Story from the Field: Springtime Transparency Events'

June 5, 2012Andrea Calabrese

This Story from the Field comes from Stephen Davenport, Development Gateway’s Senior Director for Business Development/Partnerships:

In April and May I had the opportunity to represent Development Gateway at three events focused on transparency. One of these events was the Open Aid Partnership (OAP) Workshop in Stockholm. The event was very hands on. There were about 25-30 participants who each brought datasets of their activities in different parts of the world. My colleague, Josh Powell, did a great job co-leading (with our partners at the World Bank) a session on how to geocode the data and then put it all on one map to see where everyone is working. It was great for everyone to see the value of geocoding and learn how easy it can be to learn and do.

The Open Aid Partnership brings development partners together to enhance the openness and effectiveness of development assistance. The partnership focuses on mapping and technology for improved aid transparency, better monitoring and targeting of development programs, and increasing accountability by empowering citizens to provide feedback and use open aid data themselves.

I also had the chance to present tools and technology available to support transparency to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) Steering Committee in Paris, along with Development Gateway’s Guillaume Delalande, who is doing a lot to ensure that our country-level work reflects the ongoing global discussions. The Steering Committee meeting was a great opportunity to show how IATI data can be made more usable and to highlight the benefits of mapping data. Not only were we able to show the importance of technology in transparency to those already involved in IATI, but a number of other organizations attended and were able to see the value of IATI in their own work.

Development Gateway has focused mainly on transparency with respect to aid flows, but we recognize the importance of connecting that with public sector transparency more broadly. I hosted a booth at the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Annual Conference to present the Aid Management Platform (AMP) and AidData, which was a great step towards being more involved in the open government arena. The OGP is a multilateral initiative to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. This meeting was important because the governments who have committed to the initiative announced their strategic plans, and we will start to see practical outputs coming from the OGP. There is no set way to achieve the goals of the OGP; it’s more like a race to the top, which, although perhaps chaotic, allows for creativity and innovation. Overall, it was a great conference, and I enjoyed meeting several different organizations that I hope we’ll be able to work with in the future.