Over the past few months I’ve been supporting and encouraging publishers to transition their data off CSV2IATI. In this process a number of organisations have told me that, for them, there is ‘no suitable publishing tool’. That they’re looking externally for a ‘saviour system’, a ‘magical solution’, through which they can publish to IATI.
Typically these organisations are medium to large sized IATI publishers, meaning they have around 50 – 10,000 activities. Too many to maintain within AidStream (at least not until there’s a comprehensive closed loop CSV download/upload system) and on the cusp (if not well past the point) of needing to build a bespoke system. So, what are they looking for?
In my opinion (dreaming for that magical solution), they are looking for a tool that:
- Is designed for large quantities of data, >5000 activities
- This means there needs to be a level of automation when it comes to publishing.
- Entering 50+ activities by hand is too many, let alone 1000+
- Works with CSV upload
- If possible be able to link to internal project/finance management systems
- Plus the ability to amend the CSV template to fit organisational structure
- And have the option of downloading the data in CSV format
- Has a public user website
- Is open source
- Is free to use
- Or at least be low cost
- With a sustainable funding model going forwards
- Requires only a little knowledge of the IATI schema
- And not much tech knowledge to set up and use
- Is able to segment files
- Can create both activity and organisational files
- Supports the most current version of the IATI standard
- And supports multiple versions going forward as the standard gets upgraded
- Has an in-built validation function
- Links to the IATI Registry for automatic publication
- Has online guidance and 1:1 support
The tools on the market, AidStream, Akvo RSR, SQL to XML and CSV2IATI don’t meet all of these criteria. Neither do the upcoming tools of CoVE and IATI Studio Publisher. They all have their benefits and they all have room for improvement.
A few months ago, if you pulled off a list of medium – large organisations using CSV2IATI from the IATI Registry you would have found:
- Japan – Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
- Finland – Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- UK – Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)
- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
- Practical Action
- OPEN Fund for International Development (OFID)
- Ireland – Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (Irish Aid)
- International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
- CDC Group plc
- Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)
- World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) UK
- International Climate Initiative / BMUB Programmbuero IKI
- United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)
- World Vision International (WVI)
- Indigo Trust
- ActionAid International
- Norwegian Refugee Council
- Global Partnership for Education
- ICS – International Christian Aid Fund
These organisation, plus all the new and potential (medium to large) organisations, need a way of publishing. A number are involved with testing new tools, using an existing tool inappropriately or investing in an internal system. Right now there is a gap in the market. There is a need for better tools. There are organisations willing to invest and try out.
Can we work together to solve this? Pool resources and knowledge so that a sustainable tool can be developed that meets market need?