Adherence to the IATI standard will allow the sector to truly transform, work more intelligently, monitor more efficiently, and bring the reality of its impact to life, for all to see, says Peter van de Linde, founding partner of AKVO.
It’s not easy being an international development organization. There was a time when the simple act of trying to improve the lives of the poor or disenfranchised was currency enough, but over the last years the skepticism regarding development aid in many European countries has increased. Partly this is driven by the economic slump, but also the failure of the sector as a whole to clearly demonstrate the impact and results of its work
Over my seven years working as a co-founder of Akvo, I’ve seen many organizations try to go through the change needed – some of the challenges are technical, some are financial but much is about a change in mindset. And it’s really satisfying when you see a partner get through the door into this new world. Cordaid, a large Dutch development organization, is a great example of such a journey.
We have been working together with Cordaid for several years. A key goal was to make all its projects visible online – this number runs into the many hundreds. Second was to enable local partners to report directly from the field using the Internet or mobile phones. Cordaid has now set an example at scale. Using Akvo RSR and integrating its systems around it, Cordaid now has almost 500 projects online, on its public website.
The core process that has been put in place – and the result you can see on the website of Cordaid’s today – will serve multiple goals. Stakeholders (and there are many) as well as the general public can better understand and see what’s happening with money that is being spent. This builds insight and trust.
And by adhering to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) at the same time, a robust base is set that allows paperless reporting and monitoring for Cordaid key funders, such as the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This saves time and paperwork for all.
The third goal, and most important in my view, is that local partners are now able to show the good work that they do, and share progress directly from the field using the Internet or mobile phones.
I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Cordaid and our other partners to allow these local voices, successes and failures to be seen and heard publicly.
That will allow the sector to truly transform, work more intelligently, monitor more efficiently, and bring the reality of its impact to life, for all to see.
About the author
Peter is a co-founder of Akvo. Combining considerable field experience with a large contact network, he is a ‘connector’ between governmental organisations, corporates, NGOs and knowledge institutes.
Previously a programme manager at the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP), he combines technical knowledge of water management with the ability to mobilise an extensive, high level network of water and sanitation changemakers across the world.
Follow Peter on Twitter @petervdl.