Hivos is the first major Netherlands-based development organisation to publish all of its project- related information in accordance to the internationally agreed (IATI) standard. The publication of ‘open data’ enables others to verify and compare activities of development organisations, governments, and institutions such as the World Bank (raw XML file here).
IATI stands for International Aid Transparency Initiative, meant to make databases, containing mostly financial information, accessible and sharable.
Hivos’ open data expert Hapee de Groot: “On our website we already tell what we do and how good we are. Now, everyone can find out for themselves. You can check with whom we work, what our partners do, how much money they receive and from whom. You can trace incomes and expenditures to the nearest penny.”
Mobile phones and the Internet are playing an ever greater role in changing the way we organise our lives and collect and disseminate information. Many organisations work In the field of development cooperation, but an overview of what they are really doing on the ground is lacking. Valuable information often remains locked away in databases. IATI makes these databases accessible to others. The interpretation of this ‘raw material’ does require some expertise, but it then opens up a world of possibilities. Journalists, policy makers, pressure groups – anyone who takes the time and effort – will be able to reproduce and use the information. This new transparency sheds light on financial flows more accurately than before, making it easier to verify assumptions, and can have a tremendously positive impact on effectiveness of development cooperation.
Watch this video for a short explanation of ‘open data’: