The Development Assistance Database (DAD) Community of Practice (CoP) is a global forum of practitioners who share a common commitment to advancing development effectiveness through the smart and sustainable application of Synergy’s Development Assistance Database (DAD)— a web-based software platform that governments use to track aid flows and monitor development projects.
The major event of the DAD CoP is a biennial conference that brings together a diverse array of participants representing governments, aid agencies, civil society organizations, think-tanks, and the private sector. The conference centers on a workshop that features case studies in implementing DAD to improve government management of development data. The DAD CoP currently has over 80 members from about 20 countries, including Afghanistan, Armenia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, India, Iraq, Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritania, Moldova, Mozambique, Namibia, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, and Yemen. The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) also participates in the DAD CoP.
By the late 2000s, the implementation of DAD in various countries had spawned a global pool of DAD practitioners—government officials (both decision-makersand technical managers) with a wealth of knowledge about how to implement, adapt, and, most importantly, sustain the software platform. Because this practical knowledge could potentially be invaluable to the development community in general and developing country governments in particular, the idea was to create a vibrant intellectual space where these practitioners could connect to share good practices and lessons learned, exchange ideas, and engage in South-South cooperation.
The 2014 Development Assistance Database (DAD) Community of Practice (CoP) conference took place from January 21-23 in Nairobi, Kenya. The conference served as a dynamic South-South forum where best practices and lessons learned were shared around the effective use of the DAD aid information management system. The theme of the 2014 CoP was “Strengthening Country Ownership,” which led to fascinating discussions amongst participants whose DAD systems are at various stages of maturation. Countries are increasingly using the DAD to manage M&E of domestically-funded public investment programs (PIP) and their national development framework. Hence, managers of recently-deployed DADs were able to learn from the experiences of those operating long-established systems. On another note, the 2014 CoP was co-hosted by the National Treasury of Kenya, and thus was the first conference to be co-hosted by a member country of the DAD CoP. This was warmly welcomed by all participants, and should set a precedent for future conferences. The results of the post-conference evaluation survey were quite positive. On a scale of 1 (highly unfavorable) to 5 (highly favorable), the highest rated result (score of 4.68) was for Question 6: “The country which I represent will benefit from the knowledge I gained.” Indeed, this is the goal of the DAD CoP itself and the reason that we at Synergy organize the conference, so those were encouraging results. We did receive some good suggestions from participants in the narrative Q/A section, which will inform planning for next year’s conference.
The 2011 Development Assistance Database (DAD) Community of Practice (CoP) conference took place from June 20-24 at Synergy’s Global Learning Center in Yerevan, Armenia. The theme of the 2011 CoP was “Towards Effective Monitoring & Evaluation,” and attracted a diverse array of participants representing governments, aid agencies, civil society organizatons, think-tanks, and the private sector. The conference provided a combination of workshop sessions, as well as technical and subject-matter training sessions on various aspects of the DAD system, and Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) itself.
The white paper “Taking Stock of the DAD Community of Practice – Trends, Challenges, and Good Practices in Aid Information and Development Effectiveness” summarizes the findings of both the 2009 and 2011 DAD CoP conferences. The report synthesizes key issues associated with the convergence of information technology and national development in an accessible manner.
Today, there are about 20 nationally-run DAD systems around the world. Many of these systems have been in operation for a considerable period of time. Collectively, there are hundreds of government officials and representatives of donor organizations, NGOs and civil society organizations who use DAD to better plan, coordinate, execute and report on national development activities. Over the years, these practitioners have gained tremendous institutional and technical knowledge that can effectively be shared among themselves and with professionals who are interested in DAD and would like to benefit from available lessons learned and good practices.