Database will help track international aid in Iraq

The Iraqi government is having a hard time keeping track of billions of dollars in international assistance filtering in to rebuild the country’s war-torn infrastructure.

So the Coalition Provisional Authority, working in conjunction with the Defense Department, the Iraqi Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation, the United Nations, the World Bank and coalition agencies, is using a Web portal to keep track of donor commitments.

The Donor Assistance Database, developed by Synergy International Systems Inc. of Vienna, Va., uses a customizable business software tool called Intelligent Data Manager for Web-based reporting, to produce charts and highlight geographical information. The system already is in use in Afghanistan, but the provisional authority will employ it on a much larger scale in Iraq.

The portal will also assess how assistance is helping Iraq meet national development requirements.

The database shows all ongoing projects on a map of Iraq. According to officials, users can then zoom in on a region and see the status of a project in more detail to better allocate resources.

Synergy is one of a handful of subcontractors to Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. of McLean, Va. Another subcontractor, Groove Networks Inc. of Beverly, Mass., has built a prototype collaboration system in Iraq for the CPA to exchange documents and instant messages using 192-bit encryption.

“The Donor Assistance Database is an important element for the Coalition Provisional Authority in our support of Iraq’s transition to self-government,” said Don Harrison, special assistant to the principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for networks and information integration. The NII team is responsible for improving information flow for the provisional authority.

“Synergy’s Donor Assistance Database will enable the senior leadership involved in the reconstruction process in Iraq to capture and effectively manage critical information on international assistance pledges and funding disbursements,” Harrison said.

Language friendly

The database, which will operate in English and Arabic, will be fully deployed this summer.
Synergy’s Intelligent Data Manager software allows for querying, reporting, and setting up charts and maps.

The database has several additional functions:
  • Identifying national priorities and requests for donor assistance

  • Collecting, tracking and analyzing donor information

  • Providing a consolidated view and impact assessment of assistance efforts

  • Expanding public information and awareness on the reconstruction process.

“It is very important that there is a tool that can bring a transparency into implementation of the donor funds,” said Ashot Hovanesian, Synergy’s CEO.

Before setting up the system in Iraq, Synergy deployed the donor database in Afghanistan and 12 other countries. The system in Afghanistan tracks more than 1,700 grant programs from more than 65 donor groups. In Iraq, it is expected to track tens of thousands of grant programs from hundreds of donor agencies, Hovanesian said.

“Each country, we custom tailor to their specific needs. The requirements and definitions in Afghanistan differ from what is needed in Iraq,” he said.

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