Bleg: Where can I find data on full program costs for aid projects?

I’m curious if anyone has seen a collection or compendium (however incomplete) of the cost of aid projects in full. I’m especially interested in household- or individual-level anti-poverty or employment programs: from livestock or asset distribution, to business or vocational skills trainings, to conditional cash transfers, to to food distribution, to whatever, really.

I suppose the ideal data would have the full cost of the project and the number of people. For instance, to give 1000 cows to 1000 households, the total budget was $X for everything from cows to distribution to local office and staff costs.

I have a handful of these. They are typically budget proposals sent to donors. I would love to look at larger pools, even if they are not representative. It need not be identifiable data linked to a particular NGO or government or aid agency.

I’m curious to see whether it’s possible to look at rough per person or household costs of different programs by country, program type, etc.

7 thoughts on “Bleg: Where can I find data on full program costs for aid projects?

  1. IATI is always a good source for this, though you’ll have to sift through a bunch of projects and information that you don’t seem to want.
    The data there don’t always have beneficiary numbers, and there is usually no/very little budget breakdown, but it seems like a good place to start.

  2. if our host doesn’t object to me appending a beg – does anybody know of data on aggregate employment in the aid sector? For example, it would be very interesting to know what proportion of high school graduates in a given country are employed by foreign donors, NGOs etc.

  3. @Raymer. Thanks. I know AidData but as best I can tell they do not have this granularity of information. Number of beneficiaries, for instance. This isn’t as relevant for public good programs, which dominate a lot of the US or World Bank programs on the site. But it’s still a lot of aid and I’ve never seen a source.

  4. For DFID projects you could look at the Development Tracker, which is a DFID front-end on their IATI data.

    The number of beneficiaries is not in the structured data, but it should be in the project documents (which are attached for new projects but not old ones) – you’d have to go through each project and dig it out.

  5. This is a great question that highlights the critical issue in aid transparency right now – the dearth of sources synthesizing the kind of results info published in M&E documents (e.g. numbers of beneficiaries) with project budget/financial transaction information reported on platforms like the Foreign Assistance Dashboard. What you’re seeking is the type of “value added” information that IATI calls for, and that would make open aid data actually useful to people interested in accountability for outcomes, but seems to be largely out of reach. For one thing, the granular data on project beneficiaries and program costs is in the hands of implementers (as with your budget proposals), who are only now starting to publish this information to IATI. This data may become more available if more donors follow DFID’s lead and require IATI-compliant publication by implementing partners.

  6. The all-inclusive cost of the Millennium Villages Project’s “sustainable villages” in Chad (p26) and Sudan (p27) are here:

    And the all-inclusive cost of the Northern Ghana Millennium Village is at the bottom of PDF page 14, here:

    The full costs of their interventions at other sites (inclusive of off-site costs and in-kind contributions) is not public.