Open Data is information that can be freely used and reused by everybody. We value being open about how we spend our funds and the actual impact of our work. But the vision behind open data goes far beyond this. By publishing data sets, we don’t only provide specific information about ‘how, what & where’ we run our projects – but we offer an opportunity to our peers to learn from each other. By comparing and enriching information that we provide within our field, we are able to improve our methods and make our work more relevant for children in conflict areas.
By publishing information from various organisations, so they are freely accessible and can be connected to each other, we gain more insight into both trends and results. That way, developmental aid organisations can complement each other better.
IATI: the standard
A standard is required in order to compare and enrich data. The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) designed a format in 2008 that allowed the developmental aid sector to publish open data. By March 2017, there are 571 developmental aid organisation across the world who publish their data according to the IATI standard. In the Netherlands, a select few of these organisations are Hivos, Cordaid, Oxfam Novib, Akvo, SPARK – and starting January 2016, War Child has joined them in their quest to publish open data.
Between January and June 2016, we gradually published a data set for all our projects spanning January 1st 2014 until September 30th 2015. We compiled the data set to the best of our abilities, within the confines of our existing organizational data systems. Despite of our best efforts, we can’t guarantee that the published data set is free of errors. In November 2016, we published a new data set for all of 2015 with additional information. In February 2017, we published on Dutch Relief Alliance (DRA) projects that started or were implemented in 2016.
The information in the data set is illegible for non-specialists, but extremely interesting for app-builders who enrich, visualize and publish information. Examples can be found at openaid.nl and gnwp.akvoapp.org. War Child also intends to visualize the data sets, connect them with other data sets and make the information available for a broad audience. Therefore, we’d like to get in touch with people who are able to make this happen. Join us! Do you have the skills and desire to help War Child enrich our data so we can visualize the results? Not only can you show off your talent, but you’ll also be able to impact the lives of children in war affected areas. Get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the data set on the right you will find the ‘Organisational file’ with general information on War Child; the ‘Activity data file’ with information per project; the ‘Exclusion policy’ which outlines why we don’t publish certain types of data, e.g. due to security concerns. The ‘Implementation Schedule’ indicates which steps have been taken and what still needs to be done to complete the full data set.