Empowering Civil Society –
Strengthening Fiscal Transparency

(Open Data for Transparency)

BACKGROUND

As founding members of the Open Government Partnership, Indonesia and the Philippines have been at the forefront of exploring new approaches to strengthening governance through increased transparency, accountability, and citizen engagement. However, our 2013 study of Indonesia’s open data landscape  showed that the level of skills required to use government data is relatively low across the board, and especially among civil society groups. A similar situation can be found in the Philippines where a large number of civic groups are not aware of the open data concept, its potential benefits, and the existing tools to analyse, interpret, and disseminate data. New laws in Indonesia and the Philippines have recently handed greater fiscal power to local authorities, making effective oversight more important than ever.

Open data cannot deliver transparency benefits unless watchdog groups understand how to use it. We identified four civil society organisations (two in Indonesia and two in the Philippines) experienced in working on local fiscal transparency issues whose advocacy work might benefit from open data. Together with a group of expert mentors, we enabled our project partners to locate and access data that helps support their mission, understand the potential of open data, and build it into future programmes. We’re working to create a ripple effect by empowering the groups to act as champions of open data among other organisations working on local fiscal transparency in the region.

Together with our partners, we were able to orient 439 individuals (187 female, 252 male) on open data and how it can change the way citizens interact with government regarding the allocation and spending of public funds. In the Philippines, we helped build the capacity of civil society organisations in monitoring procurement activities of local government units, and in improving how education funds are allocated. In Indonesia, we helped more than 5,000 citizens access budget data online, with our partner IDEA scraping budget information from PDF files and translating them into information accessible by citizens online and offline. Our partners, with our assistance, were able to produce tangible outputs (e.g. handbook, website) even with limited resources, and used these to engage citizens in fiscal transparency issues.

PARTNERS

Enet        Incitegov        Idea        Pattiro        SEATTI

DURATION

Start: June 2014     End: October 2015


RELATED RESOURCES

How-To Guide
A concise explanation of the enabling model we developed for this project.

Lessons Learned Paper
Our insights and experiences from this project, and recommendations for moving forward.

Individual project concept notes
Flyers of the four projects and partners in OD4T.

Flickr album
Photos from the workshops and public events.