I’m a big fan of maps. They help me to work out how to get from where I am to where I want to be. They help me to find the things that I need. They help me to make arrangements to meet up with friends. They help me to make the best use of my time and to do what I want. Maps are familiar to all of us, but this map of Malawi is the first of its kind.
The key is key -– it’s a rainbow. Because when you’re mapping the projects of 27 different donor governments (like those of USAID in the US, or DFID in the UK) on the ground in Malawi, it’s easier to read if it’s color-coded. This map is unique. Not only does it provide, for the first time, a macro view of what donors are doing in Malawi, but it layers poverty and human development data on top of it –- indicated by the color gray of that area.
The combination of projects and need highlights geographic funding gaps (information which can spur or improve coordination between donors) and provides valuable information to the government and to citizens, allowing them to mobilize to fix gaps and inequalities in their country.
The map is the result of a partnership between the Government of Malawi, AidData, Texas Strauss Center’s Climate Change and African Stability (CCAPS) Program and the World Bank’s Open Aid Partnership, which builds off of the success of their Mapping for Results Initiative. Malawi is the first Open Aid pilot country. Nepal, Kenya, Tanzania, and Bolivia are anticipated to follow their lead as Open Aid pilot countries. The Open Aid Partnership is based on the premise that the combination of maps and open data can enable more transparent, inclusive and effective development assistance.
The Open Aid Partnership will provide open and free access to project locations, human development data and results at the sub-national and local level, and facilitate the translation of this data into a collaborative Open Aid Map. The Partnership will support countries’ creation of their own mapping platforms, promote tech-based citizen feedback loops, and build open data capacity and social accountability mechanisms in countries, so that the data and its use can improve the effectiveness of aid programs.
The Open Aid partnership has been endorsed by eight countries (Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, UK), along with the World Bank and the NGO alliance InterAction. The work of the Open Aid Partnership will go a long way to make information about aid resources available and accessible and to mobilize citizens to demand more effective aid programs. But the potential is even greater.
I look forward to a map that also includes information about revenues raised from natural resources, about budgets and spending and about the results of that spending. Armed with such a map, people will be able to follow the money to ensure that resources are used effectively in the fight against poverty, and to navigate successfully along their own development journeys.
ONE warmly endorses the Open Aid Partnership and looks forward to working with the World Bank and its partners to make the vision of open aid and open development, with empowered and informed citizens at the center, a reality.
Other great maps on ONE.org: