Last September, we featured a map of Malawi that was the result of a project between AidData and the Climate Change and African Political Stability program. The map was special because it was the first time that anyone had a good picture of the aid projects, all 750 of them, happening in Malawi.
Well, AidData didn’t stop there. With funding from USAID in partnership with Development Gateway, William & Mary University, Brigham Young University, the University of Texas at Austin and Esri, AidData and its Center for Development Policy will create 15 more maps for countries like Nepal, Senegal, Haiti, Timor and Uganda.
“(The Center will) fundamentally change the way that foreign assistance is targeted, coordinated, monitored and evaluated,” said Brad Parks, AidData’s co-executive director at William & Mary. “The Center will build a global network of geographers, economists, political scientists, computer scientists and statisticians who are committed to helping USAID and other development agencies reduce the cost and increase the impact of their aid programs.”
The project will geocode, or identify the location of, current aid projects by producing a map very similar to the Malawi map. In addition, AidData will present governments with their raw data and integrate geocoding into the country’s aid information management system, ensuring that the maps will be kept up-to-date and remain useful
While this project for these 15 countries is still in development, AidData has some new maps of Ethiopia ready. The two maps below illustrate aid projects, ethnic exclusion, conflict and poverty. Looking at them side-by-side, you can start to understand the difficulty of managing projects in countries with geographic variation and ethnic and socioeconomic differences. You can see how areas of conflict often coincide with volatile borders, and how aid is concentrated in certain regions.
We are excited to see AidData engage with developing countries – giving them context and data about their international aid projects – but we are especially thrilled to see the organization helping these countries build systems that will ensure these maps are a valuable tool for helping development programs reach more people with better services.