In the summer and fall of 2008, Synergy developed a Francophone Development Assistance Database (DAD) for the Central African Republic. There are two aspects to this DAD’s novelty. First, although the DAD was previously available in a number of languages, including Arabic, Dari, Spanish, and Vietnamese, the development of the DAD Central African Republic marks the first time that the DAD is available in French. In fact, like the DADs in all other countries, DAD Central African Republic is bilingual—available in French and English. Thanks to its powerful multilingual capability, the DAD can be customized to any country’s language needs.
The development of the first French-language DAD is a sign of Synergy’s growing presence in Francophone Africa.The other novel dimension of this DAD is its Mobile Off-line feature, which allows users who are not connected to the Internet to operate the DAD on a locally installed version on their desktops. The Off-line DAD is a full replica of the on-line system, with an identical user-interface and functionality and all the data entry, reporting, and analytical capabilities of the on-line system. Users can enter and update data and download system upgrades with easy one-click synchronization to and from the online DAD. The synchronization is enabled by a “check-in/check-out” system, and an automatic data lock prevents the same information from being updated by any other users, thus securing the data integrity of the system. Synergy developed the Mobile Off-line DAD to address the needs of developing countries where Internet connectivity is severely limited.
This novel solution allows development workers and government officials to capture, analyze, and create reports on critical and up-to-date information on development assistance despite limited access to the Internet. In the summer of 2008, Synergy began working closely with the UNDP office in Central African Republic and the Ministry of Planning, Economy and International Cooperation to develop a DAD. Central African Republic is a post-conflict country that is experiencing a surge of development aid intended to support the peacebuilding process. Yet, as in most such environments, the growing aid is delivered in the absence of powerful and transparent tools that track “who is doing what where.” DAD Central African Republic was developed to address precisely this problem, and thereby to enhance the coordination of donor activities and their alignment with national priorities, as articulated in the country’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP).
According to Sylvain Maliko, the Minister of State for Planning, Economy and International Cooperation, ”DAD will become a key tool for the CAR government and its partners in tracking the progress of our first Poverty Reduction Strategy and in improving the effectiveness of aid in a country where it is needed most.” This powerful, Web-Based, interactive database will allow anyone to easily find detailed information on humanitarian and development assistance in the Central African Republic (CAR). Customizable tables, three-dimensional graphs, interactive maps, and easy-to-create reports will help donor agencies, the government, NGOs, and the general public get a better sense of “who is doing what where” in the Central African Republic and thus to how to improve the effectiveness of aid. By late November 2008, donors had already entered data on more than 170 activities (or roughly two thirds of the total), documenting expenditures of more than $145 million in 2008.