Towards a global open aid map: bringing aid transparency experts together

Guest post by Pernilla Näsfors, Open Aid Partnership & World Bank

On October 25, our team together with Publish What You Fund co-hosted a series of lightning talks as part of Global Transparency Week in an effort to bring together leading transparency and development organizations from around the globe to connect and share their experiences on advancing open aid.

Using Google Hangout, we were able to connect with 181 participants for 16 presentations given by speakers across 8 countries. Below you can see the global reach of this event – the blue dots represent the number of participants, while the orange dots represent locations of speakers.


Speakers included government leaders from Bolivia, Kenya, Colombia, Honduras and Nepal, as well as representatives from World Bank, AidData, USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, DFID, InterAction, Gapminder Foundation, the University of Texas at Austin, and our colleagues from the OAP and Publish What You Fund.
The event was broadcast live and can be watched on YouTube.


Each speaker had 3 minutes to present their work in order to provide the audience with a quick overview of activities taking shape around the world in the open development space. Although we initially ran into some minor technical difficulties trying to connect participants from several different locations around the world, we still managed to hear from all our speakers and wrap up the event in just over 2 hours – a major feat for an international meeting!

We invited speakers to comment on their efforts to  increase the transparency of where development takes place through mapping and other visualization tools, as well as the progress of country-owned aid transparency initiatives. As USAID’s Principal GIS Analyst, Shadrock Roberts, also reminded us, “transparency is not just about sharing where you work, it’s about sharing what you know, what are the data that are influencing decision-making.” This statement was reflected in the range of transparency initiatives showcased by presenters.

This event provided an opportunity for our team at the Open Aid Partnership as well as our partners to speak about the OAP’s efforts to improve aid transparency at the country level. The OAP, housed in the World Bank Group, is a multi-stakeholder initiative that brings together governments, development partners, civil society organizations and the private sector to strengthen the capacity of partner countries to collect, publish and use development data in ways that engage citizens and other stakeholders in evidence-based conversations on development.

Johannes Kiess, team leader for the OAP, provided an overview of our mission, strategy and activities in partner countries. We also had the pleasure of hearing from our partners in Bolivia and Kenya – Ms. Viviana Caro Hinojosa, Bolivia’s Minister of Development Planning and Mr. Peter Kamau, Assistant Director of Kenya’s National Treasury – who presented on their experiences creating country-owned Open Aid Maps as part of their Governments’ collaboration with the OAP.

Our OAP colleague in Malawi at the time, Elizabeth Dodds, presented on the OAP’s work with Malawi’s Ministry of Finance to promote the use of aid data from Malawi’s Aid Management Platform.

Mark Brough from Publish What You Fund spoke briefly about the launch of the 2013 Aid Transparency Index as well as PWYF’s use of innovative tools to create quick visualizations of IATI data.

Other topics included:

  • the Government of Honduras’ efforts to build demand for aid information
  • Colombia’s experience mapping South-South Cooperation,
  • AidData and OAP’s initiative to map contracts and results data in Nepal
  • USAID’s efforts to map operational data
  • MCC’s three steps for sustainably opening up data
  • DFID’s new Development Tracker tool to enhance the traceability of development financing
  • the global roll-out of InterAction’s NGO Aid Map
  • Gapminder’s new tools to visualize and compare inequalities at the sub-national level
  • UNDP’s idea of “dogfooding” its aid data (in other words, not only publishing data in IATI format but also using these data to improve its work)

And finally, participants discussed the next phase of the open development agenda, including how to systematically evaluate the impact of aid transparency initiatives to ensure our collective efforts are improving results on the ground.

For more details on the event, please visit the OAP website and this summary on Storify.



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