Srinivas Reddy’s Weblog

My Tech Rants

Open Aid data reflections

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I would like to share my idea that I had submitted to “Open Data Challenge” in this blog. Even if the idea has not made it to the winners, I think the idea is worth reflecting upon and hopefully implement it as well. The idea aims to use the “Open Knowledge Foundation” project IATI registry that maintains references to standardized XML file released by aid recipients, donors and intermediaries.

The idea is to create Datasets on grassroots agencies (NGO’s) working in development projects in a standard format (IATA format) by enabling ‘Self Service’ entry of such data by these organizations, including building useful visualizations on the datasets. This idea can take a lot inspiration from the World Bank aid visualizations that are currently available and AidData portal that tracks development finance. What I miss in the current solutions is a “Self Service” interface where recipients, donors and intermediaries can maintain the data for their grassroots development projects in a standardized format.

Who will benefit from this idea?

  • This will provide transparent information access to (potential) grassroots aid donors on current funding agencies, causes and recipients
  • Help (potential) receivers transparently access information on current funding agencies and causes
  • Help funding intermediaries better match the interests of donors and aid receivers
  • Enhances current aid data sets with grassroots aid data and makes the data more representative

What will be needed to implement this idea?

  • Need user studies with grassroots agencies on “open aid data” needs and willingness to contribute to “Self Service” data entry
  • Need to explore ways to aggregate grassroots aid data (both automated and manual)
  • Build infrastructure / tools to help ‘Self Service’ data entry of aid data in IATA format
  • Leverage related efforts regarding map features, API & Technology tools to help build visualizations. While CKAN IATI provides the basis needed for building grassroots aid data format and AidData platform can be extended with grassroots datasets it needs to be seen if data format needs changes/simplifications and to what extent current open visualization platforms can be reused

I would expect getting grassroots agencies to contribute to Open Aid data (be it manual or automated means) would be the biggest challenge. Given the potential transparency benefits for the Aid process it is well worth the effort to give it a try :)  Would be interesting to hear the views of others on it…

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Written by srinivasreddy

June 19, 2011 at 6:35 am

Posted in CSR, opendata, Technology

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