How USAID has built open data into its mission


How USAID built open data into its mission

What: “Leveraging Data Through Partnerships” a report by the CIO Council’s Innovation Committee about open data efforts at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Why: Establishing an open data policy has helped USAID build a better relationship with its partners as well as use the data it receives to help people in different countries tackle significant issues. This CIO Council case study looks the concrete steps USAID has taken to ensure that open data is built into its operations, not treated as an afterthought.

Findings: Some of the key elements of USAID’s open data policy include creating data stewards in every operating unit, defining a standard data clearance process and establishing the Development Data Library, a web-based repository where USAID staff and partners can upload datasets for public release. The DDL contains information on programs, performance, evaluations, research and finances.

USAID’s partners are required to share program data, and open data is now a deliverable written into agency grants and awards.

The case study also notes the dividends of this investment.  USAID has used open data to help disaster response teams find open roads to get to people after an earthquake in Nepal, bring water management to North Africa and the Middle East, organize the first Latin America and Caribbean hackathon and improve farming trends and crop growth to bring more food to people in Kenya.

Takeaway: Without sharing data with its partners, USAID would struggle to complete its mission. The agency has altered its basic operations in order to better gather and share the data about its aid efforts, while at the same time ensuring privacy and security.

Get more: Read the full report here.

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.


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