Are there any examples of recipient country-focused dashboards using IATI data allowing users to see and explore who the top donors are to the country, what projects and sectors they support, and any other details available from IATI?

Comments (8)

Jet
Wow this is pretty awesome. Thanks for sharing. Looks like it's a relatively new feature of Foreign Aid Explorer since I haven't seen it before. I like that they at least include some technical notes and have also allowed for the underlying data to be downloaded. The technical notes mention that this "Beyond USG" section is not automatically updated. Curious to know if this is because IATI does not allow/does not have enough features (API calls?) for this to be automated yet?
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  • Andie Vaughn
    I'm happy to hear you like the tool! We aimed to update data quarterly, but needed to process the data prior to loading it into the tool because we pulled it directly from the registry. The processing didn't change any data, but updated things like currencies to US dollars and validated the data so that we could load it. With the validator and datastore, we now are in the process of updating the publication process. By January, we hope to use the datastore and then we aim to have weekly updates. We're happy to chat more specifically on this process if needed!
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  • Jet

    Thanks for sharing [~515]! Our interest in this was to build a dashboard focused on our country (Philippines) and use it for advocacy/research/etc by local civil society. We had explored the technical feasibility of doing this before the Datastore was updated, which included "deep dives" (to the best of our ability) on the quality and availability of data from relevant donors. It was a very tedious and manual process but useful in the end to understand the data better (who's uploading, how often, what's the quality of their reports, how different are the reports and what are the issues in aggregating and analyzing them across different categories).

    If you don't mind some questions:
    1) With this ongoing initiative by USAID, does it still make sense to pursue our own dashboard?
    2) If yes, would you be willing to share technical notes or lessons you've learned so far on implementing this? Or does [~2] have resources for data users?

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  • Andie Vaughn

    Thanks! On your first question, I think it very much depends on what questions you are specifically trying to answer. USAID made this resource to be a high level overview of the development landscape in a specific country. If you're looking for deep dives into the quality of information or deep dives into activities, this may not be the best resource. As our team has messaged to USAID staff, this tool is meant to be a starting point for review and hopefully a conversation starter. Let us know if you have any specific questions.

    On your second question, our developer noted that: "the biggest lesson learned is that automating that kind of data extraction/use is 1, very possible and 2, takes a lot of trial and error. Although the IATI Standard enforces a great deal of consistency across different publishers and data sets, there's a lot of messy data and edge cases out there too. Examples include:
    Newline (\n) and carriage return (\r) characters sprinkled throughout text that can mess up parsing, database ingestion, and display
    HTML and CSS in text fields
    Text fields that contain paragraph after paragraph of text, violating many database length limits
    Unexpected null or undefined fields
    Incorrect language codes (code says English for Korean characters)"

    I'd recommend reaching out to the Secretariat directly for resources for data users. Resources exist and they can point you the right direction based on specifically what question you're trying to ensure is answered by using the data.

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