HIV/AIDS Alliance commit to transparency
This week we have a guest blog from Farai Matsika, Programme Officer in the Planning Analysis and Learning Unit at the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. The Alliance have just become the first INGO to publish their data to the International Aid Transparency Initiative. Farai was responsible for coordinating the process, he talks us through their decision to publish in this way and looks at their next steps over the coming months.
The International HIV/AIDS Alliance (the Alliance) has become the first civil society organisation to publish its data using the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standard, which aims to make information about aid spending easier to access, use and understand.
Our decision to make this move came as part of our commitment to value for money and cost effectiveness. We published on the IATI registry details of 38 projects that are funded through our International Secretariat and implemented by Alliance Linking Organisations in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
In publishing to IATI, we join donors such as the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the governments of Australia (AusAID) and the Netherlands (BUZA), the World Bank, the Hewlett Foundation and Development Initiatives Poverty Research (DIPR) in making our data transparent and accessible using a common format.
The experience of ensuring that the Alliance’s programmatic and financial data met the IATI standard has had a significant impact on our work. We are already planning spin-off projects, for example remodeling our M&E system around the IATI standard.
A commitment to aid transparency
I spoke to Sam McPherson, our Associate Director from the Planning Analysis & Learning Unit who explained why it is important for us to adopt the IATI standard: ‘The Alliance welcomed the IATI initiative from the beginning. We have been committed to making our data available to all stakeholders through our Impact Microsite and interactive map.’
As an organisation, we have a Partnership Programme Agreement with DFID who were one of the donors who were behind the launch of IATI in 2008. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, Stephen O’Brien, said:
I am pleased that the International HIV/AIDS Alliance has become the first civil society organisation to publish its data to the IATI standard. The best way to demonstrate that aid works is to be open and transparent about how it is used. This is why the British government has created an independent aid watchdog to provide unflinching scrutiny of our programmes.
Making information about aid spending easier to access means that UK taxpayers and citizens in poor countries can hold DFID and partners to account for using aid money effectively and for its intended purpose. The Alliance is leading the way in transforming accountability in the NGO sector.
The next steps
We know that this data release is just the first step along a long path to greater aid transparency. Sam says:
We are aware that there is more work to be done. We will be working with our Linking Organisations in-country so that they too can become IATI compliant
Some donors, such as the UK Department for International Development, have started making it a requirement for organisations they fund to make their data accessible via the IATI standard. The Alliance Secretariat will be providing support to Alliance Linking Organisations who wish to start moving on the path toward greater data transparency.
You can view the full Alliance data set now via the IATI registry. We will be adding details of any new projects to the registry, as well as updating the status of existing ones on a quarterly basis.