ResRap 3, 2, 1, Go!

Two weeks ago the #resrap 2009-2010 project kicked off at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs: the biannual reporting of results of Dutch international development aid. It’s the second time the Ministry works together with civil society (this time at a more ambitious level through Partos 1) to report on our joint Dutch contributions to the Millennium Development Goals as completely as possible.

Earlier, I used the 6-minute film A Case For Open Data In Transit” to illustrate my drive as member of the #resrap web advisory group, to not just collect data for analysis, but also make it available as raw data. Using the approach presented by Joshua Robin at the Gov 2.0 Expo 2010, last May: Focus on 3-2-1.

The current focus in the plan is to collect raw data, and then

  1. Let various groups analyse the data and write chapters on each of the Millennium Development Goals.

  2. Publish those as a book and a website by September 2011, and

  3. Then to have a look at how to further make things available in a joint website, perhaps enabling others to download the data in raw form.

But why let the still mostly untapped reservoir of positively motivated talents and expertise (data analists, programmers, journalists, and so on) wait a year? They can come into action right now!

  1. Make the raw data available while collecting it. The tedious task for the ICT and Monitoring&Evaluation employees to provide data dumps turns into an engaging conversation on what is needed to make the data available publicly, in real-time, and what then can be done. Let’s start our own sector-wide /Open campaign!

  1. More people can help debunk myths, find new angles to present what we do, compare between countries, create benchmarks on topics, provide new services to organisations or companies.

  1. And we will have more tools, presentations, engagement, and insights available by the time the ResRap is ready.

To quote Tim O’Reilly once more: governments should be a platform, not a service. “Do the least possible, not the most possible, to enable others to build on what you do.”

We are already quite a bit on the way, so it’s not a radically different approach, just a radically different output.

  • Data on outputs and financial inputs of projects is relatively easy to get (of course, still with plenty of problems to solve). It will help to compare what is available and try to build mash-ups, to feed the discussion towards joint standards.

  • Data on outcomes is harder to aggregate, and requires a priori agreements between parties on how projects will be evaluated.

    • Within the Ministry, there are discussions on how to establish indicators that might be required from grantees under the Dutch MFS2 Programme 2.

    • Also, several people involved in the field of Monitoring & Evaluation formed an informal network to discuss “M&E 2.0” and how to create new ways of reporting results in a peer-to-peer and low-treshold manner.

Let’s go!

Next Thursday at PartosPlaza, transparency and open data are hot topics. There will be a workshop with the “M&E 2.0” people, and one with our ISHub friends and fans. And Tony German of AidInfo will explain why the International Aid Transparency Initiative is relevant for private aid organisations. Then in November, Dutch open data fans will go to the Open Government Data Camp in London. Plenty of opportunities to make progress on this topic!


1 “Partos is the national platform for Dutch civil society organisations in the international development cooperation sector”

2 In November, the Ministry will announce the budgets allocated to around 30 coalitions of organisations for the period 2011-2015, in total up to around 450 million Euro per year.

Posted in Aid Transparency, News, Open data and tagged .

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