I am proud to announce a significant step forward in our efforts to deliver development results more transparently and effectively than ever before. For the first time ever, you can visit the Foreign Assistance Dashboard and check out how our partners have spent our dollars.
Today’s unprecedented release of new financial data includes over 30 database fields and nearly 53,000 records -- all from the first three quarters of fiscal year 2013. Never before has our Agency published spending data so comprehensively and so soon after the close of the quarter.
This release is just the latest in a series of important changes we have made to advance President Obama’s unparalleled commitment to transparency and our own USAID Forward reform agenda. Under President Obama’s leadership, the United States has created foreignassistance.gov, signed onto the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and joined the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), which showcases our data in an open, timely, and internationally compatible format. The data that we are adding today will be converted to this format and reported to the IATI registry, helping the U.S. government meet the commitments that we made at the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan in November 2011.
With today’s unprecedented release of new financial data on the Foreign Assistance Dashboard, you can see timely information about what, where, how and with whom we spend our development dollars.
Our commitment to transparency has not only helped strengthen accountability and improve communication; it has also had a direct impact on the way we work every day. A few months ago, we opened up some of the data behind our Famine Early Warning Systems Network, which monitors factors like rainfall, market prices, and incomes around the world. Within weeks of making that information public, small businesses in Kenya were using the data in a new way -- empowering farmers in remote villages with the information they need to negotiate better prices for their crops.
Most importantly, we want our data to be easy to understand, use, and share. In May, President Obama signed an Executive Order making government information open and machine readable as the new default. In support of this vision, we have created apps for the iPhone and iPad so you can explore our high-quality project evaluations, Demographic Health Surveys results for more than 80 countries, and a USAID map of our programs around the world. In fact, I recently had the opportunity to show these apps to President Obama while we were traveling in Africa, and he was excited about the even greater potential we have to open our wealth of data to millions of entrepreneurs, innovators, and students around the world.
I encourage you to explore the data, download our apps, and think creatively about ways you can help us harness the power of information to end extreme poverty around the world.
To download the data set, visit www.foreignassistance.gov, which also contains extensive documentation and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Comments, questions, or suggestions can be submitted through the Contact Us form on the site.
Editor's Note: This post originally appeared on USAID's Impact Blog.