06 March 2014

Mapping Aid in Malawi

CCAPS researchers, in collaboration with the Government of Malawi, Development Gateway, and AidData, led a first-of-its-kind effort to map nearly all official development aid (ODA) activities in Malawi at the subnational level. Open Aid Map, a new working paper published this week by the World Bank and authored by researchers at CCAPS and Development Gateway, delves into the methodology used to collect and geocode information on nearly 800 aid projects and 2,900 activities from 31 ODA donors in Malawi.

In order to obtain project documentation of official development assistance in Malawi, the CCAPS team and its partners traveled to Malawi and visited the Malawi Ministry of Finance and donor country offices, in some cases scanning project documents by hand. Students read through the project documents to identify locations of project activities and then geocoded the projects by assigning them latitude and longitude coordinates. The projects were also sector coded to define more closely the focus of each aid project. With the data in hand, the team produced maps visualizing all donor project locations within Malawi. The maps, along with development indicators such as poverty and population density, are available for researchers and policymakers to view on the CCAPS aid dashboard, built in partnership with Development Gateway. CCAPS has also now climate coded these projects, in order to assess their contribution to climate change adaptation in Malawi. 

Mapping the locations of donor project activities in Malawi has served as a great step forward in the aid transparency movement. Formerly, researchers were only able to access aggregate aid data at the country level through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Now, the Malawi mapping project has demonstrated that multi-donor aid mapping can provide a more complete picture of aid within a country, with potential impacts including stronger accountability, greater transparency, and higher efficiency in allocation of aid. 

For more on CCAPS climate coding and geocoding work, visit our climate aid research pages. For more on CCAPS partners involved in this effort, visit the Malawi Ministry of Finance, Development Gateway, and AidData.


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