Client Profile

The U.S. is one of the largest donors globally for foreign assistance. In an effort to bring transparency & accountability to U.S. Foreign Assistance, the Department of State manages and coordinates the website ( currently provides budget, financial, and programmatic data from across ten agencies (representing 98% of the total foreign assistance portfolio) that are contributing to U.S. efforts on issues such as health, peace and security, democracy, environment, and humanitarian/emergency assistance. The site includes many different data elements including activity titles, descriptions, partner names, dates of performance, and locations.

Definition of Problem

The site is finalizing a complete redesign, with new interfaces and functionalities, and we want to develop and use cases for the data contained on this site. We are asking universities to review the information in the dataset and develop ideas on how to use the data to identify trends and draw conclusions. Universities can also take on projects to standardize or hack the data to improve the quality, i.e. standardizing vendor names (for example, MSF vs. Doctors without Borders vs Medicines Sans Frontieres).

Initial Steps and Options

The DAT should plan to analyze the dataset. The team would develop ideas for using the data to identify trends and explore ways to compare, contrast, or combine data with other datasets. For example, the team might seek to link the data to the new Lives Saved Scorecard, pioneered by U.N. special envoy Ray Chambers, for financing the health MDGs. The team will most likely focus on data from one specific country or region.

Definition of Success

The Diplomacy Lab is enthusiastic to see projects that show how data can be combined or analyzed with other datasets to tell a story on Foreign Assistance or US Diplomacy. Foreign Assistance data can be used in its entirety or segmented by country, agency, or sector