Thursday, March 17, 2011

U.S. Foreign Assistance Dashboard

At the end of 2010, the U.S. government launched a website that helps examine, search, and track U.S. foreign aid investments across countries and sectors.

The “Foreign Assistance Dashboard" (click here) allows various development stakeholders explore and visualize data on U.S. foreign aid programs. The website allows for comparison of investments across aid-recipient nations, sectors, U.S. aid initiatives and year of investments. The Dashboard has already posted the OCO funding request of the State Department and USAID for fiscal 2012, as well as the U.S. government’s total OCO costs.

In an effort to provide more transparency, the online aid tool has been updated, and it now features explanations for overseas contingency operations.

According to State officials, future versions of the website will cover budget, financial and program data from all U.S. government agencies implementing foreign assistance. The dashboard currently includes the budget and appropriations data of the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development.

Aid-related investments of the Department of Defense, Peace Corps, Millennium Challenge Corp., Department of Agriculture, Department of Treasury, Department of Labor and Export-Import Bank of the U.S. are eyed to be included in the new platform.

The State Department is welcoming feedback from the aid community on the new website. Comments can be submitted via the “Contact Us” section.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

1st Quarter Update

This is an update on committee progress prior to the ISPI conference next month.  It has been a relatively quiet since the new year, but there has been movement in several areas:

Research -  This effort is off to a good start with Jessica Morse (an intern through George Washington University under the direction of Ryan Watkins) having created a reporting template.  She has started analysis of publicly available reports.  Ryan has indicated that another grant has been submitted for two more interns.  If successful, this will allow for another graduate student to analyze reports and one to work on constructing a search-able online database.

Journal Issue -  It has been suggested that the IDEAS committee work with the Performance Improvement Journal editor to organize an issue focused directly on international development successes and challenges.   If approved, this would likely include 6 – 8 articles drawn from both committee members and other interested authors.  Lead time is close to a year on this (publication next Spring).  To move forward we need to have a “guest editor” to manage the process and also insure that we have interested authors to write up the paper.  PLEASE CONTACT ME IF YOU HAVE AN INTEREST TO TAKE ON THE ROLE OF EDITOR FOR THIS or would like to submit a paper.

Orlando Conference Meeting -  For those of you coming to the ISPI conference in Orlando, I think it will be useful to find a time to meet during the event.  Make I ask you to please RSVP back to me if you will be at the conference – if no RSVP I will assume you will not be there.  Meanwhile, I will take a look at the schedule and try to find a time/place for an hour meeting.  

Chairperson Transition -  After 2 years leading the task force and committee start-up, I am handing the Chair over to Jim Ellsworth (with Board approval) to take on the 2011-2012 cycle.  Jim is looking for a deputy to help move things forward.  Please contact us if you have a potential interest in this role that could lead to the Chair position in the future.

In summary, I request three actions in response to this update:
Please indicate whether you would have an interest either to be an editor or contribute an article for a PIJ special issue.
*  Please contact Jim or me if you would like to move into the role of the Deputy Chair.
*  Please RSVP to me if you are attending the Orlando conference.

All the best to everyone.  Thanks for the wonderful support the past year as we have gotten this off the ground.  Mari