16 December 2010

Tracking That US Foreign Aid Money

Raj Shah mentioned the transparency tool coming out for USAID when he was at the UN Week Digital Media Lounge. I was quite skeptical (still am a bit), but ForeignAssistance.gov is now up and running.
The Foreign Assistance Dashboard was created in response to the principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and President Obama’s Open Government Initiative. The goal of the Foreign Assistance Dashboard is to enable a wide variety of stakeholders, including U.S. citizens, civil society organizations, the Congress, U.S. Government (USG) agencies, donors, and partner country governments, to examine, research, and track USG foreign assistance investments in an accessible and easy-to-understand format.
The matrix of information shows that there is still a lot of information yet to be published, but I find it to be encouraging that they are following through with the idea.  By sharing the matrix, they have shown what they intend to accomplish and how much information has yet to be added to the site.

U.S. Agency for International DevelopmentXX
Department of StateXX
Department of Labor
Department of Defense
Department of the Treasury
Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)
Department of Agriculture
Export-Import Bank of the U.S.
Peace Corps

Clicking around, it seems pretty easy to use. Hopefully the above matrix will be completed in a timely manner and the data will continue to be as accessible as the promising release looks.

Hopefully, this will not play into plans by some members of congress to cut the budget....