USAID is committed to the President's Open Government initiative, upholding the values of transparency, participation, and collaboration in tangible ways that benefit the American people.
Aid Transparency Country Pilot Assessment
To help inform the U.S. Government’s aid transparency agenda, USAID conducted three aid transparency country pilot studies in Zambia (May 2014), Ghana (June 2014), and Bangladesh (September 2014). The country pilots assessed the demand for and relevance of information that the U.S. Government is making available, as well as the capacity of different groups to use it. The final report summarizes findings from the three pilots and provides recommendations to help improve the transmission of foreign assistance data to ensure that the transparency efforts of the U.S. Government create development impact.
International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI)
In November 2011, the United States became a signatory to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) (IATI). IATI is a voluntary, multi-stakeholder initiative that includes donors, partner countries, and civil society organizations whose aim is to make information about foreign aid spending easier to access, use, and understand. Late in 2012, the U.S. Government published its IATI implementation schedule and first IATI-compliant data files, which included a timetable and frequency of data publication and an overview of the types of data to be published. USAID's IATI data is updated quarterly and is accessible on the Foreign Assistance Dashboard, which is the repository for all USG IATI data.
USAID plays a leading role in ensuring that the U.S. Government meets its commitments under IATI to publish up-to-date information in a common, open format that makes it easy for stakeholders to find, use and compare with other donors' information about foreign aid spending. In June 2015, USAID released a Cost Management Plan which elaborates on the necessary actions for USAID to further its IATI commitments.
Foreign Assistance Dashboard
Members of the public can search and visualize detailed, timely information about what, where, how and with whom we spend our development dollars. These financial data are available on the Foreign Assistance Dashboard (FAD) which is managed by the Department of State and is the repository for all U.S. Government data on foreign aid. Publication of these data is part of USAID's commitment to increasing our transparency and accountability and is required by the OMB Bulletin 12-01 [PDF], published in September 2012.
The first release of USAID data on the FAD in December 2010 consisted of consolidated Department of State and USAID budget and appropriation data from fiscal years 2006-2011, as available in the Congressional Budget Justification. In June 2012, USAID began publishing obligation and disbursement data by operating unit and sector starting from fiscal year 2009. In July 2013, USAID was the first U.S. Government agency to publish detailed, disaggregated data and information at the individual transaction level to the FAD as required by the OMB Bulletin 12-01 [PDF]. USAID updates this data every quarter and, is working to improve the quality and comprehensiveness of its data.
Click here to check out USAID's transaction data on the FAD.
Other Financial Reporting
Each year, USAID handles two major reports on all U.S. Government foreign assistance. The first is U.S. Overseas Loans and Grants, Obligations and Loan Authorizations, commonly known as the Greenbook. In recent years, the online version has provided a complete historical record of all foreign assistance provided by the United States to the rest of the world. USAID also reports its Official Development Assistance (ODA) (ODA) and Other Official Flows (OOF) to the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on behalf of the U.S. Government.
Program evaluation findings are shared as widely as possible, with a commitment to full and active disclosure, per the USAID Evaluation Policy. Final USAID evaluation reports are available to the public at the Development Experience Clearinghouse, USAID's online document archive available at http://dec.usaid.gov. (See also the Performance Reporting page of USAID's website for additional performance and results reporting).
The Agency's innovation in transparency also includes their expanded use of geocoding across Bureaus and Missions worldwide. USAID's website currently includes first generation geocoded maps of projects in 56 countries. In addition, in June 2012, the Agency launched its first-ever crowdsourcing initiative to pinpoint the location of USAID Development Credit Authority (DCA) loan data. Geo-visualization of these loans allows donors, host governments, and the public to see where USAID helps enhance the capacity of the private financial sector by making loans to entrepreneurs, acting as a gauge for trends or signaling areas for cooperation.
Open Data Challenge
USAID has begun to make its data open and machine readable by default, in accordance with the President's May 9, 2013, Executive Order and OMB Policy on Open Data (M-13-13). USAID's Open Data Listing contains dozens of publicly available datasets and is updated on a quarterly basis at minimum. Additional information on USAID's schedule and process for publishing its data can be found at USAID's Digital Government Strategy page. USAID welcomes innovative applications of development data by the public sector, private sector, donors, partners, and beneficiaries and has created a Developer Resources page to support these efforts. USAID has created a specific governance body to oversee its many efforts in support of open data. This body will help ensure a coordinated approach to data release and will provide overarching guidance for engaging the public, entrepreneurs, and innovators worldwide.
Country Development Cooperation Strategies (CDCS)
Transparency is also reflected in the development of the Country Development Cooperation Strategies (CDCS). Within two months of a CDCS approval, the USAID Mission prepares a public version that is posted on the Agency's web site. The public version provides the basis for dialogue with Congress, host country partners and other stakeholders in the private sector as the Mission moves forward in project design.
In keeping with President Obama's commitment to the relationship between transparency and good governance abroad as well as at home, USAID's foreign assistance programs help countries to be more open and accountable to their stakeholders.
Last updated: September 29, 2015