Truly sustainable development can only be achieved if citizens have the knowledge and voice to shape priorities, air grievances and hold governments to account. As we approach a new set of development goals post-2015, civil society organisations across the world are identifying how best to support new information technologies and innovative forms of citizen reporting, enabling them to monitor progress and to hold governments to account for the promises they make.
CIVICUS, Open Knowledge Foundation’s School of Data and the engine room recently hosted a data expedition (an event to tackle a problem, answer a question or work on a project) on citizen-generated corruption data. The event brought together a wide variety of civil society actors and IT experts for a hands-on exercise in working with different datasets from NGOs and governments. The aim was to delve into the data in order to understand the challenges and opportunities of comparability between existing forms of citizen monitoring mechanisms. Participants also shared their challenges, experiences and tools for gathering, merging and analysing open data.
Some interesting observations resulted from the expedition:
- Knowing the story you are trying to tell will greatly help determine what data you want.
- Policy makers are crucial for establishing common data standards and donors should impose existing standards (such as the International Aid Transparency Initiative) on their fund recipients so that aid data from different countries can be better aggregated.
- A serious need for more citizen feedback was identified. This data is crucial for monitoring impact and success of development projects.
Integrity Action shared innovative tools for gathering verifiable citizen feedback and also for accurately tracking funding flows in compliance with international standards at the workshop:
GrantCheck is an online resource that gives donors, grantees and citizens full insight into funding flows and where their money goes. It gives grantees visibility and helps them meet high standards of transparency and accountability by providing useful mapping and reporting. GrantCheck is an effort to generate the full picture of funding flows and verify this data by engaging donors and their recipients to check and verify its accuracy. Follow the money with us!
DevelopmentCheck is an online tool for citizen feedback on development projects. Community monitors collect data on the transparency, participation and effectiveness of development projects and share their findings. The tool is available as a mobile app allowing real-time citizen feedback. Check out how projects across sectors in Africa, Asia and the Middle East are doing!
Integrity Action’s vision is to link these tools in order to provide a full picture of funding from the source to citizen feedback so that ultimately citizens get access to better services.
Join the conversation! Tell us:
- How do you engage and incentivise citizens to provide feedback?
- How do you verify the accuracy of the data you use?
- Do you have a story you want to tell but lack the data to do so?
We would love to hear your answers: [email protected]