This week in Open Data and Citizen Engagement: Taking the lead on open government

Leading Open Government

After meeting with heads of state from Cape Verde, Malawi, Senegal and Sierra Leone, President Obama signifiedthat each government is looking to move towards joining the Open Government Partnership. This would mean some extra work for Senegal and Sierra Leone who are each still a few points away from eligibility. 

Canada’s total foreign aid 2000-01 to 2011-12
Figure from
USAID’s leading man, Raj Shah, was encouragedthis week by Paul O’Brian of Oxfam America to push governance as a top priority and commit USAID to becoming a top 10% donor on transparency (rankedby Publish What You Fund).  As a citizen, I would like to voice my own feedback here: If the US truly wants to lead in governance and accountability as we encourage other countries to (through the aforementioned OGP for example), than anything short of the top 10% is inadequate. 
Ahead of CIDA’s annual report on aid spending, the Canadian International Development Platform gives a quick review of the numbers. Eventually the data will be released and included in their interactive aid dashboards. After the announcement that CIDA will be closing and becoming a part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, questionsof their how this will affect the agency’s role have risen.
Some hard questions
While we are used to studies, surveys, and consultants that look at outputs, results and impact, a recent study twisted the looking glass. It found that micro-finance NGOs were twice as likely to respond to an enquiry about participating in a study when it mentioned a study that found microcredit was effective against an enquiry that mentioned a study that found microcredit as ineffective. Suggesting that organizations try to avoid negative criticism and seek to have songs sung about them. While not surprising, it leads to questions about how willing organizations are to then take results from such studies and act upon them if it means change is in the concluding paragraph.
Nathanial Heller from Global Integrity than posed the question on if there may be times when the citizen feedback loop might prove inefficient and damaging. I say we take a survey to find out what the public thinks…

Weekly updates are written by Taryn Davis of Development Gateway; email her your tips for next week's update to get a shout-out in the post.
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