and citizen feedback if open data is to affect the kind of change it aspires to.
AidData 3.0: Yes We Can…Make Development Finance More Intuitive
New dashboards, data visualizations, and maps available in AidData 3.0 bring to life static data previously contained in rows and columns.
The AidData 3.0 Official Press Release
The AidData 3.0 release is a major step forward in making aid information not only more transparent, but actually useful in advocacy, research and decision-making to improve the outcomes of development assistance.
Can A Data Benchmarking Exercise Affect Positive Change Within Development?
Open data is certainly not sufficient to provoke positive change, but it is also not inconsequential. Open data can be catalytic when complementary efforts are in place to address several other important conditions.
On Being a Development “Innovator”: It Takes a Team to Nurture Disruptive Ideas
As AidData’s Director of Operations, I see my responsibility as clearing hurdles in order to let some very smart people do their jobs. This increases the chance for making meaningful progress, whether disruptive or incremental in nature.
From Rhetoric to “Revolution”: Mexico’s Challenge to Cultivate a Culture of Transparency
The Mexican government should evaluate the systems it needs to align the incentives of government ministries to implement transparency laws already in place and monitor compliance with those standards.
What Can Photos of Garbage Tell Us About Foreign Aid?
Development practitioners and private enterprises alike are attempting to leverage this greater connectivity through crowdsourcing initiatives, which call upon citizens to provide input to improve a wide variety of programs.
“Nutrition Sensitive” Investments: Assessing Donor Commitments to Address Malnutrition
An inside look at AidData and the Canadian government's efforts to develop a methodology to assess nutrition spending across all aid sectors.
Climate, Conflict and Aid: Can We Better Forecast Climate Insecurity?
Mapping tools combine extensive development, security, and governance data for policymakers, researchers, and citizens to use in exploring critical questions related to climate change impacts and responses in Africa.
New Partnership between AidData and Canada Improves Tracking of Overseas Nutrition Investments
New methodology provides donors and recipients with a comprehensive picture of nutrition assistance.
Correcting Imbalances: New Study Reveals Gaps in Conservation Spending and Priorities
How closely does conservation spending align with global biodiversity priorities? The answer may surprise you – the 40 most highly underfunded countries steward 32 percent of all threatened global biodiversity.
Does the Giver Matter? The Human Development Impact of Chinese Aid
Whereas OECD nations have scaled back their support for the so-called "productive sectors" in recent years, China has stepped up as a major financier of schools, hospitals, roads, ports, dams, and power lines.
Assessing Vulnerability: The Technology Behind the New CCAPS Climate Change Dashboard
The new climate dashboard – released by the Robert S. Strauss Center and Development Gateway – enables researchers to more easily explore and analyze climate security risks and insecurities across Africa.
Averting Crisis: What Can Donors Do About Ogaden?
An analysis of the relationship between conflict events, aid flows and poverty levels in the region as a basis to make recommendations for donor action.
Deciphering US Foreign Assistance: My Summer with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Bridging the gap between those conducting research and setting policy is a major priority if aid is to become more transparent and effective. Helping people make sense of data on foreign assistance is one important step to getting there.
Once Upon a Time, There Was a Pothole
We spend a lot of time investing in something that often we want to see achieved, and tons of evidence proves it’s importance and effectiveness, however what the citizens see their needs as may be completely different.
Announcing a New CCAPS Dashboard to Explore Climate Security Vulnerability in Africa
The online platform that displays data on physical, socio-economic, demographic, and political insecurities to assess how these factors contribute to “climate security” vulnerability in Africa.
New Student Competition Searches for Big Ideas Using Open Data
Competitions like Big Ideas are important not only to support student creativity, but also to challenge AidData and the greater development community.
Nepali Organizations Use ArcGIS Training to Answer Development Questions
The five-day ArcGIS workshop was an important part of the AidData Center for Development Policy’s efforts to mobilize local demand among Nepali institutions to use geospatial data and tools to track, deliver and evaluate aid more effectively.
Visualizing Results: Can GIS Enable New Ways of Looking at Agriculture Projects?
Using GIS technology to map results, CEAPRED staff can make their projects even more effective.
On a Quest for Aid Information That Is Actually Useful: Can Nepal Show the Way?
With financial support from USAID and AusAID, Nepal’s Ministry of Finance and AidData have pinpointed over 21,500 geographic locations representing all donor funded aid projects in Nepal.
Students Catalyze Local Capacity to Use Geocoded Aid Information
Eleven student researchers from the College of William & Mary and University of Texas-Austin deployed this summer to Nepal, Uganda, Timor-Leste, Senegal, and Mexico to serve as AidData Summer Fellows.
Emerging Donors and Development Cooperation: Can Mexico Lead the Charge for MICs?
Emerging donors like Mexico are contributing a growing share of development assistance and more accessible data is needed to assess the value and outcomes of their efforts.
Beyond Access to Use: Building Local Stakeholder Capacity to Use Open Aid Data
Raising awareness among civil society organizations and research institutions as critical to ensuring that open aid information is not only publicly accessible, but is actually being used to promote effective development.
African Students Leverage Open Data to Aid Communities Vulnerable to Disaster
A clear theme emerged at the ResilientAfrica Network launch event – the importance of accessible, transparent information to bolster resilience against man-made and natural disasters.
Peeking Behind the Curtain: Analyzing Chinese Aid and Influence in Zimbabwe
The Chinese government has financed a wide range of humanitarian assistance and economic development activities in Zimbabwe. The volume and details of these activities have until now proven opaque.
Geography of US Food Aid: A Steep Road Ahead for Reform
US food aid policies have come under fire from the international development community and elected representatives who argue that food aid supplies should be purchased locally within affected countries.
Can Mapping Nutrition Assistance Help Uganda Solve Its Malnutrition Problem?
Geocoding—applying subnational geographic coordinates to discrete project activities—is crucial for analyzing how current nutrition investments are addressing malnutrition, in addition to identifying where funds are flowing and from whom.
Cleaning Up the Murky World of Geocoded Data
While geocoded data represent a tremendous boon for aid transparency and aid effectiveness research, there are limitations to what we can learn from them.
Is Open Data Just A Flash in the Pan Movement?
Experiences such as the Nepal Open Data Literacy Bootcamp remind us that open data and the applications it spawns can help build the capacity of citizens to track and evaluate information on their country’s development.
Recent Media Reports Omit Essential Details About Chinese Development Finance
We would like to clarify some of the technical content of a recent Ghana Business News article entitled “Ghana Receives $13.9b Chinese Aid in 10 Years.”
AfDB publishes project-level and geocoded data to IATI
AfDB’s Quality Assurance and Results Department (ORQR) collaborated with AidData, through Development Gateway, to bring to light valuable geospatial information previously buried in lengthy project documents.
Nepal Aid Management Platform Goes Public
In making the Aid Management Platform public, the Government of Nepal is better positioned to “effectively coordinate and manage aid.”
Transboundary Water Bodies and Conflict in Africa
Targeting and investing in areas of greatest need will likely increase the impact of those funds, potentially reducing conflict in the most vulnerable zones and improving the quality of water for those nearby.
Dodd-Frank in the DRC: Regulation, Aid, and the “Resource Curse”
The “resource curse” continues to affect DRC, posing a significant challenge for the development of the region as a whole.
Shedding light on aid: Using night lights to analyze the effectiveness of geocoded aid in Malawi
The current aid effectiveness debate largely relies on cross-national evidence. This post introduces an innovative measurement technique to evaluate sub-national aid effectiveness.
Environmental aid is going up and increasingly bilateral
While the overall increase in environmental aid is a positive trend, the increase in bilateral aid presents some consequences.
Reducing Corruption and Improving Accountability in Aid Projects through Targeting
More precisely targeted projects are on average less likely to suffer from the capture of funds due to corruption or other forms of diversion.
What Factors Influence the Success and Failure of World Bank Environmental Projects?
The success of assistance projects is strongly influenced by the strength of public sector institutions, suggesting that building the governance capacity of recipient countries is crucial for improving environmental management.
AFP, China Daily Coverage of AidData/CGD Study of Chinese Development Finance to Africa
Lest there be any confusion, our CGD working paper indicates that we were only able to classify roughly $13 billion in development finance activities that seemed to fall in line with the OECD's definition of "official development assistance" (ODA) commitments.
The Global Fund Should Take Transparency to Another Level
The reality is that using Global Fund data to make recipients accountable is out of reach to most concerned people because they lack access to the Internet, don’t have enough time or technical skills, and experience obstacles to freedom of information and speech.
What’s Your Source? Comparing Official and Media-Based Chinese Aid Data
Media-based methods often reveal major weaknesses in official reporting systems.
RCTs Awesome, but Then What?
Randomized evaluations became the chic international development approach a few years back, as they re-energized the aid effectiveness debate with the promise to unbury the causal links of program interventions and development.
Chinese Development Finance and Strategies of Political (and Territorial) Survival in Sudan
Chinese aid to and investment in the infrastructure sector in Sudan and many other African countries have the potential to usher in the most important restructuring of the state since colonialism.
A Rejoinder to Rubbery Numbers on Chinese Aid
In this post, we respond to Deborah Brautigam’s review of our Chinese development finance data collection project.
How Do You Track Chinese Development Finance? You Have to Follow the Money!
If you want to know what the Chinese are funding in Africa -- or anywhere else for that matter -- you have to follow a project through its full life cycle.
Announcing: Chinese development finance in Africa
A new report, China’s Development Finance to Africa: AMedia-Based Approach to Data Collection, describes the development and application of the methodology, which will be released in conjunction with the database.
Geocoding and public aid data in Nepal
To ensure that development stakeholders in Nepal are eager and able to use the public AMP data, the AidData team worked to build a strong network of local partners in Nepal.
Over the next five weeks, student contestants will develop a research question related to the targeting, coordination, and effectiveness of foreign aid, analyze geocoded aid information to address their research questions, and display their results in a map and a blog post.
QCRI develops automated Geotagger for the World Bank
The system, built by QCRI’s Data Analytics team, enables more efficient and effective labeling of the Bank’s project portfolios and places them on a map for analysis, monitoring and evaluation.
Chinese and U.S. Foreign Assistance: Who Wins in Uganda?
Research suggests a stronger support for U.S. aid than for China’s among a representative random sample of Ugandans.
Getting More Development Bang for Your Foreign Assistance Buck
Wealthy countries and international organizations have created a wide range of policy instruments—incentive-based aid programs, moral suasion tools, and financial sanctions—to spur and sustain reform efforts in developing countries.
What Factors Predict a Donor’s Aid Transparency?
If almost everyone seems to agree that aid transparency is a good thing, why are some donors more transparent than others?
Announcing the AidData 2.1 Research Release
Research releases are static snapshots of the AidData web portal. They are provided for users who wish to replicate the complete dataset for research, analysis or other uses.
The Winding Road to the AidData Center for Development Policy
The AidData partnership was created with a clear mission: to capture the entire universe of aid at the project-level in a single database.
India - The Needy Donor
Despite rapid economic growth and prosperity, many regions and communities in India continue to be severely underdeveloped. Three factors are characteristic of India’s aid allocation behavior.
The Aid Management Fellow Decoded
Aid Management Fellows work directly with country governments that are using Development Gateway’s Aid Management Program to improve the process and systems involved, and ensure accurate, complete, and up-to-date data.
Tracking Venezuelan Development Finance and South-South Activities in the Caribbean
A project funded by the Roy R. Charles Center at the College of William and Mary program employed this media-based data collection (MBDC) methodology to produce a dataset that captures more than $7.6 billion (2009 USD) in Venezuelan development finance from 2000 to 2011.
Does open data make development more accountable? The case of Colombia
Development Gateway and Transparencia por Colombia have visually mapped data on development projects, transparency at the local level and poverty rates in Colombia to start to unravel a policy conundrum.
Unshared Government Data is a Waste
You can create as many information systems as you want, but they will not take-off unless the right incentive structures to share and standardize data are mainstreamed.
Is international aid for biodiversity targeted to the right countries?
Biodiversity aid has fallen short of donor commitments, but is relatively well-targeted toward areas of biodiversity need and good governance.
Announcing the AidData Center for Development Policy
The AidData Center for Development Policy will create geospatial data and tools that enable USAID and the broader global development community to more effectively target, coordinate, deliver, and evaluate the impact of aid.
Aid Fishing in the Yemen: Tracking Saudi Development Assistance to Its Southern Neighbor
Using media-based methods, we attempted to generate the most detailed, project-level summary of Saudi aid to Yemen to date.
New 2010 OECD CRS Data Imported Into AidData web portal
The new data include some new donors, new data fields, and new purpose codes. Below is a brief summary the new CRS and how it is reflected in the AidData web portal.
Aid and Africa’s Resource Potential
African natural resources are largely unexplored and undeveloped. If harnessed correctly by African nations, these resources can be a catalyst for ending chronic poverty.
Reducing Corruption in Aid Delivery: 3 Key Lessons Learned
Donor agency officials often perceive measures to detect and prevent corruption in aid projects as costly and distracting. However, left unchecked, corruption can undermine the political legitimacy of overseas aid activities.
The View from Citizens in a Recipient Country
The question of how aid compares to relevant alternatives is rarely asked. But it is key.
Non-DAC Round-Up: Chinese Investment in Africa Since FOCAC 2012
Debate continues over the effectiveness of Chinese aid to Africa, but neither side can ignore the magnitude of the economic and political relationship.
Who Is Leading Russia’s Overseas Aid Programme?
All along, there seems to have been a bit of tug-of-war between the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over who would have the upper hand in providing both the vision and the infrastructure for Russia’s overseas aid programme.
Bad Behavior, Good Politics, and Ideas: Making Sense of Theories of Aid Allocation
The aid allocation literature remains fragmented and largely inaccessible to many policymakers and practitioners. Two books published in the past year could change that.
Dirty Work: The Environmental Impact of DAC and Non-DAC Donor Projects
The public release of the AidData Environmental Impact CodeDataset makes it possible to examine whether NDBs have “dirtier” grant and loan portfolios than DAC bilateral donors.
New climate data and tools featured on CCAPS aid dashboard
Among other information, the dashboard features the first-ever dataset tracking all climate aid activities in a single country.
How Eco-Friendly is Nigeria’s Foreign Aid Portfolio?
There is a lack of clean-up funding provided to Nigeria by international donors, especially in light of the total amount of external funding spent on developing Nigeria’s oil and gas sectors.
USD-2009 Deflator Web Service now in Beta
This service, hosted at the College of William and Mary’s Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations, makes AidData’s deflator methodology readily available to anyone.
The Case for Using Geocodes and Activity Codes at Project Appraisal: Insights from a World Bank Anti-Malaria Project in the DRC
Putting timely and actionable information like this in the hands of government and IGO officials who make development policy decisions with far-reaching consequences is a central part of AidData's raison d'être.
Taking open data offline (and back again)
It seems that often when we imagine all the fantastic possibilities of open data, we forget how many people live in remote, rural areas (or urban areas with poor infrastructure) where there is no broadband.
New Geocoded Data Sheds Light on Social Conflict
The Social Conflict in Africa Database (SCAD) includes events through 2011, and the entire dataset is geo-referenced to provide latitude and longitude coordinates for more than 7,900 conflict events.
New on AidData.org: Environmental Impact Codes
The environmental impact variable evaluates the likely environmental impact of a project, as well as the scope of environmental benefit.
Migration and Development Finance: The Case of South Asia and the Gulf
Remittance flows from Gulf States alone range between 1 to 3 times the size of ODA flows in five countries surveyed: Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh.
New Findings from Crowdsourcing Experiment in Uganda
Findings shed new light on a potential solution to one of most fundamental problems in development: the broken feedback loop between donors and their intended beneficiaries.
Increasing the Development Impact of Open Data
In order to impartially disseminate public information, an organization must design its data liberation strategy with both effective technologies and appropriate public policies in mind.
The limitations of donor mapping: Inedible food aid
While aid data can tell us a lot about some things, conclusions about outputs, impacts or effectiveness should be drawn with extreme caution – even where the links between inputs and outputs seem straightforward and crystal clear.
Transparent Aid Management and State Building in Somalia
Aid transparency is a two-way street.
Are the Paris Declaration objectives of untied aid and defragmented aid compatible? New evidence from Knack and Lodewijk
Results suggest that efforts to untie aid will not conflict with efforts to encourage donors to establish a clear division of labor.
Where are donors working in Malawi? A new dataset sheds light
The dataset includes sub-national geocodes for approximately 550 aid projects undertaken in Malawi since 2000, representing nearly $5.3 billion in total commitments or roughly 80% of all aid reported to the Ministry of Finance during that time.
Do Private Flows Reach the Lowest Income Countries?
Analysis of private investment suggests that the lowest income countries do not experience dramatically lower inflows than better-off developing countries.
The Benefits (and Drawbacks) of Coding Aid Projects By Activity
IATI reporting standards, CRS purpose codes, AidData activity coding, and Open Aid Partnership geocoding all demonstrate that transparent, accessible, and detailed aid information is well within reach.
How Important are Private and Non-DAC Sources of Global Development Finance?
The absence of country-level data on private investment, private philanthropy, and remittances almost certainly distorts the overall picture of global development finance flowing into a given country.
Mapping makes it easier to identify links between climate change, conflict, and aid
CCAPS researchers are investigating the interplay of climate-related hazards and incidents of violent conflict, and the way conflict dynamics are changing over time and space.
New Research Resources on AidData.org
AidData is offering new, smaller prepared dataset options based on our Research Release.
The Case for Using Project-Level Data to Study Aid Distribution and Impact
Finer-grained aid information is helping scholars gain greater leverage on questions related to aid allocation and effectiveness.
A World without Aid Transparency: Dispatch from the Frontlines in Bangladesh
Identifying whether and how projects are functioning in impoverished communities is the central to designing effective poverty alleviation projects.
New AidData Research Briefs Posted: Is Health and Education Aid Effective?
These 3-5 page publications seek to make the empirical findings of AidData-affiliated faculty more accessible to policymakers, development practitioners, journalists, and the general public.
Looking Beyond the Supervision-Outcome Relationship in World Bank Projects
While supervision of aid projects is important, so too is understanding how general contextual factors shape the success and failure of projects.
Do strong monitoring and evaluation systems and high levels of staff supervision make World Bank projects more effective?
Effective supervision is a necessary, but insufficient, predictor of project success.
Transparency in South-South Cooperation: Why Does it Matter?
Venezuela's South-South cooperation has helped it curry favor with governments in the region, but it has also made the Chávez administration the subject of intense criticism for its apparent lack of transparency.
Assessing Donor Transparency Practices Outside of the DAC
Including non-DAC development finance agencies in future benchmarking exercises would be a great service to the aid transparency policy discussion, as manyare currently establishing new agencies and working out how information will be gathered and published for years to come.
Making Open Data Work for the Poor
Information is power, and it may improve development outcomes – if applied correctly.
Introducing AidData 2.0
Today, AidData launched its new and improved website, featuring more content and new data and marking an expansion in the program’s mission and scope.
A fresh look at China as an aid donor
Evidence suggests that Chinese aid is not overwhelmingly influenced by the country's commercial or political interests.
Newly Released World Bank Dataset a Step Forward for Aid Transparency
The World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group dataset containing evaluations of almost 10,000 World Bank projects since the early 1960s.
Got transparency? Leaders and laggards in climate finance reporting
A new scorecard reveals that we have a long way to go in making climate finance transparent.
Using Remote Sensing Technologies to Monitor Aid's Impact
Remote sensing can help social and environmental scientists better understand aid's role as a possible driver of land use and land cover change
New Report on Chinese Aid Transparency Expresses Cautious Optimism
The report outlines how Chinese aid reporting differs from Western methods and assesses the prospects for improving the transparency of China's foreign assistance.
A spatial perspective on World Bank health projects in India
While development indicators improved in some regions over time, some regions were continuously lagging behind.
Food for thought?
The growth in food production could be a sign that the renaissance of agricultural aid is enjoying some success. But despite these positive trends, the global food crisis continues.
AfDB geocoded dataset now publicly available
The data include more than $10 billion in AfDB Group funding to 43 African countries.
Experimenting with Aid Information
AidData will be partnering with UNICEF and Ushahidi to run a randomized controlled trial in Uganda to test which incentive mechanisms are most effective in recruiting Ugandan citizens to provide useful information on development needs and outcomes.
Where does aid go? Mapping the African Development Bank’s Activities
AidData's new map shows the AfDB's ongoing operations in three countries: Cameroon, Morocco, and Tanzania.
China’s Foreign Aid White Paper: a Victory for the Aid Transparency Movement?
While the paper provides some aggregate funding statistics, but it does not provide the granular project-level detail necessary to monitor the nature of the country’s specific development assistance activities.
Supply vs. Demand in Aid Transparency and Accountability
It is important to recognize the significant constraints that donors face in making their data public.
Open Data for Development Camp highlights challenges and innovations in aid transparency
Participants generally agreed that open development data should be a core component of a paradigm shift towards increased transparency, accountability, and public participation in development practice.
U.S. Foreign Aid to Pakistan: In Perspective
Clear information on the types and amounts of aid given by the US to Pakistan has been notably absent from public discourse.
Emerging Economies Press for Continued Access to Coal Financing at the World Bank
A recent uptick in coal-based power lending might indicate that donor countries like the US no longer exert the influence at the World Bank that they once had.
Time for some mashups: World Bank and AidData released geographic data for 81 countries and launch open.aiddata.org
The geocoded data represent more than 16,000 locations for more than 2,700 active Bank activities in all 79 IDA countries, plus China and the Philippines.
Bangladesh: Mapping climate change and food security
Mapping results in Bangladesh shows how swiftly Bank support has been distributed to reach people in need, and in locations where impact is greatest.
Politics of Aid Allocation Redux
Vreeland's paper and an AidData blog post gave the impression that it was about $71 million per year for two seats on IO boards. But, it turns out the Swiss almost certainly got more for their money than we thought.
Thoughts on Ten Steps (or at least a few of them)
While raw data is fantastic, especially for researchers and analysts, there are also a lot of people interested in aid who would like their information pre-cooked to some degree.
AidData to make trillions of dollars in development assistance compatible with IATI standard
The AidData database currently accounts for around $4 trillion in development activities funded by nearly 90 donor agencies between 1945 and 2010 - this feature will therefore instantly make a vast quantity of aid information compatible with the IATI standard.
The Politics of Foreign Aid Allocation
A surprising number of political scientists analyze aid allocation from a geo-strategic perspective where states make aid commitments or allocations in pursuit of other foreign policy goals, rather than just domestic political goals.
Aid and reconstruction challenges in post-disaster contexts: Japan and Haiti
People who are moved by the devastation of the Japanese earthquake and wish to help would probably do better to look back at last year's earthquake in Haiti and donate to organizations that continue to do crucial work there, after the world media has largely moved on.
From recipients to donors: Developing countries as providers of disaster relief
It seems plausible that some countries are offering in help in part as a way to express gratitude for receiving foreign aid in the past and/or in hopes of receiving such aid in the future.
AidData celebrates first birthday
It’s been an exciting year for the aid transparency movement overall.
Aid to be paid on delivery?
The idea behind cash on delivery is that aid recipients are paid for achieving various development benchmarks, plus bonuses for additional achievements.
Putting Aside the "Humanitarian, Do-Good" Stuff
Though an AidData team observed an overall relationship between unemployment and aid commitments, this effect was strongly mediated by domestic politics.
Transparency Promotes Data Visualization
The combination of easily accessible data on development finance and open data from the World Bank's World Development Indicators allows computer software geniuses to visualize data in useful and interesting ways.
Gendering Agricultural Aid?
While the discourse about mainstreaming gender and targeting vulnerable female populations has continued to increase over time, dollars for this purpose have not.
Moving closer to an international data standard for aid information
IATI has been signed by 18 donors and endorsed by 18 partner countries.
Better Data Could Inform This Debate
Van Der Veen moves from assertion to simple empirical poking and shows that for the projects with the largest dollar amounts, donors have worked in conjunction with official authorities.
Aid Transparency After the Election: Emerging Common Ground?
Only when aid information can be compared across U.S. agencies and with other donors will it be possible for legislators, taxpayers, and aid workers to tell if money is being put to the best use possible.
PWYF Aid Transparency Assessment 2010
While PWYF looks at three broad areas of transparency and seven specific indicators of transparency, they also provide an interactive tool that allows web users to re-weight the distinct areas of transparency based on their own judgments of their relative importance.
Mapping development for better results
The many benefits include facilitated coordination among donors and thus better-directed aid.
The Elusive Quest for Effective Aid Management in Liberia
One commonly-heard argument is that recipient governments need to first take steps to "put their own house in order" to boost donor confidence. By all appearances, the Liberian authorities are doing just that.
World Bank Open Data Initiative Features Geo-Coded Maps
Yesterday the World Bank unveiled an interactive mapping tool that allows users to view the locations within a country where World Bank project dollars are spent, view expenditures by sector, and overlay these projects with sub-national data.
Quality of Official Development Assistance Report (QuODA) Issued by Brookings and CGD
The report ranks both donors and donor agencies in terms of four broad categories -- Maximizing Efficiency; Fostering Institutions; Reducing Burden; and Transparency and Learning.
Grassroots Monitoring and Aid Effectiveness: Does Greater Community Involvement Matter?
This simple idea -- that local community members have strong incentives to track how funds are being spent in their own localities, but need detailed public expenditure information and political space to conduct an effective oversight role -- has become increasingly popular.
India opens up its aid tap
While the Indian aid apparatus is still forming and no central agency has been established, we have been able to collect some very basic project level statistics from outcome budgets.
Aid Shocks Likely Cause Armed Conflict
Research suggests that, even if aid proves entirely ineffective at relieving poverty or promoting economic growth, withdrawing it suddenly might lead to violent conflict.
New MDG Strategy Document Signals USG Commitment to Aid Transparency
If the USG gets on the aid transparency bandwagon, it could be a huge boost for the International Aid Transparency Initiative and broader efforts to strengthen the feedback loop between donors and intended beneficiaries.
South-North Cooperation? Hurricane Katrina and the US as an aid recipient
The government of Qatar allocated $100 million to health, education, and housing projects across the US Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
A Slow Tsunami of Assistance?
While other donors invest a larger proportion of their aid into humanitarian assistance and rapid response activities, Arab donors have traditionally been more active in the reconstruction phase of emergency response.
Leveraging the “Wisdom of Crowds”: Enhanced Project View and Crowd-Sourcing
One potential remedy to the "broken feedback loop" is to make it easier for project beneficiaries and local stakeholders in developing countries to share real-time performance information with Western donor agencies.
Donor Coordination in Kenya and Mozambique
Geo-referencing development projects is one very promising method that could facilitate greater coordination and dialogue between policymakers, development practitioners, researchers, NGOs, recipient governments, and citizens.
Donor Bingo -or- Four New Donors
These additional donors represent an additional $3,867,402,828 (USD 2000) of aid in 506 individual projects.
Aid, Women, and Progress in Morocco
While the achievement levels of Moroccan women have increased since the Moudawana reforms, Morocco has stayed roughly in the same place relative to the rest of the countries in the world.
Credible Commitments and Environmental Aid
Donors may be allocating environmental aid in order to build capacity for environmental governance in countries where current capacity is low.