Schwegmann: Key Factors to Aid Effectiveness

    Afghan men carry boxes of humanitarian aid. Aid transparency and civil society vigilance are crucial to boost aid effectiveness, according to Claudia Schwegmann. Photo by: Jennifer Cohen / isafmedia / CC BY 2.0 isafmediaCC BY 2.0

    Aid transparency and civil society vigilance are crucial to boost aid effectiveness, according to Claudia Schwegmann.

    In her blog at the Atlantic Community, the founder of OpenAid and member of the technical advisory group of International Aid Transparency Initiative, or IATI,  notes four major points to highlight advocacy and transparency as levers for effective aid management: 

    Provision of data: The author mentions the potential benefits of the IATI program that will begin in the last quarter of 2010. However, she notes that development practitioners, who should inform the public and lobby for aid transparency, know very little information about it and its relevance to them.

    Dissemination of relevant information: This involves forging development cooperation to work closely on issues such as data retrieval, open data formats, visualization, civic engagement, government accountability, and the like. 

    Use of information: Schwegmann notes that for people to benefit from information, they need to be informed that the information is relevant to them or, in some ways, affect their lives such as the local provision of health care services. 

    Response: A study shows that donors are interested to hear feedback from citizens, but tight and results-focused management planning usually overcomes such feedback. Schwegmann argues that civil society organizations “need to gain in political strength through capacity building where needed and through much more cooperation among NGOs and other stakeholders.”

    Schwegmann adds: “Transparency of aid information is a mighty tool in this process, but transparency alone will not do the job.”

    About the author

    • Chiden Balmes

      Chiden, a correspondent based in Seoul, focuses on computer-assisted reporting to provide international development professionals with practical business and career information. He also contributes to the Development Newswire and the Global Development Briefing, two of the world's highest-circulation development publications.