February 23 is Open Data Day, a global initiative that encourages citizens around the world to write applications, liberate data, create visualizations and publish analyses using open public data to show support for and encourage the adoption of open data policies by the world’s local, regional and national governments.

The event comes as aidinfo, a leading transparency organisation, says people in developing countries are increasingly realising the potential of open data and the role it can play in ending poverty.

“There is an open data revolution happening and, with the world’s third Open Data Day tomorrow (23 February), it’s a great opportunity to reflect on the incredible progress the open data movement has made.

“The huge increase in available data – whether World Bank poverty data, or better data on aid flows – has real game-changing potential to lead to better use of resources to help the world’s poor and it’s something both the developed and developing worlds are increasingly galvanised by,” says aidinfo programme leader Simon Parrish.

Aidinfo is working with partners in Kenya, Nepal and Uganda to support the use of open data and to improve its quality. A key challenge is the significant gap between the availability of open data, and people’s capacity to use it – something common to developed and developing countries alike.

Aidinfo also works to assist countries to implement the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), which aims to make information about aid spending easier to access, use and understand. As an open data initiative, it means that the data being published can be freely used, re-used and distributed by anyone.

In the past year IATI’s membership has expanded from 22 signatories to 35. New members include: Belgium, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP).