About Aid Transparency Barcamp - Nepal
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BackgroundEver since opening up our doors to foreign aid in 1951, Nepal has seen tremendous growth in inflow of external funds in terms of foreign aid channeled through different bilateral and multilateral agencies. According Ministry of Finance data, total foreign aid committed in fiscal year (FY) 2003 was US$555 million, with 63.3 percent in grants and 36.7 percent in loans. In FY2004, total foreign aid committed was US$320 million, of which 37.7 percent was grants and 62.3 percent, loans. These figures have increased significantly of late. In 2011/12 fiscal year budget presented on July 15, 2011 Ministry of Finance has predicted nearly $1 billion as aid and nearly $500 million as loan would be received from international donors which is almost 33% of projected budget.# These aid are being used in different sectors like energy, education, health, water and sanitation, poverty alleviation, social inclusion, etc. Perhaps, every development initiative in Nepal have received some share of foreign aid since the beginning.
With so much aid flowing in Nepal since quite some time, the question of aid effectiveness has started gaining momentum. Increasing burden of foreign loan on Nepali citizen, some studies put in as much as $250 per person, has also increased our responsibility to question whether these funds are being properly utilized and what has been their effectiveness. Hence, the issue of aid transparency which has direct linkages with good governance is highly relevant and important for a country like Nepal that is highly dependent on foreign aid. The timing is also right as the country and its political leadership is grappling to find appropriate tools to address such issues as aid effectiveness, governance and accountability.
There seems to be a missing link when we talk about aid transparency and aid effectiveness. First and foremost, we do not have a publicly accessible single data source on foreign aid. Even if we have data scattered here and there, it is not possible for a common citizen to analyze these data and interpret the results. Also, there aren’t standard tools and mechanisms that compile aid data and present them in a lucid manner. With feedback loop completely missing, it is often difficult to assess how foreign aid is making contribution towards development of Nepal.
There is a promising initiatives called the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) which aims to improve the availability of data on international aid flows by defining standards for the publication of open data about aid in a comparable machine readable format. However, it is reliant on intermediaries to develop tools to make this data accessible, and mash it up with other data to provide a complete picture of development resources, or enable analysis of resource allocations against development indicators (e.g. education spend compared with literacy rates)
n this context, Aid Transparency Barcamp is an attempt to bring policy makers, donor agency representatives, government officials and tech communities in one place and start discussion on creative ways to compile, analyze and present aid data. Perhaps, we can also initiate discussion on ways to create much needed feedback loop around foreign aid in Nepal. As seen elsewhere in the World, we need to look into how emerging and promising technologies like semantic web, mobile technology, etc. can be used to enhance aid transparency and effectiveness.
Specific objectives of Aid Transparency Barcamp - Nepal are as below:
- To make individuals and organizations aware of foreign aid scenario in Nepal
- Create a platform for conversations and connections on how effective use of ICTs can support the issue of aid transparency and effectiveness
- Showcase innovative ideas, concepts and tools that can promote effective accessibility and visualization of aid data, create sustainable feedback loop, monitor aid effectiveness, etc.
- Create a platform where best technology ideas and products around aid data can be collaborated, supported, sponsored and promoted
- Raise awareness about the emerging standard for aid data - the International Aid Transparency Initiatives (IATI)
- Individuals are more aware on issues of aid transparency and aid effectiveness
- Professionals from donor agencies, NGO, and development community are aware of how technologies can help address issues aid transparency and aid effectiveness
- Innovative concept on aid visualization, feedback loop, etc. from tech communities will be taken further for prototyping an full-fledged development together with others interested (eg. http://tools.aidinfolabs.org)
- Networks and partnerships are established between like minded individuals / organizations around aid transparency.
Although this barcamp is open to anyone interested, we would target representatives from following communities.
- Tech Communities (programmers, apps developers, FOSS enthusiasts, mobile developers, etc.)
- I/NGO Communities
- Donor Communities
- Government Officials
- Aid Transparency professionals and practitioners
What will happen during the event ?
Following Barcamp’s unconference way of conducting event, the event will not have any dedicated resource persons. In fact, every individual participating in the event are resource persons. People who want to share their concepts / ideas on how aid data can be better visualized or utilized need to however submit their idea / topic as session topic in our website (aid.yipl.com.np). Participants who are registered into the website can pick up the sessions they wish to participate in. Together with session creator, participants will then be involved in in-depth discussion within the alloted time frame.
During the event, session creators who share their innovative approaches and concepts around aid data and aid effectiveness will have the opportunity to be evaluated by the organizers and later on announce top 3 ideas at the end of the day. Organizers will look forward to the possibility of taking forward these ideas into implementation level. These tools can then find a place in http://tools.aidinfolabs.org/ for use by larger audience worldwide.
This barcamp is jointly organized by following entities
Venue: SAP Falcha, Babarmahal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Date: August 04, 2011
Time: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM (Lunch, Hi-Tea, Tea/Coffee will be provided during the event)
YoungInnovations Pvt. Ltd. (YIPL)
- An article in the economist about Aid and Corruption in Nepal http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2011/05/aid-and-corruption-nepal
- An article on Performance and Effectiveness of Foreign Aid in Nepal
- International Aid Transparency Initiative
- Foreign Aid Policy, 2009 - Nepal
Possible Data sources
- http://www.cbs.gov.np/download/GDP%202011%20Text%20and%20Tables.pdf provides 10 years GDP data and the industry contributions (Tabular Data from page 7)
- http://mof.gov.np/publication/sourcebook/2010/pdf/Source_Book_Eng.pdf lists the donors summary and their financed projects
- World Bank Development Indicators - open data. http://data.worldbank.org/country/nepal
- http://iatiregistry.org/package?q=&groups_types=&groups=&extras_country=NP lists Nepal related IATI xml data of WB and DFID in a standard IATI-format
- DAC Creditor Reporter System (CRS) - provides access to official aid statistics http://stats.oecd.org/qwids/microdata.html?q=1:1+2:123+3:51+4:1+5:3+6:20...
aiddata.org database of all international aid flows - based on CRS (above) and other sources
- Data on all projects funded by World Bank in Nepal
- UN Data on official aid and development assistance to Nepal
Example of how different kind of data can be visualized in different ways