This blog was written by Andrew Clarke at the Omidyar Network and reposted from www.omidyar.com.
Transparency is a central theme in the work of Omidyar Network and its investees and a major goal of our Governance & Citizen Engagement initiative. It is only right that we set an example by sharing good quality, timely and open data on our activities. So we have decided to increase our transparency by providing a comprehensive dataset on our grant portfolio, in line with international best practice, namely the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI).
Why this matters
- Development finance is hard to track, especially, but not only in developing countries. And keeping abreast of the myriad initiatives and projects in the spaces that we operate can be a challenge! It’s worth considering a few different users of information and the challenges they face.
- Civil servants often don’t have accurate information on international investments in their countries. For example, Ghanaian education ministry officials are often in the dark about foreign investments in the education sector, undermining their ability to plan Ghana’s education budget effectively, learn about different models, and identify relative capital gaps.
- International development funders similarly lack good data on current activities. While we may know well the work of our closest peers, the multiplicity of funders in many sectors can lead to duplication, under-funded sectors and geographies, and high transaction costs on partners.
- Journalists and researchers want good quality, comparable data on development activities to gain insights, identify trends, and influence future interventions.
- Grantees and their partners often struggle to get reliable information about work happening in parallel sectors and other countries. By providing data that complies with common classifications, we can make it easier for them to discover and learn from other initiatives.
Transparency of funding is a work in progress: all actors will have to contribute to achieve a full picture. But by providing information in line with our bilateral, multilateral, and philanthropic peers, Omidyar Network will be helping to strengthen country systems, support better decision-making by the global funding network, and will make us and our peers more effective grant makers through increased peer learning.
How we’re addressing this
As of November 2016, we will be disclosing, on a quarterly basis, data on our nonprofit portfolio, in a structured data format that complies with the IATI standard, now used by the majority of international development funders. You can read our IATI policy to understand our approach in detail. This is a work in progress – we will continue to increase the quality and depth of our data on our grant-making and welcome feedback.