This blog is written by Monowar Ahmed, Chief of Development Effectiveness Wing, Economic Relations Division in the Ministry of Finance, Government of Bangladesh.
As Vice-Chair of the IATI Governing Board and a financial contributor to IATI, Bangladesh has shown its commitment to the initiative. We are also demonstrating the importance we attach to IATI through our work to use its data. This work has been highly innovative and we hope Bangladesh can continue its role as an incubator of new and practical solutions.
Long ago, Bangladesh took the decision to develop our own AIMS rather than using an off-the-shelf solution.
Over the last year, supported by DFID and working with UNDP, Bangladesh has been working to develop a module to import IATI data into our home-grown AIMS. Long ago, Bangladesh took the decision to develop our own AIMS rather than using an off-the-shelf solution. This gave us much more flexibility when we came to develop this new module, because we own all the source code and can work with local developers to improve and extend it.
The result of these efforts, as presented at the last IATI Members’ Assembly, is innovative in three ways:
- It can scale quickly, as it is a general solution which can take data from many donors, rather than developing specific solutions for importing data from each one;
- It avoids double-counting, as it allows and helps donors to identify projects reported to IATI that are also reported by another organisation;
- It significantly reduces the workload and cost of the country offices of donors (primarily responsible for feeding data to the AIMS) who are active in the country, while adding and updating project information.
Having done all this work to develop this module, the next steps are potentially much more exciting and could have significant positive implications for development in Bangladesh.
Firstly, we should move donors to importing data from IATI rather than manually entering it to reduce the burden on both donors and the government. It will also free up resources to allow us to focus on obtaining data from other development partners. Critically, it will also allow us to move resources from data collection to analysis and distribution. That brings us to the next key step.
We should begin to use IATI data to improve the way decisions are made.
Secondly, we should begin to use IATI data to improve the way decisions are made. This should include outreach to donors, line ministries, sector working groups and civil society, including significant capacity building in using the data. This would help us develop a greater understanding of how IATI can contribute to improving the use and management of aid at country level. User interfaces would also be improved in response to user feedback, for example, to begin to capture and use results data, to monitor whether projects are meeting their intended objectives and to intervene where this is not the case. This could allow us and our partners to better target interventions and increase their impact.
This also has important implications for the SDG agenda, as better data should make it easier to track progress by the Government of Bangladesh, donors and civil society.
Connecting up with other systems, particularly with budget systems is a key part of this work and something we have been exploring. This also has important implications for the SDG agenda, as better data should make it easier to track progress by the Government of Bangladesh, donors and civil society.
We are in discussions with our partners in Bangladesh about how to move our work to this next promising stage and would welcome discussions with others who would like to partner with us in these efforts. As with all the work from the module development, our outputs and learning would be widely shared with the rest of the IATI community. We are determined that Bangladesh should remain at the cutting edge of the use of IATI data to increase impact and improve development outcomes.