The following post is by Christian Kreutz, co-founder and board member of the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany.
Help us find innovative solutions for aid transparency and make development aid more effective.
Germany is one of the largest donors in development aid worldwide. Every year over 6 billion euros are spent by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development alone, to provide humanitarian relief and tackle poverty around the world. The Open Aid Data conference will bring together practitioners from various organizations for discussion and exchange about new solutions, and about how technology, the Internet, and particular open data can make aid more transparent – because not all of the money is spent effectively.
Prior to the conference, we will organize a Hackday on the 28th of September at the Böll-Foundation in Berlin to bring developers together to experiment on technical and data solutions to improve development aid. We are looking for programmers, designers, coders and others who want to learn more about the field of development aid and would like to share their wisdom. In the morning we will introduce you to the theme, and then brainstorm on possible approaches to making aid more transparent. During the rest of the day we want to work through a code sprint on a real solution. Be part of the event!
There are a range of activities around open aid data worldwide, such as the recent conference in Amsterdam or a Barcamp in Kathmandu for aid transparency. By the way, an interesting fact: while the Kenyan government has already offered an open data portal, the German government is still debating such a platform.
Open data and new bottom-up solutions for development aid are rather new fields, but with some promising developments. Around data there is an initiative called IATI (International Aid Transparency Initiative), which propagates a common standard for data sets for financial and other project-related data. So far in development cooperation only a tiny fraction of financial data is openly available, which is, at the end of the day, the taxpayers’ money. Watch this excellent movie from Publish What You Fund on why financial aid transparency is needed.
One driver of IATI is Aidinfo.org, a co-organizer of the conference and member of the IATI secretariat, who have done some pioneering work in the area. Check out the AidInfo Labs to see what is possible through such data sets. We are curious to hear your ideas and projects.
Another driver of open aid data is the World Bank, who will also present their work on the conference. The World Bank has not only opened up its data, but also made an app competition, where many great solutions have been developed to use the data, for example games using development indicators, amazing visualizations, and crowdsourcing approaches. The aim is to make development aid more effective. Initiatives such as Ushahidi in Africa, demonstrate the potential of new forms of technology. Come join us at our Hackday to network with great people from the community.