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.

April 4, 2014
Samantha Custer

AidData has a long history of working with donors such as the World BankAfrican Development BankAsian Development Bankand USAID (through the Higher Education Solutions Network) in collecting and visualizing granular information on who is funding what and where via Governments and donors use this information to improve coordination, reduce duplication and maximize the impact of their investments. Citizens and civil society organizations rely upon this information to identify gaps and hold their governments accountable for results.

While AidData is proud of these achievements, it takes a broad and diverse coalition of actors working in unison to sustain a data-driven dialogue between citizens, governments and donors to meaningfully improve development outcomes. Today, AidData is pleased to formally endorse the Open Aid Partnership and build upon existing collaborations with OAP partners in order to achieve our common goals of liberating local development data and engaging citizens and stakeholders in evidence-based conversations in development.

There is more publicly available development data than ever before, but big gaps remain. While a growing number of donors and governments are now publishing aid information and geocoding their development portfolios, too many donors still have not disclosed detailed project-level information that include geographic locations at a local level. Development mapping initiatives have not yet systematically integrated hyper-local data from citizens as they monitor the inputs of aid investments and outcomes of development activities in their communities. Donors are often particularly reluctant to part with data on their evaluations and information on disaster response and humanitarian assistance activities.

We need to graduate from mapping aid to building the capacity of local actors to use this data and engage in real dialogue that will improve development outcomes. The ultimate value of geocoding doesn’t exclusively lie in the location information itself. Data visualizations simplify complex data points, convey information with greater ease and enable people to draw conclusions about patterns they observe. Civil society organizations and citizens often lack awareness of granular development data or have limited capacity to seamlessly integrate this data in their activities. For time pressed government and donor officials, we need more compelling use cases to demonstrate how data can increase efficiency and effectiveness.

The Open Aid Partnership serves an important convening function that brings together a diverse coalition of actors in order to strengthen global norms and local capacity. AidData is eager to work together with the forward-leaning civil society organizations, governments and donors that comprise the Open Aid Partnership. Working together, we have high hopes that this network will help make the vision of evidence-based development conversations a reality.

Samantha Custer is Director of Policy Analysis at AidData.

Samantha Custer is AidData’s Director of Communications & Policy Outreach.