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‘The data can inform policy decisions and planning to help address development needs’
An Aid Information Management System (AIMS) is an information and communication application that enables donors and recipient governments to open and share aid data. AIMS are generally owned by governments and populated with the donors’ data about the aid they are giving to that country.
Several different types of AIMS are in use in different countries. Most are supplied by specialist organisations, although several countries have built their own solutions.
Benefits of using IATI data in AIMS
Governments in developing countries are among the main users of IATI data. They need to know which development and humanitarian organisations are operating in their country and what they are spending, which services they are providing and where they are working.
IATI data provides a great deal of timely, forward-looking and detailed information on resources that flow into developing countries. Governments in these countries can access the data to inform policy decisions and planning to help address poverty, development needs and humanitarian crises.
Integrating IATI data into your AIMS brings a range of benefits that include:
- Allowing you to identify projects in your country that you were not aware of. This can lead to improved efficiency in resource allocation.
- Providing you with data from more organisations, not just donors. For example, you can access information that NGOs have provided for the work they are doing on the ground.
- Giving more timely and granular data on transactions. You will be able to identify what resources are being spent on a quarterly or monthly basis, depending on the frequency of publication of the specific organisation you are looking at.
- Letting you see non-financial data on activities, such as the location, sector, results information and useful documents such as annual reports.
- Saving valuable staff time for donors and recipients. Instead of manually gathering data and completing spreadsheets, data from IATI can be extracted in various formats and imported directly into your AIMS.
How do IATI and AIMS link?
Developing country government staff can integrate IATI data into their AIMS. Depending on what aid information management system they are using, data can be:
- Imported manually
- Imported automatically using an IATI-AIMS import tool
We have a list of developing countries showing which AIMS provider they use. This is not an exhaustive list. It has been compiled by the IATI Secretariat using information provided by partner countries.
Examples of IATI data being used
A number of pilot projects have already taken place, getting partner country governments to both import and use IATI data in their national platforms. This has often involved mapping the IATI standard and available data onto each country’s existing data and then importing the relevant areas. A couple of examples below talk about the successes and challenges of this work:
Spotlight on IATI Data Use
In 2017 UNDP, on behalf of the IATI Secretariat, carried out a survey looking at how eight partner countries were using IATI data. Country profiles were created to summarise each country’s IATI commitment, the progress they’d made in integrating IATI data into their national systems and how they were using the data. The profiles also highlighted the main challenges each country encountered and provided suggestions for how to increase IATI data use. See:
Importing IATI data in government systems - Senegal and Madagascar
Development Gateway, in partnership with Development Initiatives, supported UNICEF’s goal of helping their Country Offices use data published to IATI for reporting to their respective governments’ AIMS. The purpose of this was to reduce the Country Offices’ burden of data collection and reporting, increase the timeliness of data reporting, and improve UNICEF IATI data so that its usefulness for country systems and planning could be enhanced. The project started in June 2017 and focused around an import of UNICEF data during the pilot phase, which involved the placement, and training of two Aid Management Fellows in the foreign aid units of both governments.
Overall, the project showed that UNICEF’s IATI data had much detail and information that would be useful for the governments to include in their AIMS. You can read the full report about the experience and lessons learned. A summary report was also developed, which includes a series of questions and answers that development partners and government partners might ask when considering using IATI data in local AIMS.
Read more about Madagascar's use of IATI data in this case study.
Share your experience of integrating IATI data into AIMS
If you would like to share your experience of using IATI data and integrating it into AIMS, please add a new post on IATI Discuss community - Using IATI data. We are aware there are many challenges in the process and would like to hear about how IATI data can be improved to meet the needs of partner countries.
Who can help?
If you want to integrate IATI data in your AIMS, talk initially to your AIMS provider about how best to achieve this with your particular system.
If you have questions about an organisation’s data, please contact the organisation directly.