To understand whether aid-financed activities are generating results, it is critical to be able to trace funding flows from the origin to the ultimate beneficiary, and assess how the funds were used. For donors, partner governments, and civil society to evaluate impact they must know exactly where aid went - not just to which country, but to which region, city, or town. Precise information on the location of aid activities is also key in determining whether aid is directed to the areas of greatest need, and for avoiding duplication of effort within a country.
In most cases, this information is not readily available in an open, publicly-accessible, comparable format. Geocoding, or recording the location of aid projects at the sub-national level, allows a wide range of users to assess where aid goes and what impact it has.
AidData, in collaboration with the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) at Uppsala University in Sweden, developed a comprehensive way to geocode aid projects. By defining multiple levels of geographical precision, the rigorous yet flexible methodology enables accurate identification of the locations of all types of development projects. The methodology is also compatible with the International Aid Transparency Initiative data standard.
The original methodology, available for downloading here, was further refined in partnership with the World Bank through the Mapping for Results initiative. The methodology has also been used to geocode a subset of African Development Bank projects, and will soon be used to geocode activities in the Government of Malawi’s Aid Management Platform.
Once mapped, people can use the geocoded information to ask better questions about where aid is going and why. Geocoded aid project data can be overlaid with a variety of other geographic data, including poverty rates, environmental vulnerability, income, social statistics, infrastructure, and real-time incident reports. Geocoded data will also empower donors, countries, auditors, and ordinary citizens to easily determine if projects are being implemented in their intended locations, thereby contributing to both the transparency and the efficiency of aid.
AidData researchers have also used geocoded activity information to discuss: