Fostering NGO's and frontline responders' engagement


The 10 Grand Bargain workstreams

Greater Transparency
More support and funding tools to local and national responders
Increase the use and coordination of cash-based programming
Reduce Duplication and Management costs with periodic functional reviews
Improve Joint and Impartial Needs Assessments
A Participation Revolution: include people receiving aid in making the decisions which affect their lives
Enhanced quality funding through reduced earmarking and multi-year planning and funding
Enhanced quality funding through reduced earmarking and multi-year planning and funding
Harmonize and simplify reporting requirements
Enhance engagement between humanitarian and development actors


Aid organisations and donors commit to:

  1. Publish timely, transparent, harmonised and open high-quality data on humanitarian funding within two years of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul. We consider IATI to provide a basis for the purpose of a common standard.
  2. Make use of appropriate data analysis, explaining the distinctiveness of activities, organisations, environments and circumstances (for example, protection, conflict-zones).
  3. Improve the digital platform and engage with the open-data standard community to help ensure:
    • accountability of donors and responders with open data for retrieval and analysis;
    • improvements in decision-making, based upon the best possible information;
    • a reduced workload over time as a result of donors accepting common standard data for some reporting purposes; and
    • traceability of donors’ funding throughout the transaction chain as far as the final responders and, where feasible, affected people.
  4. Support the capacity of all partners to access and publish data.

The co-conveners: The Netherlands and The World Bank
NGOs co-champion: Lindsay Hamsik, InterAction
Helpful contacts: Liz Steele, Development Initiatives
 Official IASC page on this workstream available here

Main progress in the last 3 years:

Evidence available for 2019 indicates that progress continued to be made by and within this workstream in 2018 against commitment 1.1, which the workstream consciously decided to focus on at an early stage. Since June 2017, the number of Grand Bargain signatories that are publishing open data on their humanitarian financing and providing much more useful and usable data on their activities has significantly increased as organisations begin using the humanitarian features of the latest version of the IATI Standard. This enables signatories (and other IATI publishers) to provide even more granular reporting on humanitarian funding, for example by showing levels of earmarking, pledges, cash-based programming and whether funding is channeled via local and national responders.[2]

As at May 2019 90% of Grand Bargain signatories that publish open data to IATI were including some data on their humanitarian activities.[3] However, the uptake and use of data published via IATI depends not just on its availability, but also on its usability, usefulness and accessibility. In 2019, the transparency workstream shifted its focus from increasing publication to supporting signatories in accessing and using IATI data. The workstream is developing a series of prototyping ‘windows’ onto the IATI data in the areas of cash programming, localisation, earmarking and the humanitarian-development nexus to show what’s available and what might be possible if more, and more usable, data was being published.

Work supported by the Centre for Humanitarian Data, OCHA’s Financial Tracking Service (FTS), Development Initiatives and the IATI Secretariat to pilot the automatic import of IATI data from a number of Grand Bargain signatories into FTS and ensure complementarity between the two systems, increasing efficiencies, reducing gaps in information reported to FTS and lowering the reporting burden on donors and aid organisations has met with some success. Although far from a completely automated exchange, organisations are already seeing benefits in terms of increased feedback on data quality, improved data literacy and increased internal support for data production.

In May 2019 major wins, key challenges and learnings were shared during a review of the workstream’s progress at a workshop in the Hague.

During the course of 2020, Publish What You Fund will be releasing findings from its in-country research to increase understanding of the information needs and challenges of humanitarian actors on the ground, in particular local and national responders. Development Initiatives will be launching a new IATI Humanitarian Data Portal to replace the Grand Bargain Transparency Dashboard and inform data users of what is currently being published via IATI by Grand Bargain signatories or their affiliates.

Why should you engage?

The progress by Grand Bargain signatories in publishing their humanitarian data to IATI is encouraging and many organisations who have improved their IATI reporting have commented positively on its potential benefits – such as improving organisational performance, efficiency, opportunities for collaboration, evidence-based decision-making, accountability and transparency.

The current challenge for the Transparency works stream is to ensure that published data is relevant and accessible to potential users. This will only be feasible with a greater collective understating of how data can or might support key processes within humanitarian response.

Overall, it will be important for IATI users to demonstrate the benefits of using humanitarian data for better decision-making and building evidence.

How can you engage?

  • Humanitarian organisations interested in publishing data to IATI can contact Development Initiatives and to get further information on the overall process.
  • An increasing number of NGOs and NGO networks are members of IATI and provide support, guidance and training such as Bond in the UK (see here), InterAction in the US and Partos in the Netherlands (see here)
  • If you receive funding from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), or the Dutch or Belgian governments, you will have certain reporting requirements. Please use these links to contact their support desks and view their requirements:
Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Dutch requirements, Dutch support desk
UK Department for International Development: DFID requirementUK support desk
Belgium Ministry of Foreign Affairs:  Belgian requirements (fr)
  • If you would like more information on the FTS-IATI project please contact Steven Flower at the Centre for Humanitarian Data
  • You can also consult the IATI website here where informative material on IATI and how to publish is available



[1] The Grand Bargain Annual Report 2019, ODI June 2019

[2] Development Initiatives: Progress report 1:  supporting Grand Bargain signatories in meeting commitments to greater transparency

[3] Development Initiatives: Grand Bargain Transparency Workstream, Progress Report, May 2019





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