Open Aid Partnership FAQ
What is the Open Aid Partnership?
The Open Aid Partnership (OAP) brings together development partners from developing countries and donor countries to increase the transparency of development aid and how it is reported. Partners will make information and data on their activities available in an easily accessible way. This will help to inform citizens at the local level and empower them to provide feedback on services received.
What is the motivation for the OAP?
Transparency of development assistance, public budgets and service delivery is critical for citizen engagement. However, publication of data is not enough to bring about change. Information must be available in a user-friendly, accessible way for a range of users, including civil society, government organizations, journalists, and others. Innovative technologies, such as mapping and mobile applications, are powerful new ways to put information in the hands of people who need it, when they need it.
Who is involved?
The World Bank Institute and bilateral donor partners, foundations and civil society launched the Open Aid Partnership in 2011. As of November 2011, the World Bank, United Kingdom, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, Estonia, and Finland have endorsed the Partnership.
The Partnership works closely with the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), which has developed common data standards to make aid information more accessible and meaningful to citizens. It will also work in close collaboration with the Open Government Partnership (OGP). NGOs that work on aid transparency and effectiveness, including Development Gateway, support the OAP.
What does OAP intend to achieve?
Main components of the Open Aid Partnership are:
- Map activities supported by development assistance to create a web-based collaborative Open Aid Map that helps improve coordination, efficiency, transparency and accountability of development assistance
- Support developing countries in building national mapping platforms
- Promote citizen feedback initiatives for better reporting on development assistance and public service provision in order to enhance transparency and accountability
- Build capacity of the civil society to act as information intermediaries for citizens and make these maps more accessible. Also strengthen the capacity of public service providers to receive and respond to feedback
- Evaluate the development impact of national mapping platforms and feedback initiatives on public services and related capacity building
What has been achieved so far?
Malawi is leading the first Open Aid pilot. The Malawi Ministry of Finance, Debt and Aid Coordination Unit (DACU) in cooperation with AidData and University of Texas Strauss Center's Climate Change and African Political Stability (CCAPS) Program has geo-coded aid activities from 27 different donors working across the country.
Open Aid pilots in Nepal, Kenya and Indonesia are currently being prepared.
Why does the OAP focus on mapping?
The OAP will engage in a range of activities, but mapping (geocoding) aid activities is its primary focus at the outset. Connecting citizens to public service providers and establishing a feedback loop between citizens and governments--concerning the effectiveness of aid programs and the quality of public services--requires improved access to information about the specific geographic location of development projects. The more local information, more likely citizens engage with governments and public service providers. This kind of detailed geographic information is not readily available and the lack of it is a major obstacle to engaging citizens in the development planning and monitoring process. For citizens to comment on service at an aid-funded health clinic, for example, they need to know exactly where the clinic is located—country-level information on aid projects is not sufficient.
The Partnership builds on the World Bank's Mapping for Results Initiative, a partnership between the Bank and AidData, which has mapped 30,000 activities in all 143 of its client countries, and overlays these data with sub-national poverty and human development indicators at the local level. The initiative is based on the premise that the combination of visualization technologies and open data on development assistance can enable a more transparent, inclusive and effective development process.
The geocoding work uses the World Bank/AidData/Uppsala methodology that is referenced in the geographic component of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) data standard for aid activities. By promoting use of a common methodology, all mapping supported by the OAP will result in standardized, comparable data that can be visualized on a joint map, the Open Aid Map. The Open Aid Map will allow policymakers as well as citizens to have a more comprehensive view of where aid is going, and whether it is targeting the areas of greatest need.
Who can join the Partnership?
Recognizing the significant impact that open geographic data, innovations in ICT, and an empowered civil society can have in making development more effective, the Open Aid Partnership invites developing country governments, development partners, foundations, and civil society to join the Partnership.
How is the OAP funded?
It is envisioned that the Partnership will be supported by a pooled fund from multiple development partners. The funding will support creating and maintaining the common mapping platform; visualizing partners' aid project information; helping governments to increase their geo-related capacity; developing and applying technology to create citizen feedback mechanisms; building citizen and civil society capacity for providing meaningful feedback on project results; and evaluating the program.
Will the data be open and reusable?
Yes, OAP will provide open and free access to project location, human development and results data at the sub-national and local level for increased aid transparency, citizen engagement, and better results.
How does OAP relate to the Open Government Partnership (OGP)?
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a broad initiative of governments around the world to make public information more transparent. The OGP asks partners to commit to four principles that match the goals and components of the OAP:
- Increase the availability of information about governmental activities.
- Support civic participation.
- Implement the highest standards of professional integrity throughout our administrations
- Increase access to new technologies for openness and accountability.
While the OGP focuses on governments and all types of government data, the OAP are focused specifically on aid information. With other words, the OAP complements the OGP in the area of development assistance and international aid.
How does OAP relate to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI)
The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and OAP support the same goal, making more detailed aid information available to governments and citizens.
The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) is an effort to encourage donors to publish more detailed, timely aid information, and to harmonize aid reporting across donor agencies. IATI has defined a standard for aid information that outlines definitions and a technical format for publishing data at the activity level. Donors that endorse IATI publish their activities in the IATI format on the IATI Registry as a data file.
The OAP focuses on making aid information (which may have already been published in IATI format) more accessible and relevant for end users, such as policymakers and civil society, through maps and other tools. OAP is also interested in making the linkages clearer between aid and domestic spending in countries that receive aid.
The OAP promotes IATI's geospatial data standard for sub-national aid reporting. Applying a common a standard will help creating standardized, comparable data that can be visualized on a joint map, the Open Aid Map.
While IATI focuses on setting common standards and making aid information more accessible, the OAP brings together donors, governments, and civil society to implement IATI's standards, in particular the forthcoming standard on sub-national aid reporting. More specific, the OAP promotes IATI's standard for subnational aid, builds capacity of governments and civil society to create and interpret this type of data, as well as brings it to good use by integrating it in citizen feedback initiatives
I want to find information on aid activities. Where should I look?
For official statistics on aid from all of the OECD Development Assistance Committee member countries, visit the OECD/DAC Creditor Reporting System. For data sets in the IATI format, which can be downloaded for analysis or mashups with other data, visit the IATI Registry. For a searchable inventory of about one million development projects, including some from donors that have not traditionally reported their data internationally, visit the main AidData database, and for a collection of downloadable donor datasets in non-standardized formats, visit AidData Raw.
In the future, the Open Aid Map will show all geocoded aid information in an intuitive, interactive way.
My organization wants to publish information on its activities. How can I do this?
Organizations that wish to make their activities more transparent are encouraged to publish information following the IATI data standard, so that it is comparable with that of other organizations. All IATI-format information can be published to the IATI Registry so that it can be used by others. More information is available at http://iatistandard.org.
How can my organization geocode its activities?
The OAP uses the World Bank/AidData/Uppsala geocoding methodology. The methodology can be downloaded and adapted for use by any organization.
More recently, the World Bank Institute, AidData, and Esri have built an online OpenAid Toolkit (to be launched soon) that allows organizations to pinpoint the precise location of project activities and easily code the relevant administrative boundaries, which allows for aggregation and report generation at the district or regional level. Organizations can also use the toolkit to add non-geographic information such as sector or sub-sector, on/off budget status, implementing partners or co-funders, and local aid disbursements. Once created, these data can be combined with existing data from other organizations that have followed the same methodology (to date, this includes the World Bank, African Development Bank, and Malawi Ministry of Finance).