Using IATI for COVID in Palestine

Hi, I was going to keep a log of how we were using IATI data for COVID in Palestine as a feed into the guidance on COVID for data users discussed on the webinar.

So far (10th April) d-portal shows us 5 activities with thanks to Oxfam and DFID for being so fast - that is the first lesson, coordination decisions about what to fund are being taken on a weekly basis so for COVID, if IATI data is going to be any use, we need weekly (if not daily publishing).

The second feedback is that we currently have to do multiple searches e.g.:

  1. On d-portal for "COVID" (which also captures COVID-19)
  2. on d-portal for 'Coronavirus" (none yet but seen in other countries, and globlaly) and then
  3. A techie (is this available via the interface?) version of d-portal for the GLIDE code:
  4. An even more comprehensive search on the new datastore but that I don’t think can be done via the user interface - and weirdly the datastore only has 2 projects where d-portal has 5?

Once all those searches have been done, we have to combine all the different results, remove all the duplication/double counting, and then add it to all the data from non-IATI publishers.

  1. A search on the FTS database.…which has many activities which are not in d-portal
  2. An excel based tracking sheet sent out to country offices of partners

As of 10th April, D-portal has 5 activities when searching for COVID, 4 activities when searching by GLIDE code, the new Datastore has 2 activities, the FTS has 46 activities (many are global) and our in-country dataset has well over 100 projects - from both IATI and non-IATI publishers.

So far we have found:
A) IATI is helpful for us to find actors who are delivering outside of the formal plans/working groups
B) IATI is not rapid enough (except for Oxfam), and not consistent across the different IATI portals, or e.g. compared to the FTS (I really wish they would restart publishing FTS data in IATI format)
C) On a single activity basis IATI can tell us how much money is flowing, but not across multiple publishers - due to the difficulty in working out which activities are the same project just from different publishers
D) No activity titles are in Arabic etc - so we have to translate them for our colleagues in all the Ministries.
E) We see how using different options helps publishers - but unless there is a way to search all the different options in one search query (and through the interface non-techies can access) then the different ways of reporting make a huge mess for us and make it probably not worth the effort.

I will try to keep this up to date as the situation progresses - hopefully with just a few tweaks this can be improved substantially.


Small update:

  1. Now up to 8 activities on IATI (6 Oxfam, one WB, one DFID) - thanks to those publishers
  2. However, this compares to over 123 projects provided by donor country offices via Excel sheets, the majority of which are from existing IATI publishers

At this stage, our major issue is therefore that the vast majority of IATI publishing is not frequent enough to allow us to use the data in the weekly decision making meetings.


@matmaxgeds I think it would be incredibly useful for you to write this all up into a blog. We’ve got a little bit better since Haiyan and Kathmandu - but not much. It would also be useful to know from the Humanitarian Data Centre and FTS folks how timely their data flows are.

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Agreed / will do, hoping it can also feed into the upcoming IATI guidance for users of COVID data to complement the publishers one that is already out

The GLIDE is fairly new, so it will take a while to worm its way into information systems, but I’m hoping it will start showing up in some relevant activities here soon:

Thanks @David_Megginson - the csv has columns for (name, versionCode, currentRequestedFunds, objective, partners, startDate, endDate, globalClusters, organizations, plans, Response plan code) which one will the glide code turn up in…and which list of glide codes will it come from?

Good catch, @matmaxgeds. You’re right that the GLIDE is not in either the simplified CSV or the full JSON from, because the information’s organised differently than IATI data (IATI is activity-centric, while OCHA’s data is plan-centric).

Every Project is attached to a Response Plan, and every Response Plan is associated with one or more Emergencies. You’d have to go to the Response Plan to find the GLIDE(s) for the Emergency/ies.

There is a new Global COVID-19 Humanitarian Response Plan (PDF), and (presumably) most COVID-19 projects will eventually be associated with it; right now, however, there are none registered in yet.

I’ll keep an eye on it, and see if we can get permission to include the COVID-19 projects (from all countries) as a new dataset on HDX once there are some registered in

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Historical aside: in IATI, we knew about this different approach on the humanitarian side as early as March 2010, when we did the first IATI pilot with OCHA-FTS for the Haiti earthquake, but the decision then was to stick with an activity-centric approach because it was more compatible with OECD’s CRS, and also because plans don’t generally apply in the dev-aid world (though MDGs/SDGs have some similarities).

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I wonder if this should be a topic for discussion at the IATI community meeting (sorry I don’t recall what the new name is for the combined MA & TAG) held this fall (assuming we have it in person). Max’s point about having a way to search for non-technical folks that covers all the publishing options is so key. As someone with no inhouse technical support, I’m dead in the water with targeted extraction of useful data. I wonder if the DUTF can think about “tools” that accompany guidance when we have specialized/best practices guidance issued. Again, just riffing here but perhaps a topic for a future meeting when we aren’t all running a mile a minute with COVID.

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