High Level Forum for Aid Effectiveness

Dr. Ashot Hovanesian, President of Synergy International Systems, and Mr. Richard Bradley, Aid Management Advisor, recently participated in the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, held in Accra, Ghana from 2-4 September 2008. The Forum is a follow-up to the Paris High Level Forum in 2005, which resulted in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. The Forum is a unique gathering of national government leaders and aid practitioners from around the world.

Synergy’s Development Assistance Database (DAD) was featured in the Marketplace of Ideas, which highlighted best practices in aid effectiveness in governments around the world through posters in an exhibit format. The Governments of India, Iraq, and the Central African Republic all highlighted their national aid management systems, which were developed by Synergy. These included the Coordination & Decision Support System for the Ministry of Finance in India, the Development Assistance Database Iraq for the Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation, and the upcoming implementation of DAD in the Ministry of Planning, Economics, and International Cooperation in the Central African Republic. In addition to the posters, Government staff made brief presentations to explain how these implementations strengthened the principles of alignment, harmonization, ownership, managing for results, and mutual accountability.

At the conclusion of the High Level Forum, the Accra Agenda for Action was released, which specifically calls for donors to support, and invest in strengthening, developing countries’ national statistical capacity and information systems, including those for managing aid. DAD is greatly strengthening governments’ capacity for aid management through its implementation in over 25 countries.

Synergy to implement Francophone DAD for the Central African Republic

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Central African Republic and the Ministry of Planning, Economics and International Cooperation has selected Synergy International Systems to implement the Web-based Development Assistance Database (DAD), the Donor Profile module, and the off-line mobile DAD to effectively track and manage all humanitarian and development projects in CAR. The DAD supports UNDP’s capacity-building programme, ARCAD, one key module of which focuses on aid management.

Within four weeks of the project start date, a fully operational pilot was customized and deployed in the Central African Republic. Data collection on humanitarian, recovery and development projects has already begun. As a government owned tool, the CAR is bilingual (French-English), and will promote partner alignment with CAR’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy. Further, DAD will enable for greater managing for results for CAR’s population, supporting informed decision-making by humanitarian and development partners.

To support sustainability, a dedicated aid coordination unit within CAR’s Ministry of Planning, Economics and International Cooperation will receive comprehensive training on Synergy’s powerful IDM Knowledge Builder tool, which will build capacity in maintaining the DAD, thus achieving a high return on investment and low cost of ownership.

DAD for Guatemala in Development Stage

Synergy International Systems is creating a Development Assistance Database for the Secretariat of Planning and Programming in the Central American government of Guatemala. This DAD will be completely bilingual and will consist of core modules for mapping, charting, reporting and data entry, as well as an Executive Dashboard. A needs assessment mission was conducted for the DAD Guatemala from August 4-8, 2008. A pilot version will be released shortly and development is expected to be completed by early-October, with training for the development community in Guatemala occurring later in the month.

The DAD will allow the government of Guatemala to effectively track, analyze, and report on all development assistance projects within the country, and will provide a single forum for all donors to meet Paris Declaration requirements for aligning with government information systems. The DAD is being implemented in close cooperation with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Synergy Exhibits at Digitec and Microsoft Innovation Forum

Synergy was an exhibitor at the recent two day Digitech and Microsoft Innovation Forum hosted in the Armenian capital of Yerevan from 26-27 June. The forum attracts local and international vendors, and is aimed to present innovative opportunities for IT application in Armenia and to serve as a discussion forum between government representatives and IT solutions providers. The panel discussions addressed issues relevant to the context of Armenia, such as e-Health, e-Government, Telecommunications Development, Business Automation Processes, Banking and Finance.

New IT solutions were presented by more than 17 companies, including different local and international organizations such as Microsoft, Beeline, Armsoft, Sourcio, Grant Thornton Amyot, Intel/Russia, and Hewlett-Packard. “The introduction of e-governance in Armenia will start from the government,” Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan told reporters after the opening ceremony of the DigiTec Business Forum in Yerevan. According to Sargsyan, they have already held meetings with representatives from the business community to discuss the concept of e-governance. One of the priority tasks of e-governance is the reduction of corruption and bureaucracy, as well as the simplification of government-citizen communications.

Synergy brought to the forum a unique combination of local presence in Yerevan, innovative solutions, and extensive experience from our collaboration with the Government of Armenia, US government agencies, and international organizations such as the World Bank, UNDP, IDB, UNIDO and OECD, as well as governments in more than 30 countries worldwide.

DAD’s New Chart and Dashboard Modules


Synergy’s new, Flash-based Charting module contains a variety of enhancements and new features. The new Chart module was built with a rich user interface that supports movable windows for arranging the screen as desired. Users can now resize their charts directly in the workspace, and show or hide the data labels and legends. As a more visually appealing tool, users can customize the coloring, or choose pattern-filled charts for black and white printing.


Synergy’s new Dashboard module was built with an enhanced user interface that supports movable windows for customizing the individual Dashboard screen. This new tool provides access to pre-defined dashboard views- including an executive summary, financial overview, and indicator progress dashboards. The tool allows users to instantly filter data across all windows displayed, according to a particular organisation, sector, or location. All Charts and Maps in the Dashboard are now fully resizable, with zoom-in and zoom-out functionalities for individual graphic reports. In the old Dashboard, each report had to be printed individually, but now users can print a full dashboard view at the click of a button.

Synergy Awarded SeaPort-e Prime Contract

Synergy has just been awarded a prime contract under the SeaPort-e contracting vehicle with the United States Navy. This is an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award contract that will allow the various branches of the United States Navy to provide Synergy with the opportunity to compete for task orders. This took place under the most recent SeaPort Enhanced Rolling Admissions solicitation N00178-08-R-4000.

Synergy’s award is for the National Capital region (Zone 2) and the following functional areas: Software Engineering, Development, Programming, and Network Support, and Information System (IS) Development, Information Assurance (IA), and Information Technology (IT) Support. It is estimated that up to $5.3 billion worth of services will be procured annually through SeaPort-e contracts.

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 www.gsaadvantage.gov to shop online and reference contract number GS-35F-0148U.