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DI's Progress report 2019: Chapter 4

Stories of success

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Improving the financing response to crisis

In 2019, DI contributed new and unique evidence on the state of global humanitarian assistance, facilitating improved policy and practice on the triple nexus and multi-year funding.

Responding to long-term crises calls for greater coherence between humanitarian, development and peace agendas and scaling up multi-year funding. In order to better support evidence-informed policymaking in these areas, DI’s humanitarian work in 2019 included detailed analysis of both.

DI took action to support joint working at the triple nexus, starting with a webinar series with expert panellists that were attended by over 200 actors working in the development and humanitarian sector. These conversations were an opportunity to explore common challenges and approaches, and also fed into and guided our work on the nexus.

At the end of the year, we presented two donors – the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) – with full-length reports that explored in detail, using a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods, the approaches they had taken to working at the nexus and how these could be developed. Our recommendations were well received by both DFID and Sida, and based on our recommendations DFID has committed to new measures to mainstream resilience across the institution.

We also supported enhanced multi-year humanitarian funding by providing global and in-country analysis on the topic. Working closely with the co-convenors of the Grand Bargain workstream on quality funding, we undertook country studies in Jordan and Lebanon in partnership with the Norwegian Refugee Council to illuminate the barriers that are holding back progress, the successes that demonstrate what is possible, and share our recommendations.

As DI is neither a donor nor implementing partner, our independence and objectivity allowed us to provide a unique and trusted voice for those working to advance efforts in this area. On the strength of our analysis, the Grand Bargain’s quality funding workstream undertook a consultation process to arrive at a commonly shared definition of multiyear humanitarian funding – one of our key recommendations – and major international implementers are now carrying out internal reviews on how to more effectively share quality funding with their downstream partners.

"The report is very timely, and will increase our common understanding and strengthen our work in this area." Jessica Eliasson, Humanitarian Policy Specialist at Sida, on Donors at the triple nexus: lessons from Sweden

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Improving the financing response to crisis

In 2019, DI contributed new and unique evidence on the state of global humanitarian assistance, facilitating improved policy and practice on the triple nexus and multi-year funding.

Responding to long-term crises calls for greater coherence between humanitarian, development and peace agendas and scaling up multi-year funding. In order to better support evidence-informed policymaking in these areas, DI’s humanitarian work in 2019 included detailed analysis of both.

DI took action to support joint working at the triple nexus, starting with a webinar series with expert panellists that were attended by over 200 actors working in the development and humanitarian sector. These conversations were an opportunity to explore common challenges and approaches, and also fed into and guided our work on the nexus.

At the end of the year, we presented two donors – the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) – with full-length reports that explored in detail, using a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods, the approaches they had taken to working at the nexus and how these could be developed. Our recommendations were well received by both DFID and Sida, and based on our recommendations DFID has committed to new measures to mainstream resilience across the institution.

We also supported enhanced multi-year humanitarian funding by providing global and in-country analysis on the topic. Working closely with the co-convenors of the Grand Bargain workstream on quality funding, we undertook country studies in Jordan and Lebanon in partnership with the Norwegian Refugee Council to illuminate the barriers that are holding back progress, the successes that demonstrate what is possible, and share our recommendations.

As DI is neither a donor nor implementing partner, our independence and objectivity allowed us to provide a unique and trusted voice for those working to advance efforts in this area. On the strength of our analysis, the Grand Bargain’s quality funding workstream undertook a consultation process to arrive at a commonly shared definition of multiyear humanitarian funding – one of our key recommendations – and major international implementers are now carrying out internal reviews on how to more effectively share quality funding with their downstream partners.

"The report is very timely, and will increase our common understanding and strengthen our work in this area." Jessica Eliasson, Humanitarian Policy Specialist at Sida, on Donors at the triple nexus: lessons from Sweden

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Empowering people with nutrition data

In 2019, DI helped empower global and regional actors with information and evidence on the state of nutrition across the world.

In its second year hosting the GNR– the world’s leading independent assessment on the state of global nutrition – DI transformed and significantly increased use of its online Country Nutrition Profiles. These provide an overview of data-led information on the state of nutrition globally, regionally, and in every country in the world.

We introduced a range of updated data including prevalence of low birth weight, the existence of relevant national policies such as restrictions on marketing unhealthy foods to children, and new levels of disaggregation to allow people to see differences in malnutrition depending on factors such as age and gender. We also brought in new interactive features to help users explore the data with ease, and improved accessibility to ensure a wider range of audiences can benefit from this information.

In 2019, the Country Nutrition Profiles were visited by 24,000 people, an eightfold increase from the year before, demonstrating considerable increases in use. They are being utilised by a range of stakeholders working to tackle malnutrition such as the Pacific Island Food Revolution who have been using the Country Nutrition Profiles to engage policymakers on malnutrition in the Oceania region.

"The Global Nutrition Report’s Country Nutrition Profiles are just awesome – a great resource for public health nutrition." Penghwinde Saana, Public Health and Community Development Consultant, Ghana

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Bringing the evidence to life: Investments to End Poverty

In 2019, DI generated an evidence base on global financing flows and highlighted where they are failing to reach the poorest and most vulnerable people and places.

Our work to improve investments to end poverty provides data-driven evidence, policy research and new ideas to inform and improve the use of development finance to deliver the SDGs. Following the publication of the third Investments to End Poverty report in 2018, 2019 saw us building on the wealth of evidence we published with high-level discussions, direct engagement and more specific analysis on the countries, approaches and tools of greatest interest to the stakeholders we work with.

By engaging directly with key donors through a series of roundtables this year, we advanced the debate on aid allocation and had the opportunity to share country-specific analysis with decision-makers to support better targeting of their ODA.

We led discussions around the use of blended finance, both by planning collaborative events – such as the joint side-event we facilitated at an OECD conference in January 2020 – and by contributing to transparency and impact working groups, and peer reviewing key blended finance papers. All of this work was underpinned by specialist knowledge of blending and recommendations that we set out in our paper on the impact of blending on poverty, published in October, which was well-received by readers, including at the Center for Global Development, Oxfam America and The European Centre for Development Policy Management.

We also worked to improve the evidence base on subnational financing to human capital, a vital area for policy dialogue that is neglected in current analyses. Working with ODI, we co-wrote two reports providing essential information on how subnational finance is, and is not, targeted to crucial sectors like health and education. Our analysis was taken up by key stakeholders like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank, and our recommendations informed the debate on what needs to change to improve the targeting of finance at subnational level.

"I really like this paper, and I think it does a great job of laying out the theory of change behind blending, the gaps and contradictions in that, and what the reality looks like in comparison to the theory." Marc Cohen, Oxfam America, on How blended finance reaches the poorest people

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Supporting disability inclusion through data

In 2019, DI opened up new possibilities to support economic inclusion by identifying and analysing disability data in four countries – Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda.

High-quality disability data can help communities, policymakers and local officials better understand and prioritise interventions that are vital for supporting people with disabilities and ensuring they are not left behind. That’s why in 2019 DI teamed up with Sightsavers and other partners on the Inclusive Futures initiative, funded by UK Aid. DI’s role as part of this consortium is to improve the quality and use of disability data in Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda, with the ultimate goal of improving the long-term economic empowerment and inclusion of people with disabilities.

In 2019 we made good headway towards understanding the availability and quality of disability data. We conducted an initial mapping of the disability data that exists and assessed its quality. We identified 18 official sources of disability data across the four target countries.

Our findings, from the data used, suggest that of Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda, Uganda produces the most consistent estimates of disability prevalence and its data is largely of high quality. However, we identified significant challenges in the official data sources in the other three countries, which would benefit from a consistent approach to how disability is measured.

Using the high-quality data that we found, we have been able to produce valuable analysis that sheds light on the employment of people with disabilities compared to other groups of the population. Combined with new OECD markers for ODA with a disability-relevant component, this analysis helps us understand how well aid is supporting people with disabilities, and is the first step towards improving their inclusion.

"We urgently need better data on disability, especially in low-income countries. Projects like this are vital to improve our understanding of the existing data and the gaps in that area." Heiner Salomon, Research Officer at ODI

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Widening access to water, sanitation and hygiene

In 2019, DI supported progress towards the achievement of SDG 6 in three countries by providing the necessary analysis to advocate for greater allocation of resources to WASH services.

Adequate financing to WASH is crucial to meeting SDG6, which calls for universal access to WASH services by 2030. In 2019, DI was commissioned by WaterAid to provide research and analysis on WASH financing in three countries with high need – Ethiopia, Nigeria and Pakistan – to allow WaterAid to advocate for greater support to this sector.

We produced three detailed case studies on Ethiopia, Nigeria and Pakistan which identified current progress and challenges in the sector; examined trends in public and private financing versus requirements to meet SDG6; and assessed the opportunities to scale up funding and outlined ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of spending in these countries. We also developed an intervention-based needs assessment model to estimate the cost requirements of the provision of universal WASH access within the target countries.

This work enabled WaterAid to make key recommendations on priorities and improvements in the WASH sector and wider enabling environment – such as robust legal and regulatory frameworks, or reliable electricity supply – in the target countries.

Our findings have supported WaterAid’s advocacy − both at the international level at forums like UNGA, and country level, where they have been used to influence state actors and prioritise future spending. Our methodology is also being reapplied to answer new questions around WaterAid’s work to support SDG6, including the finance required to meet the goal at the global, regional and country level.

"DI produced high-quality research which effectively addressed the key issues, and enabled us to undertake effective engagement on this issue at the UN High Level Political Forum and European Union European Development Days." John Garrett, Senior Policy Analyst – Development Finance, WaterAid

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Building poverty responsive budgets – focus on Kenya

In 2019, DI worked in collaboration with stakeholders in Kenya to analyse public investment and improve targeting of resources to help the poorest people.

Working as part of a budget analytics group including the International Budget Partnership, Oxfam Kenya, Transparency International Kenya (TI-Kenya) and the Institute of Public Finance Kenya, among others, DI provided recommendations on the budget estimates for improved allocations to social protection programmes. The joint submission was supported by our non-state budget analysis partners and ultimately adopted by Kenya’s Parliamentary Budget and Appropriation Committee, leading to increased allocation to some of the programmes DI had recommended.

Beyond our annual analysis of Kenya’s national budget, we also analysed subnational budgeting to disaster risk reduction and climate change in four counties, and budgeting to support the inclusion of people with disabilities.

Our analysis of spending to reduce disaster risk and climate change led to the development of an action plan by CSOs from the four counties to work with county governments towards improved investments, which has informed engagement between these groups. The work was also met with enthusiasm in other counties where it was presented, and led to requests for increased coverage in the future.

DI, in partnership with the East African Tax and Governance Network and Tax Justice Network Africa, facilitated training on poverty responsive tax analysis to nine CSOs, of which four were then able to conduct a joint analysis on Finance Bill 2019 focusing on their sectors of interest. We then presented their recommendations and our own as part of a joint submission to the National Assembly of Kenya, which committed to acting on it.

Our work has also been used for advocacy by partners. We provided summary poverty responsive analysis of the national budget to TI-Kenya. This enabled the latter to conduct training to communities in Migori, Kisumu and Homabay counties on how to contextualise the county budgets to address the needs of the poor. This partnership led to increased budget awareness and budget literacy, empowering communities to advocate on their own behalf.

"DI’s budget analysis is very relevant and there is a need to continue providing such information to support informed engagement on budget advocacy." Titus Ogalo, Western Kenya Regional Coordinator, Transparency International Kenya

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Leaving no one behind in Benin

In 2019, through our partnership with national CSO the Maison de la Société Civile, DI provided analysis and support to the government of Benin in their efforts to focus on the needs of their poorest citizens.

Poverty and inequality are increasingly seen as a critical issue to be addressed globally. The gap between the incomes of the poorest 20% of the population, the P20, and everyone else is widening – both globally and in most countries.

DI is working with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the government of Benin to better understand the poorest 20% of people through data so that policies and resources are better targeted to ensure those who are at risk of being left behind are included in progress. This year we deepened our collaboration with governmental and CSO actors in Benin, and through this, we gained a better understanding of their specific needs and provided them with the tailored analysis they needed to better target the poorest people.

We galvanised support for the leave no one behind agenda and achieved a better understanding of how data needs vary between actors by convening two days of meetings in Cotonou at the end of the year with support from SDC and the government of Benin, as well as the Maison de la Société Civile, a Beninese organisation dedicated to strengthening and supporting CSOs in the country.

The meetings brought together more than 100 stakeholders representing donor agencies, local and national government officials (including three ministers), academic institutions and local and national CSOs. The dialogue, which was covered by national media, highlighted, for the first time, shared challenges and practical possibilities for reducing inequality. DI shared new analysis on the needs of the poorest, highlighted data gaps that need to be filled, and ultimately helped to shape the approach to ensure that no one is left behind in Benin.

"If we can collect data on the P20, the last quintile, we can know in terms of nutrition, are they being included. In terms of birth registration, are we counting them and putting quality projects in place? In this way, we can address questions of poverty." Magloire Aguessy, Director General in Charge of SDGs Coordination and Monitoring, Ministry of Planning and Development

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Building resilience in Somalia

In 2019, DI gathered evidence on the policies, approaches and actions that minimised the impact of crises on people in Somalia.

We need to understand resilience before we measure it. Based on this conviction, between 2018 and 2019, DI investigated how livelihood and coping strategies are changing in the face of protracted crisis in Somalia.

With support from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), we assessed factors contributing to the resilience of households and communities in crisis. We also assessed how local communities’ resilience and livelihood strategies relate to the practices of humanitarian agencies.

A series of interviews and group discussions was held with 256 Somalis drawn from groups that are likely to be left behind, including the young, the elderly, people with disabilities and those internally displaced.

The research highlighted key areas that made people and aid agencies better prepared for the 2016 crisis compared to the situation in 2011. These included a more coordinated and localised approach to humanitarian aid, and scaling up and better use of cash transfers and remittances.

Following on from these findings, we examined how cash transfer systems in Somalia are administered and, in particular, how the registration of recipients could be harmonised across different providers. In the second study, we interviewed 24 humanitarian organisations operating in Somalia, using their perspectives to design a roadmap for short, medium and long-term steps towards a harmonised data system.

These insights will inform key actors in Somalia including DFID Somalia, the Ministry of Planning, the Somali Cash Consortium and aid agencies. We expect the findings to prompt dialogue on the emerging coping mechanisms and approaches to further strengthen and sustain resilience. To this effect, we intend to use the upcoming regional disaster risk reduction and resilience working group for Central and East Africa, which DI will co-chair, as a platform to help members understand resilience better and to take forward actionable recommendations.

"I found the report interesting, and my suggestion would be that it be shared widely among key stakeholders." Alessandro Bini, Director of the Somali Cash Consortium

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Opening up data use in Uganda

In 2019, DI worked with the Government of Uganda to make sure the national statistical system uses the full range of available data.

Officials from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) confirmed that as of early 2019, only about 5% of published data they have from official sources such as censuses and surveys is actually used. It’s crucial that national statistics in Uganda meet the needs of users, and represent the full range of data available.

DI has been advocating for a change in Uganda’s national statistical system to include unofficial data sources, such as citizen-generated data, for several years. In 2019, UBOS – a longtime collaborator with DI – identified us as a key stakeholder supporting statistics production and development in Uganda, and appointed us to their Technical Working Group on data.

Through this group, which was established by the office of the prime minister as one of five supporting the national implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we helped to develop the upcoming third National Strategy for Statistics – which will govern how the national statistical system uses data in the future. As a trusted partner of UBOS, we are also contributing to the preparation of Uganda’s 2020 Voluntary National Report.

For the first time, the third national statistical strategy will recognise the role of unofficial data sources as part of the national statistics mix, representing a step change in Uganda’s approach to data that will open up new possibilities for evidence-informed policymaking. What is more, UBOS now plans to develop on this strategy by reviewing and modernising the legal framework around statistics in the country to make it fit for the future.

"Your organisation… [is] a key stakeholder supporting statistics production and development in Uganda." Dr Chris Mukiza, Executive Director, Uganda Bureau of Official Statistics

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Advancing transparency in humanitarian spending

In 2019, DI helped drive significant increases in the number of Grand Bargain signatory organisations – including donors, UN agencies and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – that are publishing open data on their humanitarian financing.

At the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016 a number of donor governments, multilaterals, UN agencies and NGOs agreed the Grand Bargain, which included a series of commitments to make progress towards greater transparency. DI supports the Grand Bargain transparency workstream and co-convenors, and focuses on three main areas: data publication, data use, and monitoring and learning.

Through our efforts, more than 80% of Grand Bargain signatories are now publishing open data via the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), compared to 62% in 2017, and almost a quarter (23%) are now providing granular data, which none of them had done in 2017. Signatories are now making strides towards fulfilling their Grand Bargain commitments, particularly in terms of data publication. Further, improved publication of data allowed us to make the case for improving the quality and use of humanitarian data. Our recommendation to make this shift in focus was supported by the co-convenors of the workstream, meaning data quality and use will be a key part of how the Grand Bargain is implemented going forward.

Finally, to facilitate this work we also began a consultative process to prototype new ways to view and access IATI humanitarian data. We developed a new portal for the data, that makes it easy to access and use, and which will be fully launched later in 2020. This is also already incentivising publication of more and better data by signatories.

"The Portal is great and I’m sure it will drive both data use and quality up, thank you for all your work on this." Anna Petruccelli, Senior Data and Transparency Specialist at ActionAid UK