The voices that yell “aid is broken” are varied, and while you may or may not agree with that full statement, there is definitely room for improvement. As an example, a rather in-depth article on the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace dove into how a needed change is starting to take place in development to start bridging the gap between the promotion of accountability, transparency, participation and inclusion, and actually making these principles a foundation of practice. In the midst of marking the United Nations’ World Development Information Day and keeping in mind the progress the development community has made in embracing methods to promote such tenets, we know that we are still not quite there yet.
However, we are getting closer. USAID recently announced the release of an open data policy, the Automated Directives System 579. Don’t let that number confuse you, this is the first time USAID has had an open data policy, and it starts out strong by requiring all USAID staff and implementing partners submit all datasets generated with USAID funding be submitted in machine-readable format to the Development Data Library. The release mentions that, “USAID is committed to treating its data not simply as an output of Agency efforts, but as precious “development capital” that can best serve the global good when widely shared.”
USAID isn’t the only one making strides to improve practices, DFID developed the “Smart Rules” this year to make their operating framework more principles based,increase ownership and engagement across DFID, remove generic mandatory compliance tasks (you can almost hear the shout of Woohoo! for that one), simplifying the mandatory rules they can’t get rid of, creating space for frontline staff to be innovative, take risks and adapt to realities on the ground.
That last part is so important and goes along with making actors feel ownership and engagement in the process, and unfortunately is not often standard. Right along with these trends within organizations, is the ODI’s series of events focused on doing development differently. They have created a Storify about the series so far and you can follow the twitter hashtag #differentdev to follow along.
As we make progress, it’s important to remember that not everything will turn out exactly how we picture it, and we might not immediately achieve the goals and dreams we work so hard for, but that doesn’t mean that no progress is being made at all. DataScience LTD recently made this point in relation to the Kenya Open Data Initiative. In the face of those who have declared the initiative as dead, the company points out all the positive change that the initiative has made, and is still making. It might not be the magic bullet (it never is though is it?) but it might be the ladder that leads to higher ground.
This piece was originally published on AidData’s The First Tranche.
Development Gateway: An IREX Venture (DG) hosted a discussion titled "Transforming Food Systems: The Power of Interoperability and Partnerships" at both Africa Food Systems Forum (AGRF) 2023 and the recently concluded ICT4Ag conference. Discussions from these critical events revolved around key themes crucial to DG’s ongoing work, including connecting people, institutions, partners, and systems when we think about technology working at scale to transform agriculture. In this blog, we explore three key takeaways from these conversations.
The 2023 OGP Summit in Tallinn, Estonia featured a number of discussions centered on open government in the digital age. While the use of digital tools in government is far from a new idea, the COVID-19 pandemic spurred a rapid expansion of this practice, with leaders quickly adapting to remote environments through digitizing government processes
With the aim of improving the efficiency of agriculture data use, Development Gateway: An IREX Venture (DG), Jengalab, and TechChange—with a grant from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)—recently held a learning event, titled “Digital Agriculture: Building the Agricultural Systems of Tomorrow,” in Nairobi, Kenya. Participants identified two key recommendations for advancing digital agriculture in order to increase food security.