Author Archives: Development Initiatives

Using joined-up datasets to improve the targeting of health and nutrition funding in Nepal

A mother and infant sit with a healthworker in a classroom in Naubise, Dhading in rural Nepal. Photo © Aisha Faquir/World Bank Raj’s demand for data and information “By being able to join different datasets, we are able to see gaps emerge between different groups and geographies. Analysis of such data allows us to better target our programme for those who need it the most, and it helps us ensure that disparities between subgroups and geography are mitigated for in our programme planning.” Aggregated national figures from the past two decades show that Nepal has made significant progress towards achieving the MDGs, particularly on health indicators such as rates of maternal mortality, HIV and AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. But despite this good progress at the national level, Raj and his team are aware from their fieldwork that there are significant disparities in health and nutrition, and that some communities are being left behind in the country’s development. They want to ensure that the work of Save the Children and other organisations can affectively target these groups and ensure that Nepal’s development is inclusive for all

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Using hydrological data to reduce disaster risk and enhance community resilience in Nepal

Regional training for a community-based flood early warning system, Lalitpur, Nepal. Photo: ICIMOD, Kathmandu Rajendra’s demand for data and information “We need real-time data on flooding so we can issue early warnings to both communities at risk and disaster management authorities, so they are informed and prepared” Until 2009 the water levels of Nepal’s rivers were gauged with the help of a measuring scale installed near the river edge. To monitor water levels this system required members of local disaster management committees to regularly visit the measuring scales. This manual process was not only time consuming but prevented the quick assessment essential for identifying the risk of flooding and landslides.

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Using supply-chain data to improve the quality of public health services in Nepal

Gyan’s demand for data and information “We use data to ensure balance in stock levels so that adequate health supplies and medicines are made accessible all-round the year and in every part of the country based on the people’s need” Until relatively recently, the exchange of information between health facilities at the district level and the central level in Nepal was coordinated through a paper-based information management system. The lack of timely and reliable data on stocks of medical supplies caused problems for those making decisions on allocations and resulted in stock shortages and delays in supply. As one of these decision-makers, Gyan is responsible for allocating 206 health commodities including 70 types of medicines through a supply chain including central stores in Kathmandu and Pathalaiya, five regional medical stores and 75 district-level stores. For this he requires timely and accurate data on both current levels of stock and previous consumption patterns, so he can calculate the amounts that need to be purchased to meet the demand of the upcoming year. Recognising this need, the Department of Health set up an online logistics inventory management system to provide real-time data.

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Using data to reduce diseases, and improve healthcare, for children in Nepal

Mukunda’s demand for data and information “We need data to determine vaccination needs and to know where to allocate our resources to ensure that every child gets immunised and that we reduce the number of deaths from preventable diseases” Mukunda is responsible for the effective implementation of the government’s National Immunization Program, which works to reduce child and maternal illness and death from diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. For this, Mukunda needs to know which geographic locations experience a high incidence of disease, which diseases are prevalent, what time of year disease outbreaks usually occur, and which groups are affected by the diseases. He needs detailed data to help him identify communities at risk of disease so that he can target the government’s immunisation interventions. To monitor the impact of the interventions he needs demographic data on the target population, data on vaccine coverage, and details of vaccine wastage. He also needs this data to help him to forecast annual vaccine needs throughout Nepal and make informed decisions about the vaccines’ allocation

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The use of data by government actors in Nepal to solve development problems

The ability of national and local government actors in developing countries like Nepal to produce and use relevant, timely and disaggregated data is critical to development success and sustainability. For international actors to make a valuable contribution to revolutionising the production, sharing and use of data for development, they must be informed by the needs and experiences of these national and local government actors. Only by gaining a comprehensive understanding of people’s lived experiences can the global efforts around the data revolution improve the reality for decision makers working at the national and local level. “Accurate and complete data is required to reach every child; however, poor data has meant that many children are still vulnerable to preventable diseases” Mukunda Gautam, Chief of Immunization at the Child Health Division in Nepal’s Department of Health Services To ensure that global efforts respond to local needs in Nepal, Development Initiatives has been working to better understand the data needs, challenges and impact of those making development decisions at the local level. To build an evidence base and highlight important lessons, we have gathered personal stories of data use and developed a series of short case studies

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Using agricultural data to guide government’s food security efforts in Nepal

Santosh’s demand for data and information “We need a large variety of data for analysing the various dimensions of food security across the country and to ensure we keep poverty at bay” Nepal’s extreme climate variability, hilly terrains and prevalence of rain-fed subsistence farming mean production of food can be unstable and difficult to predict. Minimising the risks of food shortages is an important job for the government. Santosh monitors food production on a regular basis so that the government is well informed and able to take necessary decisions to ensure food security. For this, Santosh needs to monitor the four dimensions of food security: food availability, access, use and stability.

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500 organisations publishing data to the International Aid Transparency Initiative Standard

Since the UK’s Department for International Development became IATI’s first publisher in January 2011, billions of dollars of development spending has been published to the IATI Standard by a multi-stakeholder community of bilateral and multilateral donors, NGOs, foundations, private sector organisations and development finance institutions. This year IATI has seen one of its steepest rises in publishers, with an increase of one hundred in the last eight months. The boost is due in part to the Dutch Government’s requirement that organisations receiving their grants publish data to IATI. Thanks to the efforts of IATI publishers, data on thousands of development and humanitarian activities across the world are easier to access, use and understand. This information can help developing countries better plan their national priorities, as well as increase the accountability of development actors.

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We live in a world full of data. But what’s the point if none of it joins up?

If we continue to work in silos, we will never unlock the potential of data to drive real change I was recently sitting in a room with over 100 other people who passionately believe in the importance of data and ­– more specifically – the importance of the open data movement. We were contemplating the big questions – has the opening up of data in the last five years actually led to a change in people’s lives? Is open data the key to achieving the engagement and empowerment of the most vulnerable, the most marginalised and the most excluded in society? And if­ not why are we putting so much time and effort into generating more and more of it? It is absolutely true that data has immense potential to lead to positive change in people’s lives, whether that’s by improving targeting of health services, identifying risks associated with weather patterns, or understanding barriers to education.

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Focus on transparency in UK government’s development spending reviews welcomed by Development…

DFID has been a leading player in global efforts to improve transparency for many years and in these latest reviews we see an even more ambitious transparency agenda. Their ultimate vision is for “complete aid transparency so that anyone, anywhere can trace funding, all the way from the taxpayer to the beneficiary.” In the Multilateral Development Review, transparency was one of three key indicators used to assess the organisational strengths of DFID’s multilateral partners. The review concluded that “agencies are taking this more seriously, with much more data now published in an accessible way, based on the standards of IATI, a foundation that the UK helped to set up. DFID expects all its partners to meet IATI standards as a minimum.” Rupert Simons, CEO of Publish What You Fund, said “It is good to see such a strong commitment to meeting IATI standards in the Multilateral Development Review. This is key to ensuring that multilateral institutions are accountable to partner country governments, to the donor institutions like DFID that fund them, and to those who benefit from their programmes on the ground.” DFID already requires its implementing partners to publish to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and in the Bilateral Development Review

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Achieving the SDGs in the era of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda

In 2015, countries agreed the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, which highlighted the need for integrated national financing frameworks to support nationally owned sustainable development plans. This report analyses, for the first time, the key steps required for establishing integrated national financing frameworks. Ambitious agendas and diverse financing contexts Countries across the Asia-Pacific region have high ambitions across a wide-ranging, interconnected sustainable development agenda. Realising this agenda will require mobilising and effective use of a diverse portfolio of public and private, domestic and international financing. For many countries in the region, financing flows have been growing rapidly, though the mix and levels vary widely across countries

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2nd High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation

Event Monitoring effective development co-operation: what have we achieved; how can we do better?  Date Tuesday 29 November About This Global Partnership monitoring workshop will provide a dedicated time and space for participants to prepare for the political discussions taking place in HLM2 plenary sessions. It will encourage in-depth discussions on progress made and challenges encountered in promoting more effective development cooperation. Discussions will highlight success stories, encourage knowledge sharing and peer learning around innovative solutions, and identify key actions and practical next steps after HLM2 to promote more effective development cooperation. DI involvement Harpinder Collacott will moderate the transparency session at this workshop Event Transparency in development cooperation: Much done, much left to do Date Wednesday 30 November About This event will look at progress in the publication of open data on development cooperation and how this contributes to more effective and sustainable development.

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Blended finance: Understanding its potential for Agenda 2030

Blended finance, or the use of public funds to de-risk or ‘leverage’ private investments in development, has been presented by donors and development finance institutions as having the potential to provide at least part of the solution to the gap in funding for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, the discussion about blending has been based on very little evidence to date. Before scaling up investments in this area we need a much better understanding of the current role and the future potential of blended finance and the comparative advantages for ending poverty in relation to other possible uses of official development assistance (ODA), such as traditional grants and loans. In this report we analyse the available data on blended finance, beginning to build the evidence base that is needed to inform decisions on its future use. We look at what the data can tell us about the potential of blended finance for financing the SDGs and the associated risks, opportunities and possible benefits for developing countries.

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Aid donors must improve transparency before scaling up public-private finance, new report finds

The report on the use of public funds to de-risk or ‘leverage’ private investments in development also finds that, while blended finance may have a valuable role to play in helping fund the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), alone it is unlikely to mobilise the volumes that are required to make a significant impact on the large funding gap. The SDG funding shortfall is estimated to be as high as US$3.1 trillion annually, while at current annual growth rates private capital mobilised by blended finance would total US$252 billion by 2030. From the limited data that is available, the report also finds that blended finance tends not to target the countries or sectors where poverty is greatest, and so its use in delivering the SDGs – in which ending poverty by 2030 and leaving no one behind is central – must be carefully considered. Harpinder Collacott, Executive Director at Development Initiatives, said “All new financing that can be leveraged for the SDGs is vital to their success. Unfortunately, the information available about investments in blended finance is just too limited for good decision-making.

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Climate finance and poverty: Exploring the linkages between climate change and poverty evident…

Climate change is among the greatest global development challenges of the 21st century. From the global to the local scale, climate change affects and threatens economic and human development. It risks undermining efforts towards sustainable development, including progress on ending poverty, everywhere and in all its forms. The links between climate change and poverty are recognised in global processes, including the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change. But how far are these links recognised in the distribution of international public climate finance?

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