Recent Posts

December 2013

Halving Hunger: What Can Burundi and Rwanda Tell Us About Aid, Politics and Health?

Despite sharing a common border, Rwanda and Burundi represent a best and worst case, respectively, in their GHI outcomes according to the 2013 index.

December 2013

Watchdogs or Critical Friends?

Sometimes, holding people and organizations to account needs teeth, especially in young democracies and fragile states with no mutual checks and balances.

December 2013

Philippines Disaster Reinforces Need for Transparent Assistance and a Focus on Resilience

Following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), the Philippines has launched the Foreign Aid Transparency Hub (FAiTH), which will provide information on all foreign aid channeled through the Philippine government.

December 2013

Geocoding: A Route to Deeper Transparency for the African Development Bank

Being able to understand which projects exist, where gaps are, and who is working on what to address these gaps, will help all parties make more informed choices.

November 2013

Student Innovators Use "Story Maps" to Network and Collaborate to Solve Development Challenges

Students from different university development labs collaborated to create Story Maps depicting how the work of individual labs could be visualized, both geographically and topically.

November 2013

Shedding Light on Projects Through Contract Transparency

Increasingly, open contracting in procurement through portals are becoming the norm for governments around the world, with a global initiative at work to establish a common standard for contracting data.

November 2013

Impact Beyond the Numbers: Reflections on Year One of the AidData Center

With one year of implementation behind us, the AidData Center has created a strong foundation that will enable us to bring our big idea to scale in the coming years.

October 2013

Open Data Frontiers: Going Granular, Addressing Quality and Getting Feedback

The global development community must overcome challenges of data quality, data relevance and citizen feedback if open data is to affect the kind of change it aspires to.

October 2013

AidData 3.0: Yes We Can…Make Development Finance More Intuitive

New dashboards, data visualizations, and maps available in AidData 3.0 bring to life static data previously contained in rows and columns.

October 2013

The AidData 3.0 Official Press Release

The AidData 3.0 release is a major step forward in making aid information not only more transparent, but actually useful in advocacy, research and decision-making to improve the outcomes of development assistance.

October 2013

Can A Data Benchmarking Exercise Affect Positive Change Within Development?

Open data is certainly not sufficient to provoke positive change, but it is also not inconsequential. Open data can be catalytic when complementary efforts are in place to address several other important conditions.

October 2013

On Being a Development “Innovator”: It Takes a Team to Nurture Disruptive Ideas

As AidData’s Director of Operations, I see my responsibility as clearing hurdles in order to let some very smart people do their jobs. This increases the chance for making meaningful progress, whether disruptive or incremental in nature.

October 2013

From Rhetoric to “Revolution”: Mexico’s Challenge to Cultivate a Culture of Transparency

The Mexican government should evaluate the systems it needs to align the incentives of government ministries to implement transparency laws already in place and monitor compliance with those standards.

October 2013

What Can Photos of Garbage Tell Us About Foreign Aid?

Development practitioners and private enterprises alike are attempting to leverage this greater connectivity through crowdsourcing initiatives, which call upon citizens to provide input to improve a wide variety of programs.

October 2013

“Nutrition Sensitive” Investments: Assessing Donor Commitments to Address Malnutrition

An inside look at AidData and the Canadian government's efforts to develop a methodology to assess nutrition spending across all aid sectors.

October 2013

Climate, Conflict and Aid: Can We Better Forecast Climate Insecurity?

Mapping tools combine extensive development, security, and governance data for policymakers, researchers, and citizens to use in exploring critical questions related to climate change impacts and responses in Africa.

October 2013

New Partnership between AidData and Canada Improves Tracking of Overseas Nutrition Investments

New methodology provides donors and recipients with a comprehensive picture of nutrition assistance.

September 2013

Correcting Imbalances: New Study Reveals Gaps in Conservation Spending and Priorities

How closely does conservation spending align with global biodiversity priorities? The answer may surprise you – the 40 most highly underfunded countries steward 32 percent of all threatened global biodiversity.

September 2013

Does the Giver Matter? The Human Development Impact of Chinese Aid

Whereas OECD nations have scaled back their support for the so-called "productive sectors" in recent years, China has stepped up as a major financier of schools, hospitals, roads, ports, dams, and power lines.

September 2013

Assessing Vulnerability: The Technology Behind the New CCAPS Climate Change Dashboard

The new climate dashboard – released by the Robert S. Strauss Center and Development Gateway – enables researchers to more easily explore and analyze climate security risks and insecurities across Africa.

September 2013

Averting Crisis: What Can Donors Do About Ogaden?

An analysis of the relationship between conflict events, aid flows and poverty levels in the region as a basis to make recommendations for donor action.

September 2013

Deciphering US Foreign Assistance: My Summer with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Bridging the gap between those conducting research and setting policy is a major priority if aid is to become more transparent and effective. Helping people make sense of data on foreign assistance is one important step to getting there.

September 2013

Once Upon a Time, There Was a Pothole

We spend a lot of time investing in something that often we want to see achieved, and tons of evidence proves it’s importance and effectiveness, however what the citizens see their needs as may be completely different.

September 2013

Announcing a New CCAPS Dashboard to Explore Climate Security Vulnerability in Africa

The online platform that displays data on physical, socio-economic, demographic, and political insecurities to assess how these factors contribute to “climate security” vulnerability in Africa.

September 2013

New Student Competition Searches for Big Ideas Using Open Data

Competitions like Big Ideas are important not only to support student creativity, but also to challenge AidData and the greater development community.

August 2013

Nepali Organizations Use ArcGIS Training to Answer Development Questions

The five-day ArcGIS workshop was an important part of the AidData Center for Development Policy’s efforts to mobilize local demand among Nepali institutions to use geospatial data and tools to track, deliver and evaluate aid more effectively.

August 2013

Visualizing Results: Can GIS Enable New Ways of Looking at Agriculture Projects?

Using GIS technology to map results, CEAPRED staff can make their projects even more effective.

August 2013

On a Quest for Aid Information That Is Actually Useful: Can Nepal Show the Way?

With financial support from USAID and AusAID, Nepal’s Ministry of Finance and AidData have pinpointed over 21,500 geographic locations representing all donor funded aid projects in Nepal.

August 2013

Students Catalyze Local Capacity to Use Geocoded Aid Information

Eleven student researchers from the College of William & Mary and University of Texas-Austin deployed this summer to Nepal, Uganda, Timor-Leste, Senegal, and Mexico to serve as AidData Summer Fellows.

August 2013

Emerging Donors and Development Cooperation: Can Mexico Lead the Charge for MICs?

Emerging donors like Mexico are contributing a growing share of development assistance and more accessible data is needed to assess the value and outcomes of their efforts.

August 2013

Beyond Access to Use: Building Local Stakeholder Capacity to Use Open Aid Data

Raising awareness among civil society organizations and research institutions as critical to ensuring that open aid information is not only publicly accessible, but is actually being used to promote effective development.

August 2013

African Students Leverage Open Data to Aid Communities Vulnerable to Disaster

A clear theme emerged at the ResilientAfrica Network launch event – the importance of accessible, transparent information to bolster resilience against man-made and natural disasters.

July 2013

Peeking Behind the Curtain: Analyzing Chinese Aid and Influence in Zimbabwe

The Chinese government has financed a wide range of humanitarian assistance and economic development activities in Zimbabwe. The volume and details of these activities have until now proven opaque.

July 2013

Geography of US Food Aid: A Steep Road Ahead for Reform

US food aid policies have come under fire from the international development community and elected representatives who argue that food aid supplies should be purchased locally within affected countries.

July 2013

Can Mapping Nutrition Assistance Help Uganda Solve Its Malnutrition Problem?

Geocoding—applying subnational geographic coordinates to discrete project activities—is crucial for analyzing how current nutrition investments are addressing malnutrition, in addition to identifying where funds are flowing and from whom.

July 2013

Cleaning Up the Murky World of Geocoded Data

While geocoded data represent a tremendous boon for aid transparency and aid effectiveness research, there are limitations to what we can learn from them.

July 2013

Is Open Data Just A Flash in the Pan Movement?

Experiences such as the Nepal Open Data Literacy Bootcamp remind us that open data and the applications it spawns can help build the capacity of citizens to track and evaluate information on their country’s development.

July 2013

Recent Media Reports Omit Essential Details About Chinese Development Finance

We would like to clarify some of the technical content of a recent Ghana Business News article entitled “Ghana Receives $13.9b Chinese Aid in 10 Years.”

July 2013

AfDB publishes project-level and geocoded data to IATI

AfDB’s Quality Assurance and Results Department (ORQR) collaborated with AidData, through Development Gateway, to bring to light valuable geospatial information previously buried in lengthy project documents.

June 2013

Nepal Aid Management Platform Goes Public

In making the Aid Management Platform public, the Government of Nepal is better positioned to “effectively coordinate and manage aid.”

June 2013

Transboundary Water Bodies and Conflict in Africa

Targeting and investing in areas of greatest need will likely increase the impact of those funds, potentially reducing conflict in the most vulnerable zones and improving the quality of water for those nearby.

June 2013

Dodd-Frank in the DRC: Regulation, Aid, and the “Resource Curse”

The “resource curse” continues to affect DRC, posing a significant challenge for the development of the region as a whole.

June 2013

Shedding light on aid: Using night lights to analyze the effectiveness of geocoded aid in Malawi

The current aid effectiveness debate largely relies on cross-national evidence. This post introduces an innovative measurement technique to evaluate sub-national aid effectiveness.

June 2013

Environmental aid is going up and increasingly bilateral

While the overall increase in environmental aid is a positive trend, the increase in bilateral aid presents some consequences.

June 2013

Reducing Corruption and Improving Accountability in Aid Projects through Targeting

More precisely targeted projects are on average less likely to suffer from the capture of funds due to corruption or other forms of diversion.

May 2013

What Factors Influence the Success and Failure of World Bank Environmental Projects?

The success of assistance projects is strongly influenced by the strength of public sector institutions, suggesting that building the governance capacity of recipient countries is crucial for improving environmental management.

May 2013

AFP, China Daily Coverage of AidData/CGD Study of Chinese Development Finance to Africa

Lest there be any confusion, our CGD working paper indicates that we were only able to classify roughly $13 billion in development finance activities that seemed to fall in line with the OECD's definition of "official development assistance" (ODA) commitments.

May 2013

The Global Fund Should Take Transparency to Another Level

The reality is that using Global Fund data to make recipients accountable is out of reach to most concerned people because they lack access to the Internet, don’t have enough time or technical skills, and experience obstacles to freedom of information and speech.

May 2013

What’s Your Source? Comparing Official and Media-Based Chinese Aid Data

Media-based methods often reveal major weaknesses in official reporting systems.

May 2013

RCTs Awesome, but Then What?

Randomized evaluations became the chic international development approach a few years back, as they re-energized the aid effectiveness debate with the promise to unbury the causal links of program interventions and development.

May 2013

Chinese Development Finance and Strategies of Political (and Territorial) Survival in Sudan

Chinese aid to and investment in the infrastructure sector in Sudan and many other African countries have the potential to usher in the most important restructuring of the state since colonialism.

May 2013

A Rejoinder to Rubbery Numbers on Chinese Aid

In this post, we respond to Deborah Brautigam’s review of our Chinese development finance data collection project.

April 2013

How Do You Track Chinese Development Finance? You Have to Follow the Money!

If you want to know what the Chinese are funding in Africa -- or anywhere else for that matter -- you have to follow a project through its full life cycle.

April 2013

Announcing: Chinese development finance in Africa

A new report, China’s Development Finance to Africa: AMedia-Based Approach to Data Collection, describes the development and application of the methodology, which will be released in conjunction with the database.

April 2013

Geocoding and public aid data in Nepal

To ensure that development stakeholders in Nepal are eager and able to use the public AMP data, the AidData team worked to build a strong network of local partners in Nepal.

March 2013

AidData #MapOff!

Over the next five weeks, student contestants will develop a research question related to the targeting, coordination, and effectiveness of foreign aid, analyze geocoded aid information to address their research questions, and display their results in a map and a blog post.

March 2013

QCRI develops automated Geotagger for the World Bank

The system, built by QCRI’s Data Analytics team, enables more efficient and effective labeling of the Bank’s project portfolios and places them on a map for analysis, monitoring and evaluation.

March 2013

Chinese and U.S. Foreign Assistance: Who Wins in Uganda?

Research suggests a stronger support for U.S. aid than for China’s among a representative random sample of Ugandans.

February 2013

CCAPS Dashboard Visualizes Conflict Trends in Real Time

The CCAPS conflict dashboard combines the Social Conflict in Africa Dataset (SCAD) and the Armed Conflict Location and Event Dataset (ACLED).

February 2013

Getting More Development Bang for Your Foreign Assistance Buck

Wealthy countries and international organizations have created a wide range of policy instruments—incentive-based aid programs, moral suasion tools, and financial sanctions—to spur and sustain reform efforts in developing countries.

February 2013

What Factors Predict a Donor’s Aid Transparency?

If almost everyone seems to agree that aid transparency is a good thing, why are some donors more transparent than others?

February 2013

Announcing the AidData 2.1 Research Release

Research releases are static snapshots of the AidData web portal. They are provided for users who wish to replicate the complete dataset for research, analysis or other uses.

February 2013

The Winding Road to the AidData Center for Development Policy

The AidData partnership was created with a clear mission: to capture the entire universe of aid at the project-level in a single database.

February 2013

India - The Needy Donor

Despite rapid economic growth and prosperity, many regions and communities in India continue to be severely underdeveloped. Three factors are characteristic of India’s aid allocation behavior.

January 2013

The Aid Management Fellow Decoded

Aid Management Fellows work directly with country governments that are using Development Gateway’s Aid Management Program to improve the process and systems involved, and ensure accurate, complete, and up-to-date data.

January 2013

Tracking Venezuelan Development Finance and South-South Activities in the Caribbean

A project funded by the Roy R. Charles Center at the College of William and Mary program employed this media-based data collection (MBDC) methodology to produce a dataset that captures more than $7.6 billion (2009 USD) in Venezuelan development finance from 2000 to 2011.

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