Synergy Provides Capacity Building IDM Knowledge Builder Course

Synergy just completed another round of Intelligent Data Manager (IDM) Knowledge builder training for the purpose of building local capacity to manage the Development Assistance Database (DAD). This latest training took place in Sri Lanka, where selected managers and database administrators were provided with a week long intensive training session on how to implement IDM’s unique Knowledge Builder tool.

This tool was designed to help rapidly execute the creation or modification of IDM based databases such as the DAD, and allows government personnel to affect changes within the database that would otherwise require the involvement of Synergy or an outside consultant. Synergy has also provided training in Pakistan (March 2007), Maldives (August 2007), India (October 2007), Indonesia (December 2007), and on more than one occasion for the government of Iraq. This in-depth technical training is dedicated to building capacity within local DAD teams and ensuring DAD’s sustainability in the long run. When ownership of the DAD application is transferred to the government of the recipient country, it is essential to make sure that the local team will be able to support the application without Synergy’s involvement.

This tool allows the Government to reduce maintenance costs and sustain a solution that evolves with the changing needs of the government. The goal of this training is to produce a local team that is able to perform all required maintenance activities on a daily basis as well as modify the existing application’s data structure, introduce new groupings, columns and filters in reports and enhance on-line and off-line Data Entries. For countries with an IDM Portal this also includes training on the Portal Administration module, allowing the local web master to maintain the country’s DAD Portal. Synergy will continue to offer IDM Knowledge Builder training to customers around the world to equip them to fully manage the operations of their Synergy solutions.

DAD Launched in Kurdistan

Synergy International Systems participated in a four-day workshop in Erbil from 3-7 February 2008 together with UNDP Iraq, the Ministry of Planning of the Kurdistan Regional government, representatives from line ministries, and key stakeholders in the donor community to formally launch the Development Assistance Database (DAD) in Kurdistan. As part of the workshop agenda, end users of the system in Kurdistan were also trained on the main tools and functions of the DAD, including data analysis and reporting, data entry, administration, and other key modules. Furthermore, Synergy carried out a detailed needs assessment in close collaboration with stakeholders in the Government for a Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) module, which is planned to be implemented later in 2008.

Synergy International Systems has been supporting the Government of Iraq in the field of aid management and coordination since 2005 with the implementation of the Development Assistance Database (DAD). Over time, this project has expanded into integrating capital investment projects funded by the national budget into DAD, tracking international assistance projects financed through loan modalities, as well as the implementation of an application to track donor’s pledges, as well as represent donors’ contributions channeled through IRFFI trust funds.

Furthermore, as this project includes components of assistance to regions aiming at strengthening decentralized aid and budget coordination, and establishing appropriate linkages between Federal and Regional Governments and Provincial Councils, to better track, plan, prioritize and analyze development projects financed by the donor community and the national budget. To this end, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed jointly by the Minister of Planning of the Kurdistan Regional government, H.E. Mr. Othman Shwani, and UNDP-Iraq Director, Mr. Paolo Lembo to extend UNDP’s assistance to Northern Iraq by implementing a Regional version of the DAD for Kurdistan.

Papua New Guinea Launches DAD and Government Website

On 19 January 2008, Development Assistance Database (DAD) for Papua New Guinea and the website of the Department of National Planning and Monitoring , the government ministry in charge of the country’s development policy, were launched during an official ceremony at DNPM in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Senior government officials and the heads of donor agencies attended the launch.

With the support and technical assistance of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) country office, the Government of Papua New Guinea decided to establish a DAD to enhance national ownership of the development process and to harmonize the activities of development partners. And the key obstacle to national ownership, harmonization, and strategic planning is the lack of reliable, comprehensive, and transparent information on development activities in the country. As the Honorable Minister of DNPM Paul Tiensten remarked at the launch, “The reality is that when we meet with our development partners to plan new aid programs, we, as Government representatives, are completely in the shadows because we really do not have a clear picture of how and where aid resources are being invested.

DAD Papua New Guinea (DAD PNG) is a powerful online database that allows users to collect, track, analyze and report on all official development assistance (ODA) for Papua New Guinea. Specifically, DAD PNG includes a Core DAD that captures critical and up-to-date information on all development projects in the country, and Development Partners module that evaluates donor responsiveness and effectiveness and offers a complete picture of donor aid by including all aid modalities, including pooled funds and trust funds. Synergy also developed a portal/website for DNPM, which will knowledge sharing and collaboration through the posting of events, press releases, discussion forums, key documents, and other relevant information. Very important, the DAD and DNPM’s website are linked so that reports (reports, charts, maps) generated through the DAD can be automatically published on the website.

Synergy Awarded GSA Schedule Contract

Effective immediately, Synergy has been awarded a GSA Schedule Contract to facilitate the provision of Synergy’s technology and professional services to the federal government. Government agencies and clients can now purchase Synergy’s IDM Technology and professional services under Special Item Numbers (SINs) 132-33, 132-34, and 132-51on GSA’s IT Schedule 70.

These special item numbers include Perpetual Software Licenses, Software Maintenance, and Information Technology Services. Government agencies who would like to take advantage of this schedule should contact to shop online and reference contract number GS-35F-0148U.

DAD Contract Signed for Sierra Leone

The United Nations Development Programme in Sierra Leone has procured the DAD to implement within the Development Assistance Coordination Office (DACO) of the government of Sierra Leone. DACO has chosen the DAD to assist with providing an accurate picture of the aid landscape in Sierra Leone that will in turn assist with the development of a national Aid Policy.

The DAD’s major goals include providing data on Official Development Assistance to the public, strengthening informed decision making with up-to-date data, providing data on sectoral and regional distributions of aid, reporting on aid flows and usage, and enhancing transparency and accountability. An offline module of the DAD will be provided to facilitate DAD’s use when internet access is not available.

Synergy Partners with Booz Allen Hamilton for MCC Monitoring and Evaluation Project

The Millennium Challenge Corporation, a US Government agency that distributes foreign assistance, has announced that the partnership of Booz Allen Hamilton and Synergy International Systems has been awarded a contract for the MCC Business Intelligence and Data Store (BIDS) project. This project will use Synergy’s IDM technology as the business intelligence cornerstone of the project software. Synergy will develop Monitoring and Evaluation and project tracking systems that will be used to coordinate between MCC headquarters and the Millennium Challenge Account compact countries. The reporting done through this information system will enable MCC to provide reliable reports to Congress to track the development of MCC Compact Countries and assess the overall impact of the MCC’s objectives.


Ministry of Afghanistan Mission to Synergy Headquarters

Synergy recently hosted a delegation of representatives from the Ministry of Finance for Afghanistan for an intensive two-day mission to finalize requirements for an upgrade of the Development Assistance Database (DAD), as well as to discuss additional needs for increased capacity in budget planning. Synergy presented a prototype of its latest budgeting system, which was well received by the participants. Dr. Ashot Hovanesian, Synergy CEO, chaired a series of very productive meetings and brainstorming sessions with the team from the Ministry, which included Budgeting Managers, Sector Managers, and IT Managers. Synergy has been working closely with it’s counterparts in Kabul to finalize the implementation of the DAD 5.5.

Synergy CEO Presents at E-Asia Conference

Dr. Ashot Hovanesian, President and Founder of Synergy International Systems presented at the E-Asia Conference, organized by the Centre for Science, Development, and Media Studies, and hosted by the Ministry of Water, Energy, and Communications. Dr. Hovanesian presented on Best Practices and Lessons Learned from ICT for the Tsunami Recovery. He was also a panelist for a discussion session on emerging technologies in E-gov.

The paper Dr. Hovanesian presented, “ICT for Tsunami Recovery,” was co-authored by Mr. Aidan Cox, Regional Advisor for Aid Management with the United Nations Development Programme’s Regional Centre in Bangkok. The paper outlines the successes and lessons learned from the implementation of the Development Assistance Database for Tsunami reconstruction. The databases currently track over $7 billion of development assistance from multilateral, bilateral, and non-government donors. The paper covers critical attributes of post-disaster ICT tools, capacity development on the national level, ICTs role in improving interagency communication, conditions for sustainability, and monitoring and evaluation.

Private Sector DAD for Tsunami Relief

A new United Nations Develop Programme DAD initiative for Tsunami reconstruction has been completed. This newest DAD is known as the Private Sector DAD, and it tracks private sector company and foundation Tsunami contributions. The system is designed to provide incentives for private sector organizations to provide data by focusing on organizational profiles, rather than projects, in order to show a fuller picture of a company or foundation’s contribution to the Tsunami relief. The Private Sector DAD currently includes data on private sector contributions totaling $225 million from approximately 150 different organizations in 20 different countries.

Three new modules added to the DAD Iraq

The DAD Iraq recently received three new modules that deal with Donor Profiles, a National Budget Public Investment Program, and Country Project Activity. The Donor Profiles include donor details as well as donor pledges, which were not previously recorded. This will allow users to monitor current disbursements against initial pledges. The National Budget Public Investment Program module covers investment projects initiated and funded by the national budget.

The first stage of implementation will include the Ministry of Electricity, Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works, and eventually the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health. The Country Project Activity module presents a consolidated view of all the projects entered into the system (including aid and on-budget funding) to generate reports from a comprehensive project based perspective. From September 10-14, Synergy conducted a Training Workshop in Amman, Jordan on “Improving Aid and Development Management through the Donor Assistance Database” with participants from many government ministries attending. Several further modifications of the DAD were discussed and will be released in December 2006.