New methodology makes searching for funding to government ministries easier

  • 31 août 2022

Mark Brough.jpeg

This post is written by Mark Brough, Senior Technical Advisor working with Development Initiatives in their role to support the Grand Bargain transparency workstream.

He shares a new methodology to improve the identification of partner country government entities in open data.

Earlier this year, we shared details of a new methodology in IATI Connect to make it easier to identify and find government ministries who receive development and humanitarian funding.

The problem

In the past, it was difficult to search IATI data for activities related to individual government agencies because there was no agreed way to clearly identify them. This created a lot of work for data users, who need to make sense of a large volume of data on unidentified organisations. For example, if a government wanted to collect IATI data on international funding to its ministries, they would need to manually look for the names of the ministries in text fields and documents.

This methodology enables unique identifiers to be assigned for each ministry within a partner country government.

The solution - creating unique identifiers

This methodology enables unique identifiers to be assigned for each ministry within a partner country government. The identifiers use the government’s own codes for their agencies, departments and ministries found in their budget (or 'Chart of Accounts'). It builds on more than a decade of past experience on integrating development and humanitarian activities with country budget systems and processes.

For example, in Liberia the following codes are used for government entities:

Table 1. List of codes for some government entities in Liberia

Code Name
101 National Legislature
102 Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs
130 Ministry of Finance and Development Planning
301 Ministry of Education
310 Ministry of Health

Source: FY2021 Special Budget

To generate an identifier for the Ministry of Education in Liberia you would simply combine its code (301) with the ISO country code for Liberia (LR) and the letters ‘COA’ (which abbreviates 'Chart of Accounts') using this format:

{ISO country code}-COA-{Organisation code from the relevant country’s chart of accounts administrative classification}

So the identifier for the Ministry of Education in Liberia would be:

LR-COA-301

Benefits to data users

Capturing and publishing these codes will improve the usability of IATI data through:

  • Reducing manual searching through data to find government entities
  • Making automation easier, moving us closer to the goal of being able to import IATI data into country-level Aid Information Management Systems (AIMS) or services such as UN OCHA’s Financial Tracking Service (FTS)
  • Enabling quicker identification of funding from multiple sources to a particular government entity

In addition to the significant benefit to data users at the partner country and international levels there are also benefits for data publishers. It’s one of the last pieces required to have a consistent methodology for uniquely and unambiguously identifying all organisations involved in delivering development and humanitarian activities. Now publishers can make a clearer decision on whether to invest resources in adding organisation identifiers into their systems, as there are now far fewer tricky exceptions.

Organisations can already start publishing identifiers

Already, GAVI and the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office have begun publishing their data using this new methodology. To support its uptake we have set up a simple website to explain the methodology and provide access to codes that we’ve extracted from over 50 government budgets.

To promote the use of these identifiers, Org-id.guide has already added entries to these lists of codes on their website (see example for India). We encourage organisations working with countries for which we haven’t yet captured codes to get in touch with us.

What’s next?

We encourage action from both publishers and users to increase the publication of government entity identifiers:

  • Publishers working with partner country governments can begin to capture these codes in their systems and then begin publishing the data.
  • Partner country governments, or those working with them, can share codes from the government budget for countries we haven’t yet captured.
  • Other open data initiatives can take advantage of this methodology for identifying government entities, where relevant.
  • All publishers can gradually begin incorporating organisation identifiers for all types of partners in their systems and then publishing this data. Note: use of organisation identifiers was assessed in Publish What You Fund’s 2022 Aid Transparency Index, and will likely be included in future data quality assessments. So it would be great to get started and begin making progress where possible!
  • Data users can utilise the newly coded data from publishers who have implemented the methodology, and provide feedback on how this is benefitting them and encourage more publishers to use this methodology.

We believe this work is one of the last major pieces required to have a consistent methodology for uniquely and unambiguously identifying all organisations involved in delivering development and humanitarian activities. It can help inform future work on organisation IDs, including in improving the identification of local and national actors - a remaining critical challenge.

If you have any questions about the methodology or how to implement it, please visit gov-id-finder or get in touch: [email protected]