Open Aid Register was launched in October last year. It’s been almost 4 months since I have been advocating for aid transparency in NGOs. I have been meeting with many people related with aid transparency to promote and let them know what Open Aid Register is and why we think it’s important NGO publish what they do.
Since then, we have three organizations that publish regularly what they do and 15 registered organizations. We are including every week new small functionalities that our organizations find useful. We are improving based on real NGO experience.
In January, new tools with the same aim have appeared. Because of this, last week Michael Roberts wrote a blog post about which tools are available for NGOs to convert their data to IATI.
Some conversations with NGO related people, instead of focusing in Open Aid Data, have turned in explaining what are the main differences between OAR to the other platforms that will be developed. I am also hearing things like “we want to be neutral”.
I think there’s a misunderstanding. All of these tools have the same aim and therefore you will always be neutral if you are with any of IATI compliant tool. Moreover, using Open Aid Register right now doesn’t mean you are marrying us for life (this is not your mortgage).
It is as simple as downloading/uploading your IATI file. Aren’t you happy with Open Aid Register? Dont worry, in 5 minutes you will have your data in the platform you want. Do you want to use OAR? Bring your IATI file and upload it from the main dashboard. That’s all you have to do. In other words, it doesn’t matter which tool you use, all are IATI compliant, and therefore interoperability works. Yet another benefit of working with Standards.
In the meantime, while we are talking and talking, we are spending a valuable time not helping NGOs publish what they do. Organizations are delaying/postponing aid data publishing because they want to see all these other tools being developed. And this is detrimental for the whole community.
We need data to improve all tools. We need organizations who start publish their information. We want raw data NOW and not tomorrow (as Tim Berners Lee said).
The reality is that after 1 year of hundreds of organizations talking and talking, only 5 NGOs have published what they are doing in the IATI Registry.
Now we need to stop talking and real acting. Organizations, please, mobilize data and we will help you publish it. You will find the whole experience simpler than you thought and in the assumption you dont like the experience you will be able to change the tool whenever you want. We need less discussion and more action. We need to learn from experience. Who wants to be the next one? :)