Our vision: We envisage a world where aid and development information is transparent, available and used for effective and inclusive decision-making, public accountability and lasting change for all citizens.
Our mission: To promote aid and development finance information that is transparent, available and usable.
Our strategic pillars:
1) Engaging with data: Collaborating to ensure that actors engage around development data and that this data is used to contribute to improved outcomes and achievement of local, national and global development goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Goal: By the end of 2024, aid and development data will have been used in a number of settings and countries where we have encouraged publishers to engage with data users, especially local actors, to support greater accountability and more informed and inclusive decision-making for better development outcomes and achieving the SDGs.
2) Full transparency: Making all aid and development finance data transparent, available and usable.
Goal: By the end of 2024, beyond traditional bilateral aid and humanitarian spending, we will have worked with and encouraged donors in at least three new areas/aid and development funding vehicles to make their aid and development information more transparent.
3) More quality data: Strengthening and extending our research, advocacy and technical expertise to improve the quality and usability of aid and development finance information.
Goal: By the end of 2024, we will have measurably driven improvements in the quality and usability of aid and development information provided by donors and other financing vehicles.
Since our establishment in 2008, Publish What You Fund has successfully driven increased transparency among aid donors and development agencies. As a small evidenced-based advocacy non-governmental organisation, we have been able to effectively influence some of the largest aid donors in the world to ‘publish more and publish better’.
We have used the Aid Transparency Index – our public comparative ranking of donor agencies – to galvanise major donors to progressively increase and improve the aid and development information they make available. By 2020 over half of the 47 assessed organisations were ranked as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ in the Index. By comparison, only one organisation published to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) at the time of our first Index in 2011.
Our approach is underpinned by:
An evidenced-based advocacy strategy that has built constructive relationships with donors and other stakeholders to continue to push for quality and accessible aid and development information.
Robust research, which is open to public scrutiny.
A collaborative approach, with a strong and growing range of networks and partnerships at international and national level.
Technical expertise and detailed understanding of aid and development data platforms and standards.
Since the publication of our 2018 strategy, we have continued to widen our project portfolio. We have expanded our focus on aid agencies to examine the transparency of development finance institutions (DFIs); we have researched the data needs of local and national humanitarian actors in Iraq and Bangladesh; we have analysed the gender financing flows in Guatemala, Kenya and Nepal and used our findings to help gender equality funders to increase their transparency and we have initiated work to understand and improve the transparency of funding for women’s economic empowerment.
These recent projects have informed our understanding of the needs of those producing and using aid and development data. They have also caused us to redefine the way we think about transparency. As an organisation, we are starting to move towards a definition of transparency which includes not just publication but engagement and accountability. This encompasses the building of transparent relationships between data publishers and stakeholders, consultation, participation and inclusive decision-making. This will inform our work and our aims over the coming years.
At Publish What You Fund, we have also reflected on our own position and power as the aid sector has grappled with unequal power dynamics and the decolonisation of aid has entered mainstream discourse. We recognise that we function in a sector where decisions, control and resources are held by a small number of donors and international non-governmental organisations (INGOs). As such, our presence, the way in which we legitimise our work and represent the perspectives of other actors needs careful consideration to ensure that we fight the right battles, do so in a way that addresses root causes, and support and invest in networks of actors in the places where these issues are most salient.