DAD for Indonesia Wins Prestigious Award


Synergy’s landmark Development Assistance Database (DAD) for Indonesia, won the award for the best Information Management project at the second annual Asia-Pacific Government Technology Awards, held in Bali, Indonesia, on 17 October 2008. The Awards recognized best practice public sector projects, and outstanding achievement by public sector organizations in the field of information communication and technology (ICT) by local and central government agencies, as well as education and healthcare organizations. The year-long awards process is the largest in the Asia-Pacific region, and has been dramatically growing in popularity. The 2008 Awards received 450 nominations from 14 countries, up from 212 the previous year. Over 200 senior government officials from Asia-Pacific countries attended the Awards.

The winners were selected from a shortlist of nominees in a number of categories, such as information management, business process/service innovation, and e-government. The award categories were sponsored by some of the leading IT companies in the world, including Microsoft and IBM.

The RAN Database won the award in the Information Management category (sponsored by EMC), which recognizes “excellence in the efficient capture, storage, and distribution of citizen information.” Currently, the RAN Database tracks over 1700 projects carried out by more than 600 donors, NGOs, and private entities, totaling approximately 3.8 billion US dollars.

Synergy developed the DAD for Indonesia almost immediately after the December 2004 Tsunami to track post-natural disaster reconstruction projects in the Aceh-Nias region. The DAD was named the Recovery Aceh Nias (RAN) Database to reflect the national ownership of the system, and was installed at the BRR Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency.

The RAN Database has become the central coordinating database for Tsunami recovery and national development data in Indonesia. The Report, Chart, and Map modules have facilitated national reporting and provide a strategic overview of the aid landscape in the country, thus enabling informed decision-making and planning.

Within the RAN Database, Synergy implemented its core DAD system, including online data entry, Charting, GIS Mapping, and Reporting. Furthermore, Synergy developed a number of other systems to build the capacity of the Government to track tsunami reconstruction and enhance the management of the workflow processes. These included a Donor/Partner Profiles Module and a Concept Note Submission and Approval Module for organizing and streamlining the bottom-up and top-down planning process of the reconstruction. The Concept Notes online submission and approval process involved the entire NGO community in sharing data on their planned activities for better coordination.

The novel Concept Note Submission and Approval Module automates the existing workflow for project approval, allowing the government to track the external assistance activities and ensure the proper distribution of funds (that is, avoiding gaps and duplications) among priority sectors and locations. The Profiles Module provides statistical aid information that is organized by Donor, Partner and Sector (rather than project), thus enabling easy monitoring of the efficiency and effectiveness of all stakeholders involved in the Tsunami reconstruction process.

Synergy worked with the government of Indonesia to define Sector specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for measuring progress of reconstruction at various levels including the project level and overall sector level. The RAN Database provides a tool for analyzing trends of KPIs against baseline and target values, as well as financial and other project data.

The RAN Database was also integrated with the Regional DAD that includes information from other Tsunami affected countries including Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Maldives.

Synergy Participates in the Accra Summit


The Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, held in Accra, Ghana, from 2-4 September 2008, convened 1700 international development policymakers and practitioners from governments, donor agencies, NGOs, private foundations and the private sector to review progress made to date on implementing the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. A testament to public-private partnership, Synergy’s President & CEO, Mr. Ashot Hovanesian and Aid Management Advisor, Mr. Richard Bradley attended the Accra Summit and participated in a number of workshops and plenary sessions on the global aid effectiveness agenda. A number of country delegations requested presentations of the Development Assistance Database (DAD) and its key extensions (for example, the Monitoring & Evaluation module), which led to productive discussions on the expanding use of the DAD to pressing needs of developing countries. For example, Mr. Hovanesian and Mr. Joseph Lelang, Papua New Guinea’s Secretary of the Department of National Planning and Monitoring (DNPM), discussed the potential implementation of the DAD in Papua New Guinea. After the summit, Synergy, DNMP, and the UNDP office in Papua New Guinea partnered up to put in place a DAD and an Aid Effectiveness Web Portal in that country, both of which were officially launched by the Government of Papua New Guinea on 19 January 2009. Moreover, several countries where the DAD is currently operational (such as Central African Republic, India, and Iraq) presented “DAD Case Studies” in the Marketplace of Ideas that illustrated how successfully customized aid management systems can significantly advance the process of making aid more effective.

Notably, Ms. Reetu Jain, deputy director of the Department of Economic Affairs (DE) at India’s Ministry of Finance, made a presentation of the DAD that Synergy developed and customized specifically for the Government of India, in close cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Called the Coordination Decision support System (CDSS), this comprehensive Web-based aid management system provides a full picture of all development aid to India and thus makes government officials better placed to align external aid with India’s national development priorities. In her presentation, Ms. Jain highlighted that CDSS, which is fully integrated with the Government’s Financial Management System, supports the Government of India in effectively managing development aid and promoting the accountable and transparent use of resources. In addition, CDSS has also greatly improved the efficiency and coordination of donor activities in India and thus promotes good governance, transparency, and accountability. A key lesson learned from this project is that effectively combining high levels of political support and good technical assistance is a key success factor.

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


CHART

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.

DASHBOARD

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.