New app lets public help map disasters, conflicts and outbreaks

By Lin Taylor LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) — Swiping right or tapping on a mobile phone are not typical ways of helping poor communities, but a new app launched by a medical charity on Friday aims to use technology to help aid workers map areas at risk of conflict, disasters and disease. Using the latest

“Beyond Africa”: A Glimpse into AidData’s Forthcoming Dataset on Chinese Financing in…

China’s economic growth depends on its ability to secure natural resources. Many are found in environmentally-sensitive areas, which are rich in biodiversity, vulnerable populations, and sources of freshwater – and Chinese development projects. China is using these projects as a way to secure access to the resources it needs. But,

Sex work in geographic perspective: a multi-disciplinary approach to mapping and understanding…

10.1080/17441692.2015.1123748<br/>Robert Lorway


Using machine learning to combat environmental degradation on a global scale

Leveraging machine learning algorithms to sift through terabytes of high-resolution satellite data, a new report by AidData and the World Bank has for the first time identified the factors that contribute to land degradation on a global scale.

Rating the 2016 project performance disclosure practices of 50 donors

Despite the fact that most major funders of overseas development projects are now signatories to major transparency initiatives like IATI and the Open Government Partnership, only two donors systematically publish standardized project performance ratings (see how the donors fared, below).

How better data on infrastructure projects can support private investment in emerging markets

We live in an inter-connected, data-driven world. Investors, like many other professionals, rely more and more on data to make informed decisions on where, when, and how they should invest their money. But, as I discussed in a recent blog, a number of commercial dashboards are aiming to close this gap, with information on infrastructure projects that need financing in emerging markets. These and other specialized commercial databases are trying to map the market, giving investors tools to identify investment-ready opportunities with the best chance of a sizeable return.

Country ownership and aid: Learning from partner country perceptions of the US government

A US delegation visited Protection of Civilians sites in Juba, South Sudan on May 27, 2016, meeting with camp leaders and women’s representatives. The delegation included, among others, the US Ambassador to South Sudan and the USAID Mission Director in South Sudan. Photo by UNMISS,

From Pork to Performance: Follow the Money; It’s the Tip of the Iceberg

The farmer taking her produce to market, a father seeking a better education for his children, and a family displaced by a catastrophic earthquake have more in common than you might assume at first glance. The delivery of basic public services — roads, schools, and post-disaster assistance — is one of the most important functions that governments discharge. On the surface,

Three insights into what data users demand: Are open data advocates listening?

At the recent Open Data Research Symposium and IODC16 in Madrid, participants pushed the debate beyond the supply of open data. Over a million datasets are currently in the public domain and there now exist 2600+ open government portals — an enormous number. We need to understand whether and how this data is being used,

Parceling out prosperity? Tracking and evaluating the impacts of natural resource concessions…

How concerned would you be if a third of your country’s land was granted to foreign investors? Liberia has pinned its hopes for economic development on foreign direct investment, granting somewhere between 21% and 38% of the country’s land to investors, or concessionaires, in the agriculture, forestry and mining sectors. However,

Context matters in foreign aid’s effect on violence

Editor’s Note: The following post is the fourth in our “Aid and Conflict” focus series, and was compiled by First Tranche contributor Carolyn Iwicki. It is adapted from an AidData working paper — A Spatial Analysis of the Effect of Foreign Aid in Conflict Areas, by author Stijn van Weezel — that examines the link between foreign aid and conflict at the subnational level.

Brain-Mapping Research Must Be Translated Into Tests, Treatments, WHO Says

Nature: Big brain projects urged to aid public health “Major brain-mapping projects have multiplied in recent years, as neuroscientists develop new technologies to decipher how the brain works. These initiatives focus on understanding the brain, but the World Health Organization (WHO) wants to ensure that they work to translate their early discoveries and technological advances…More

Quantifying remoteness: A scale of accessibility across Nepal

More than two weeks after a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit the country and killed nearly 9,000 people in April of 2015, the first help to reach the highest village in Makalu region was a single man. Adrian Hayes, an Australian hiker, trekked in unsupported and on foot to some of Nepal’s most remote villages,

Aid to refugee camps brings help — and harm

Editor’s Note: The following post is the third in our “Aid and Conflict” focus series, and was compiled by First Tranche contributor Carolyn Iwicki. It is adapted from an AidData working paper — Doing Harm by Doing Good? The Negative Externalities of Humanitarian Aid Provision during Civil Conflict,

Debt, deals, and dictators: How Africa’s autocrats adapt to aid requirements

Editor’s Note: The following post is the second in our “Aid and Conflict” focus series and was compiled by First Tranche contributor Carolyn Iwicki. It is adapted from an AidData working paper — Repression and Foreign Aid in Autocracies:

Aid and the intensity of violence: Can good intentions backfire?

Editor’s Note: The following post is the first in The First Tranche’s “Aid and Conflict” focus series, and was compiled by First Tranche contributor Carolyn Iwicki. It is adapted from a recent AidData working paper — Foreign Aid and the Intensity of Violent Armed Conflict by authors Daniel Strandow, Michael Findley,

Untangling the complex relationship between aid and conflict with subnational data

Outside actors frequently try to address the causes and consequences of civil conflict by offering aid to “one side” or to innocents caught in the middle. But the international community is still searching for answers to several fundamental questions: When does aid inflame conflict? When does it dampen conflict? Can aid tilt the scales in one direction or another?

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