The US government recently developed a new website in response to calls for greater transparency in foreign aid. According to the site:
The Foreign Assistance Dashboard provides a view of U.S. Government foreign assistance funds and enables users to examine, research, and track aid investments in a standard and easy-to-understand format.
On the site, you can see information based on financing for sectors broken down by categories (including slightly more than $1.12 billion for child and maternal health).
While the site is an excellent start for people concerned about foreign aid spending, Bill Easterly at NYU points out some flaws:
On the minus side, it’s missing most of the information that actually matters to anyone tracking where the money goes and measuring its impact. The country information pages are incomplete because they exclude funds allocated to regional offices rather than country offices…and only shows appropriated amounts, not what has actually been spent.
The name at the top of the site (ForeignAssistance.gov v1.0) indicates that upgrades will be coming, which will hopefully include additional features, such as allowing for greater manipulation of data by users, and more information on each topic and actual spending data. An increase in transparency will allow outsiders to evaluate and learn from USAID in ways that will inform decisions to promote better health outcomes.