IATI data encompasses information on over a million global development and humanitarian activities, covering finances, locations, sectors, and results. Access to this data is crucial for effective decision-making in development and humanitarian efforts, aiding governments, academics, journalists, and the public in understanding resource utilization. For partner countries, IATI data plays a pivotal role as it facilitates advanced sharing of spending plans, enhancing planning and coordination. You are probably already familiar with the Country Development Finance Data (CDFD) portal. In order to help government officials achieve the aforementioned results with more ease The Open Data Company is looking to develop an upgraded Country Data Dashboard that gathers all data available for one country and keeps it in the same place.

Importance of IATI data for partner countries

For governments of partner countries, it is important to be able to use IATI to access information about resources coming into their countries. The use of IATI data allows for a more comprehensive picture of external development financing in their countries, improving government's’ visibility of billions of dollars of external development and humanitarian resources, and ensuring more effective planning, budgeting, coordination, and monitoring.

IATI data is increasingly in demand to complement data available at the country level. It is often difficult for governments to obtain data on resources that are channeled outside of government (e.g. through NGOs), as well as challenging to source data from in-country partners often leading to double counting of data. In theory, staff working for the Finance Ministry should coordinate all resources to avoid the duplication of efforts. IATI data can enable more effective planning, budgeting, coordination, and monitoring of resources.

Country dashboard portal 

Drawing from the 2023 IATI Members’ Assembly discussions in Copenhagen it is clear that IATI data is in high demand among partner country governments. However, the currently available County Development Finance Data (CDFC) for government officials is limited in its scope. Therefore, there is the need for tools that provide all available IATI data in one place for every country in accessible visualizations. 

To ease the way partner countries find and employ IATI data, The Open Data Company (TODC) intends to develop an enriched country dashboard portal. The CDFC tool focuses mostly on the finance transactions data whereas TODC’s dashboard wishes to combine multiple metrics into one single portal. It goes beyond finances, including data on project locations, key documents, and performance. Through machine learning, it can ensure exclusion of double counting of financial transactions data. It can present filtering functions that will enable custom views. Basically, TODC aims at developing a more extensive country dashboard based on users’ needs. This tool is meant for any government officials using IATI data to monitor aid activities within their country, including Financial Officers, Development/Foreign Aid Officers, and Monitoring Officers. 

To give a concrete example of how useful this dashboard is going to be, let's imagine that the Finance Officer at the Ministry of Finance of Ghana wants to know what aid activities take place in their country. There is often a difference between what is reported as ODA (Official Development Assistance) – within the ‘government radar’ – and what goes directly to NGOs – which is more difficult to trace. TODC’s dashboard aims to visualize all the data both from ODA donors as well as from NGO led funding and include more IATI fields in a country dashboard as is shown by the mock up below. 


The enriched Country Data Dashboard aims at becoming a crucial tool, streamlining IATI data access for government officials and empowering effective decision-making in aid activities. 

Join the pilot!

We know there is a large interest with many stakeholders for a portal that visualizes country data in this way. Are you one of them? TODC is looking for partners to collaborate around building a first pilot version of the country dashboard. This is a great opportunity to make your needs heard from the beginning and influence the outcome of the project. Please reach out to us at info@aida.tools to discuss how you can participate in the pilot.


Comments (2)

Bill Anderson
Bill Anderson

A question on your machine learning processes. Can you sense check the meaning of the data, not just its validity?

One problem of using IATI data as published is that rogue data - even from respected publishers - can undermine the confidence of users. For example there have been incidences of large agencies publishing cumulative commitments or disbursements numbers rather than specific transactions.

A human eye can often sense a glaring anomaly. I remember a case of a value in Ugandan shillings being reported as GBP. The data was valid, but stupid. Can you train your portal to recognise such things?

Cecilia Wallen
Cecilia Wallen

Hi Bill, thank you for this question. Yes – it is possible to train these models to also sense check data. To what extent we choose to implement AI/ML solutions depends partly on interest and commitment from collaborators. As this portal is still in the mockup/idea stage, it is still possible to influence the direction of the project. Feel free to reach out to the email address and we can plan a chat to talk it through more in detail!

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