AidData and the Climate Change and African Political Stability Program (CCAPS) at the University of Texas are working with Malawi's Ministry of Finance to geocode aid activity information. Geocoding, through which information is pinpointed to a precise geographic locality, provides a visual aid for development planning and coordination, allowing governments and their donor partners to better assess current aid distribution and plan future projects.
Recently, several CCAPS research assistants traveled to Malawi for the initial stages of the project, which will result in a geocoded set of all development assistance projects currently tracked in the government's Aid Management Platform (AMP). AMP, a product of Development Gateway, is an online platform that streamlines aid information management, allowing government staff and their donor partners to record, monitor, and report information on aid-funded projects and programs. Malawi's AMP tracks funding from 28 different bilateral and multilateral donors, and as of January 2011 accounted for the country's entire portfolio of ongoing activities – totaling over 450 projects and programs. For more details on the impact of AMP on aid information management in Malawi, watch this interview by Stan Nkhata, Deputy Director of the Debt and Aid Division of Malawi’s Ministry of Finance.
To execute the project, CCAPS and AidData research assistants will use the geocoding methodology developed by AidData and Uppsala University, which was also employed in the Mapping for Results initiative and is consistent with the standards developed for the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). The team has already met with several of Malawi’s donors – including USAID, UNDP, DFID, Japan, and Canada – to obtain project documentation with geographic details. Once mapped, Malawi's geocoded aid projects will be presented on a simple visual platform that will help government and donor staff ensure that aid is targeted to areas of most need.