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Showing IATI progress in The Netherlands

on June 11th, 2013 at 11:45:17 AM

On the 6th of June we had an Open Tea at Oxfam Novib in The Hague.

This Open tea is the first of a more regular series Open Teas, scheduled to be every two months.

This was the first time we used MeetUp to organize the Open Tea; which resulted in a great group; a combination of the usual suspects and people that had never heard of Open for Change before but interested in Open Development.

Jasper Middendorp from Partos talked about the Open Data program (Dutch) of Partos, aimed to educate Partos members about Open Data and IATI, and help them publish their data in the IATI standard. Jasper noted that security and administrative burden are main reasons why people are hesitant to start work on publishing data.

Jessica Teunissen spoke about Oxfam Novibs’ Open Data approach, and gave us a sneak peek of the pilot version of their new project browser. Oxfam Novib visualizes their own open data set in Atlas, an interactive project browser in the form of a world map. At first this tool is for sharing within the Oxfam network, but Oxfam Novib is working on a public version of Atlas too.

This browser is built to load in files in IATI XML format, which they will hopefully publish open by the end of 2013.

Sneak peek of Oxfam’s Altas pilot version

This case shows that IATI is not only useful for external, but is also very valuable for internal communication. Oxfam’s current project database is very heavy to load, and many regional offices don’t have a strong enough Internet connection to load it, so couldn’t see what was happening in the rest of the organization. So internally this is a big step forward. Also by building their system on the bases of the IATI format, they will be able to load in other data published in IATI in their project browser, for example the IATI file of Oxfam GB. Then IATI becomes a format to combine all information of all Oxfam organizations across the whole network.

Jessica noted that getting the data IATI compliant is the easy step. The real challenge is organizational culture.

Rolf Kleef reflected on this in his blog about this part of the Open Tea:

“Field staff realize that any information they enter into the system, becomes available to lots of people, sometimes almost real-time. This epiphany of what “open” is can lead to anxiety, often in the management of organizations. “Going open” also leads to a greater sense of ownership and responsibility with the people entering the data.

Instead of a black box with a communications department and sign-off procedures that mysteriously “translate” your story into something different, you get a channel to communicate directly, instantly. It’s actually what you can show your colleagues and friends: share what you’re doing. It’s what many staff members already do with other parts of their lives, on social media like Twitter and Facebook.”

Last but not least we had Marianne Gybels from AmLab telling us about AmLab is a collaboration of three organizations: 1%CLUB, Akvo and Text to Change, who started as a bid to a tender by the Gates foundation, and as a way to see how the different tools of their organizations could work together. They won the tender, and got $100.000 from Gates to ‘Show how aid is working’.

They developed a pilot version of, focusing on Maternal Health in Uganda. You can dive trough different levels of data; Bottom – Up and Top – Down. You can browse from World Bank indicator data at World Level all the way down to personal bio’s and videos at Person Level and back up again. Along the way you’ll find country statistics, graphs on knowledge about maternal health, projects in districts and villages, and benchmarks about health clinics, where survey data bout the clinics is visualized and can be compared.

GoThree60 trailer:

After these inspiring talks we had drinks, which gave us the time to catch up, and get to know people new to the Open for Change network. Interested? Why not come along to our next Open Drinks: Friday July 5th, 16-18 at Amlab. Join our MeetUp group.

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