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Helping address under-nutrition with open data.

On 26 September, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced a new Australian Aid Program initiative in Timor-Leste aimed at tackling chronic undernutrition and anaemia in women and children. Catalpa International is proud to be one of the implementing partners.

The initiative is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) innovationXchange, created in March 2015 to support innovation across the Australian aid program.

In Timor-Leste 50 per cent of children under five years are stunted, an indicator of long term nutritional deprivation. Children who are stunted have a greater risk of illness, impaired cognitive development and lower educational attainment. Sixty two percent of children under 5 years are anaemic; classified as a ‘severe public health problem’ by the World Health Organisation.

Catalpa is excited to be working with DFAT to address this challenge by focusing on the application of new technologies to better coordinate implementing partners. Catalpa will focus on making the monitoring and evaluation processes more efficient while helping partners to better target their development resources and activities.

A core component of the intervention is the development and implementation of a shared online monitoring platform using Catalpa's Openly open data platform. The technology will allow development partners to better measure the impact of their work as well as measure change in the nutritional status of women and children.

Catalpa will also be applying international open data standards to aggregate activities and program results across DFATs implementing partners. This will be undertaken using the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). standard, a globally recognised standard for aid data and results reporting.

Catalpa will also be applying international open data standards to aggregate activities and program results across DFATs implementing partners

Use of IATI builds upon Catalpa’s work in Timor-Leste and Myanmar, and is one of the first examples of the aid transparency standard being used to manage implementing partners and monitor results in an open, transparent and accessible way.

Chronic malnutrition and anaemia is caused by a combination of issues so we’ll also be designing a new mobile behaviour change application aimed at encouraging Timorese households to adopt a range of nutrition promoting behaviours to improve nutritional status.

We will be also exploring the use of biometrics to collect results over smart-phones, and other technology to simplify and improve the quality of data collected in low resource settings.

We aim to actively blog our progress, so watch this space.


By David Roach

David has over 10 years of international development and software design experience. David has led the design of large scale technical projects with partners from UN agencies to local community-based NGOs. David has also manages the user-interface and user-experience design across Catalpa’s projects, most recently the Open Data Platform — Openly. Read more about David here