For folks working in global development – whether in micro-finance or environmental protection or food security – one common challenge is collecting data from a huge range of far-flung projects. New technology tools are helping, though, and bringing loads of useful NGO data online.
Vizzuality, one of our partners, works with a lot of NGOs and funders. Using that experience, they created Aid Reports. Aid Reports is both a technology base and – importantly – an approach to NGO project reporting. You can learn more about Aid Reports in our March 17 webinar.
One of the many benefits of this work is that as more NGO reporting happens online, it releases datasets and other information that can really break down silos. Let’s take a look at a few Aid Reports examples:
Aided by the ability to move funds via mobile phones, cash transfer programs (CTPs) are becoming an increasingly important way to provide direct assistance during crises.
When you visit Cash Atlas, the magnitude and effects of the Syrian crisis are clear in an instant. You can see the story: Syrian refugees are pouring into Lebanon, distributing funds in Syria is incredibly difficult, and food security dwarfs other types of funding in the region.
Vizzuality developed Cash Atlas for the Cash Learning Partnership, a coalition of global aid funders. They wanted to collect cash transfer data from many funders to stay coordinated when responding to crises.
There’s a growing body of research on where and when cash transfer programmes (CTPs) are most effective, with, for example, evidence that direct cash transfers can help keep kids in school. A secondary benefit of Cash Atlas is that having this data in one place makes it easier to evaluate cash transfer programs - purposes, distribution methods (grants, vouchers, cash for work), timing, and outcomes.
Vizzuality used Aid Reports in building the Calvert Foundation’s map of its projects and outcomes.
Spreading best practices often means connecting numbers to an effective narrative, and the ability to see the stories that come out of the projects means you can see what is happening, where, and to what benefit.
Most everyone reading this has access to immediately useful directories of services - restaurants on Yelp or doctors on HealthGrades. But there’s no Yelp for critical services in resource-poor areas, and even data on funded NGO efforts can be hard to come by.
NGO Aid Map is a big step toward making poverty alleviation projects easier to find, assess, and work with.
Like Cash Atlas, NGO Aid Map publishes data from a huge coalition of aid organizations, and you can drill down into a country in order to learn about each of the programs in a given region. For example, in Uganda you can find food security initiatives aimed at assisting Sudanese refugees. For an organization working on similar issues in a different location, or for funders that want to learn more about the on-the-ground realities, this directory is a huge resource.
We’re excited to see how robust reporting platforms like Aid Reports can make the hard work of global development a tiny bit easier, and we’re excited to see how you use the data from these platforms in CartoDB and elsewhere. If you’re interested in learning more about Aid Reports, sign up for the March 17 webinar or just drop us a line.
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