ARTICLE 19 and the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI)
24 Aug 20120 comments
I-A-T-I It does need spelling out; spelling out how aid money flows from donors to those people who will feel a change in their lives. So for ARTICLE19 it is a great opportunity to stand alongside global NGOs in development to make information about aid spending easier to access, use and understand.
Why is ARTICLE 19 involved in IATI?
Publishing our data to IATI standard means we are able to show we are putting money where our mission is. The information we will publish enables our supporters, partners and those who benefit from our work to see how much it costs to improve support access to information and freedom of expression. So it is important for our mission that we are working to achieve this international standard and become an exemplar of transparency.
Where are we starting?
We are starting by publishing funding from Department for International Development’s Civil Society Partnership Programme. This covers 25% of our turnover for the financial years 2011/12 and from 2012/13. By the end of March 2013 we hope to have data on all our donor funded projects available on our website and accessible on the IATI registry. Future information will be available on our IATI page.
Challenges and Decoding
To get there will take some detailed work. The IATI process is encouraging us to stop and ask questions on how we can achieve greater impact from the investment we make.
Our ambition is to be detailed in what we publish and achieve as high a standard as possible of transparency. We do need to learn how to process and present the data though. IATI is giving us the opportunity to look at our systems and strengthen them to help us more easily track value for money in some very difficult operating environments.
IATI coding is a challenge as the diversity and detail of our work does not always map easily onto the IATI codes available. We are working to improve our use of the codes. There is the option of using our internal coding systems in presenting the data but could defeat the purpose to make our data accessible. So we will persist.
Persistence is needed in completing the long horizon of spreadsheet columns with data. So for smaller organizations finding and releasing the resources for this task can be a further challenge.
Learning from what is available on line from IATI itself is very useful but most useful has been the conversations we have had with colleagues in other organizations as they too work to achieve IATI standards.
While we work through our implementation plan we aim to work more closely with BOND to share our expertise in transparency and produce a business case for transparency. We hope that such a business case will allow other organizations understand what the benefits of being transparency are. The business case will add to the other resources already available on IATI http://www.aidtransparency.net