My name is Morag Patrick and I joined DFID this year to work on increasing the transparency of aid to improve both the impact of UK aid and wider aid impact through the international system. I plan to blog about various initiatives we are planning to achieve this goal.
My first milestone though has been the creation of the International Development Sector Transparency Panel, which met for the first time last month. For my first post I'd like to hand over to one of the panel members to report on that meeting.
Fran Perrin is the Founder and Director of The Indigo Trust, which aims to help the most disadvantaged with innovative solutions to social problems. She guest blogs below:
"Last month I blogged about joining DFID's International Development Sector Transparency Panel. The panel met on May 15th and I wanted to provide an overview of the main issues discussed. The panel is comprised of the following members:
- Fran Perrin, Director of the Indigo Trust (Twitter: @franindigo)
- Owen Barder, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Global Development (Twitter: @owenbarder)
- David Hall Matthews, Director of Publish What You Fund (Twitter: @dhallmatthews)
- Mary Ann Addo, formerly the Director of Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning for the Ghanaian government
- Rufus Pollock, Founder of Open Knowledge Foundation (representing the Public Sector Transparency Board) (Twitter: @Rufuspollock)
The panel was chaired by Liz Ditchburn, Director of Value for Money at DFID.
John Adams, Head of Business Innovation at DFID presented to the panel on the DFID Aid Info Platform, which was launched last week in beta form. It has been renamed the Development Tracker and you can read about it here. He has also previously written an article about this platform for Bond. The photo represented here shows him demonstrating the platform at Open-Up.
DFID has a further initiative, the Aid Transparency Challenge which is working to make it possible for anyone, anywhere to track UK aid spending right through the system.
The panel was brought together partly as a result of DFID's Open Data Strategy. This article, by Publish What You Fund provides a good explanation of why it is so important that data around aid is used more effectively.
The panel discussed what our priorities should be. There was a lot of interest in improving the traceability of aid. The panel feels that it is important to always keep in mind how aid data will be used from a citizen's perspective. Publishing better aid data is a tremendous first step, but there is more work to be done to ensure that this impacts better development outcomes.
The panel hopes to outreach to data activists and technologists in developing countries to explore how aid data can best be used in their own countries. Personally, I feel that tech innovation hubs, such as those which Indigo supports (for more information, please refer to this blog post) will be a great place to start. I'll blog again when the panel next meets."
Since the panel met, the Development Tracker has gone public, and John was interviewed by Wired magazine. We are looking for feedback from all kinds of users so do send them to DevTrackerfirstname.lastname@example.org.
In future blogs I plan to write about other issues related to aid transparency. I can also be found on Twitter @moragpatrick