At the recent IATI TAG meeting in Montreal (that’s the International Aid Transparency Initiative Technical Advisory Group), I was reminded how creative and passionate the IATI TAG community is. We are a diverse group, with people representing partner countries, national and multilateral donors, foundations, civil society organisations and private sector organisations. Another of our strengths is that we include tech geeks, data and business analysts, comms specialists and policy people, giving us a full appreciation of the production and use of the data. And we care about what we do and are passionate about the potential to transform our world.
So, how do we build on this wealth of energy and enthusiasm now that we are all back at our day jobs?
Here are a few concrete steps, based on the sessions we held on improving the work of the TAG:
1. Improve our online communities
We have a range of online spaces for the TAG, including the mailing list, wiki, iatistandard.org and support.iatistandard.org. For someone new to the community these are confusing, so we want to consolidate and improve these so that people can ask questions, discuss ideas and find peers.
How can you help? Join the mailing list and share your ideas for how to improve the online communities, or volunteer to curate a community space.
2. Meet up IRL (in real life)
Communities thrive when people can connect, both online and in person. We want to hold more physical meetups, whether based locally (city/country), or by topic (all geocoders or people with an interest in budget identifiers), or in parallel with existing events (like the Open Knowledge Festival in Berlin). Or just where @OPENGOVHULK happens to be that week.
How can you help? Identify IATI community members in your city or country, set up a community meetup in a cafe or other meeting space. Then share your community events with the worldwide TAG through blog posts or the mailing list.
3. Improve our documentation
We recognise that the IATI technical documentation can be improved, so that different people (publishers, analysts, end users) can get access to the information they need, and so that whether you are new to IATI or have been working with IATI for years, you can get access to relevant helpful information.
How can you help? Volunteer to improve the documentation for one or more key areas – use the mailing list to let the IATI technical team know what you are willing to improve.
4. Establish working groups
One of the ways to improve the TAG is to form collaborative working groups on particular topics or themes. That way we can develop ideas, work up proposals or even just collaborate on making a small improvement. Working groups also spread the workload and mean that we can achieve more.
How can you help? Volunteer to form a working group, maybe on one of the actions arising from the TAG. Let us know through the mailing list or by contacting the team directly.
Of course, if you have any further suggestions for how to make the TAG even more effective, do contact me or join the discussion below.