Do your new year’s resolutions include taking joint programming online in 2016?? We in Mozambique are moving in this direction. Working together with a team at HQ and Tanzania country office, we are on our way to fulfilling an aspiration of ours– to have an online United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF).
- Do you want to make your UNDAF more accessible for people within and outside the UN?
- Do you want to be able to summarize and analyse planned expenditures across the UN in your country?
- Do you want to have nice graphs and maps of where and what UN did in the previous year?
- What about tagging results to the sustainable development goals to help track the UN’s support to Agenda 2030?
If answering yes to any of these questions, read on…
Drafts, track changes, more drafts and lots of emails
In Mozambique, UN colleagues have been working towards joint planning and transparency on budget planning for some time, but without a really good way of displaying or disseminating the information. We still send all the information from agency to agency to coordinator who merges inputs and then sends it back via email to many stakeholders. Like many others in UN teams around the globe, we are spending a great deal of time gathering information and the process is subject to iterations without a good way to display data and monitor progress. We think that many of the hurdles we face during the design phase of our country strategies can be solved with an online solution.
Why we think the UNDAF will be better online
There are many other advantages associated with this solution, like:
- An online UNDAF can increase the transparency of what we do, what we plan, where we work and who we partner with;
- External and internal audiences will be able to see how our work links with the Sustainable Development Goals,
- External and internal audiences will be able to see how our work contributes to gender equality, human rights or any other important issue – we can tag it so they can see it.
- Being online will make the UNDAF more well-known to wider audiences;
- Being online will make the UNDAF more usable and strategic;
- Improving access to the UNDAF supports coordination and coherence within and among partners;
- Displaying data online gives incentives for UN Agencies to submit quality inputs on time.
Prototyping with HQ
The UN Development Operations Coordination Office (DOCO) has been also scoping out moving in this direction and we’ve agreed to take this forward together. Hopefully this is a good model to support the development of a global system which is designed with the needs of country level users in mind. DOCO is keen because they are often asked the simple question: What are UN country teams working on? And to answer this question now requires a human to read the usually scanned signed versions of UNDAFs and create a taxonomy of what issues are addressed in these UN partnership documents.
2016 will be a development year for the software and we are hoping to be up and running soon. We know that many teams out there have worked on similar platforms – Tanzania, Lebanon, Malawi, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda, to name a few. There are probably things you have learned along the way that you can tell us so we don’t repeat the same mistakes or redesign features that have already been done. Any banana peels out there that you know of, let us know! And above all don’t hesitate to help us shape this tool so it can be easily adapted and replicated in your country context and for your UNDAF without you spending a single dollar!