We’re now just a few days away from going live with Openaid.nl, the new web interface that will allow people to explore the Dutch government’s international aid portfolio in a much more dynamic way.

It’s the latest step in our work to support the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs implementation of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standard.

Akvo has steered the project, following a successful pilot early this year to bring some of the Ministry’s aid data-sets online. The openaid.nl platform has been designed and engineered by Siem and Tristan Vaessen from Zimmerman & Zimmerman in close cooperation with Akvo’s Mark Westra and Peter van der Linde. On Wednesday I interviewed Siem and Tristan about the project.


For the IATI / development geeks, there’s also a quick deep-dive geek overview by Siem on what they’ve done at a technical level here.

It’s the culmination of a great year helping open up Dutch aid data, and the beginning of a process that eventually will see an IATI-compliant Akvo RSR system, with the ability for everyone involved to see and contribute context on top of the core IATI information, including photos and video. Our partners will also be able to enter project data directly into Akvo RSR, which can then be output in an IATI-compliant format.

Here are some milestones in Akvo’s work on IATI this year:

9th February 2011 – Overview of Dutch aid situation – “The fog clears to reveal a new generation of aid”. (by Peter van der Linde)

4th April 2011 – Akvo’s Thomas Bjelkeman-Pettersson participates in panel discussion at the launch of Sweden’s aid transparency website, Openaid.se. Read more here. (by Thomas Bjelkeman on the Open for Change blog)

2nd May 2011 – IATI makes it into the Akvo RSR development roadmap.

12th May 2011 – Akvo presents its IATI pilot project with DGIS, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the Open Data Development Camp in Amsterdam. Read the blog here. (by Peter van der Linde)

13th May 2011 – Overview of our Spring 2011 transparency pilot for Dutch Foreign Affairs. Read the blog here. (by Mark Tiele Westra)

9th August 2011
– Akvo attends IATI workshop in London, hosted by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

13th September 2011 – Dutch government publishes development data. Stresses its commitment to IATI and encourages initiatives that will help to visualise the data. Highlights Akvo. Akvo commits to launch Openaid.nl by Busan. Akvo’s Mark Westra gets on TV (again). Read the blog here. (by Peter van der Linde)

15th November 2011 – Aid Transparency Index 2011 is published. The Netherlands ranks 4th overall, praised in particular for recent major improvements in the amount of information available. Read more here. (by Publish What You Fund)

29th November 2011 – Openaid.nl to go live. Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness opens in Busan, Korea.

IATI is about shifting from hierarchical control of data to something much more open and networked, and it’s been driven by a network, too. I’m grateful to all the people we’ve met over time who helped us navigate along the IATI path.

Mark Charmer is a co-founder of Akvo.