Funders and donor agencies are increasingly requiring implementing organisations to report their activities via the IATI standard – no IATI, no money. Most grants from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) for example, require NGOs to publish to IATI as part of their grant compliance. The Dutch Ministry for Foreign Affairs (DGIS) is now making the same stipulation. This means that many organisations that have not already adopted the IATI standard are now looking at doing so. The funding models in the UK and The Netherlands make it now a requirement for the recipient NGOs in these two countries. A next step will be to make it also a requirement for implementing NGO's in Africa, Asia and Latin America AND for the governments in these countries. But just to see IATI as a compliance issue that you can leave to your finance and ICT staff would be a mistake. You can do much more with the published data.
For example you want to start a new program and are searching who is working in HIV/AIDS in Ghana. At the moment you have to search on Google, find hopefully up-to-date websites and you have to check if NGO's do have an HIV/AIDS program. If everyone would publish through IATI you can get insights in what is happening in Ghana, which organisations are working where and what they achieve.
It will make a big difference if not only NGO's and governments can use this to better plan and collaborate that the media and advocacy NGO use this to involve citizens. Citizens can than demand accountability form governments, but also from NGO's.
At this moment mainly the donos themself publish through IATI. It already can give you some ideas about development projects in Ghana. You can use D-portal to create simple graphics.
The Ghana government is embracing open data and IATI. They are part of the IATI Steering Committee and have created there own Ghana Open Data Initiative with currently 53 datasets from 25 Government Agencies. But many government and NGO's staff are not at all aware of open data and the power of it.
The next step here is to create more awareness of NGOs, private sector companies and government agencies what you can do with all the collected data and why all should embrace it, not only just for commpliance, but to use it a s atool for planning and decision making.
Capacity Building in Data management skills (technical and organisational) to implement IATI standards should not only be focused on Europe, but capacity should also be build in Africa. At the moment a country like Ghana for example needs more expertise in data management, data analysis and data manipulation. (See Country report Pilot Aids Transparency, USAID). A way to do that could be through Local IATI expertise centres. In a next blog I will explain more about that idea.