Development Assistance Database

Development Assistance Database

The Development Assistance Database (DAD) is a widely used Aid Information Management System (AIMS) developed by Synergy International Systems, Inc for Aid Management, Public Investment and National Budgeting. It has been established in more than 30 countries world-wide in close cooperation with UNDP and respective governments to promote transparency and accountability of funds, results-driven decision-making, and aid effectiveness.[1] DAD is a Web-based information collection, tracking, analysis and planning tool for use by national governments and the broader assistance community, including bilateral donors, international organizations, and NGOs. The proven DAD package of solutions offers a number of key advantages to user countries, including the following:

  • Analytical reporting tools
  • Data visualization
  • Results-based aid management
  • Online and offline capabilities
  • Integration with financial management and other third party systems
  • IT and Aid Effectiveness Advisory Services
  • Sustainable results

The use of the DAD by national governments to strengthen the effectiveness of aid management fulfills basic tenets of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness by allowing each country to take ownership and lead the process of international assistance, ensuring that it is aligned to their needs and priorities.[2] Implementation of this technology has empowered governments to truly drive the aid process and direct donors to priority sectors, regions or strategic goals.



Originally known as the Donor Assistance Database, the DAD was re-branded as the Development Assistance Database on August 2, 2005. The first Donor Assistance Database was a PC system created for Russia in 1996 by the G7 Support Implementation Group[citation needed]. The first Donor Assistance Database tracked 20,000 projects and over US $100 billion in Official Development Assistance delivered between 1991 and 2001[citation needed]. The DAD was then adapted as a tool for the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union to monitor development assistance from the international community. These first generation implementations include Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. The DAD then developed into a Web-based tool, and shortly thereafter, Russia graduated from being a recipient of international assistance.

This experience initiated DAD’s existence as a commercial-off-the-shelf product created for use in any national reconstruction or long term development environment to strengthen the effectiveness and transparency of international assistance.

The DAD has been implemented more than 30 countries, a selection of which are summarized in the following section. Most of these implementations have taken place through a strategic partnership between the software company Synergy International Systems, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This partnership led to the signing of a Long Term Agreement in July, 2005.[3]

DAD Installations

Central Asia

Development Assistance Database installations in Central Asia include systems in Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan.


Development Assistance Database systems have been installed in Macedonia, Russia, and Ukraine.

Latin America and the Caribbean


In response to the January 12, 2010 earthquake, Synergy designed and implemented the Haiti Reconstruction Platform (HRP) for the Government of Haiti. Developed in partnership with UNDP, the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Haiti, the Government of Haiti, and Development Gateway, this online portal serves as the central repository of data on the post-earthquake recovery and development process, and will help the Haitian government lead efforts based on timely and accurate information. Fully available to the public, HRP makes available dynamic tables, reports, charts and GIS maps to assist Haitian leaders and their partners in making informed, strategic decisions and to promote accountability and transparency of recovery funds. It also enables organizations involved in Haiti’s recovery to report and keep track of their data in an efficient and user-friendly manner through online, electronic forms. HRP is powered by Synergy’s Portal technology, Analytics, Dashboard and E-Form and Workflow technology, and is available online at

Other Latin America/Caribbean Installations

Development Assistance Database systems have also been installed in Guatemala.

South Asia


Under a contract with UNDP, Synergy implemented the Development Assistance Database (DAD), based on its IDM software, for the establishment of an Aid Management System in the government of Afghanistan. The DAD became the official source for the registration of projects that the government would implement, and played a key role in supporting the government’s budget planning process.

Synergy is implementing a National Budgeting System for the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan that will facilitate top-down and bottom-up planning and execution for the entire budgeting process. The intelligent spread-sheet interface will assist in multi-year budget preparation and support budget negotiations between the Ministry of Finance and the various line ministries. This will enable revenue planning, expenditure requests, and forecast analysis. This contract was awarded through a competitive bidding process.


The Coordination & Decision Support System on External Assistance – India (CDSS - INDIA) is an External Aid Management and Coordination system that strengthens the effectiveness and transparency of international development assistance. The Project Management Unit (PMU), Department of Economic Affairs, leads this initiative and Synergy was brought in through our Long Term Agreement with UNDP. Such a system will help obtain regular feedback on Externally Aided Projects (EAP’s) progress in project activities, and facilitate timely initiation of remedial measures and mapping of the unserviced areas and sectors.


Synergy was contracted to provide extensive technical and consultancy services to the government of Maldives. In Phase 1, Synergy implemented the Development Assistance Database (DAD), a Web Portal, IDM Knowledge Builder and Publishing capabilities, Executive Dashboard, and a database tracking requests/unmet needs. In Phase 2, the government requested an expansion of DAD for linking the National Recovery Reconstruction Plan (NRRP) with the funded projects database. This helped to implement a key tenet of the Paris Declaration by “aligning” projects with national priorities as outlined in the NRRP. In addition, Synergy provided additional technology services, including the development of a module to track internally displaced persons, along with further enhancements to the requests/unmet needs module. Finally, in Phase 3, Synergy was contracted to provide another year of technical support, as well as to develop a Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) system by utilizing IDM/DAD technology.


Synergy was contracted to customize the DAD for the government of Pakistan, subsequent to the earthquake that devastated the Kashmir region of the country. The DAD was developed, tested, and installed over a period of four months, and was eventually extended beyond the initial earthquake aid to track all assistance furnished to the country. The DAD Pakistan is fully integrated with Pakistan's Loan and Grant Tracking System. The DAD system also facilitates Monitoring and Evaluation by tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in line with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. Synergy also implemented an off-line data entry system for the government, a Web-Portal, along with a sector/donor profiles module. The DAD is tracking nearly $23 billion worth of commitments from bilateral, multilateral and other donors.

Sri Lanka

Synergy implemented DAD-Sri Lanka for the government of Sri Lanka's Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA) in order to increase visibility and accountability into how Asian Tsunami Relief funds are spent and how projects are progressing in the country. DAD-Sri Lanka allows agencies to report their projects and share information on objectives, funding sources, implementation partners and project progress online, with the ultimate goal of facilitating efficient aid coordination. Housing was an area of particular focus, as it was estimated that 100,000 homes required rebuilding, with a need for care and maintenance of nearly 55,000 transitional shelters. In order to address this specific need, Synergy implemented within DAD-Sri Lanka the Donor-Driven Housing Module which helps monitoring the progress of housing construction funded and implemented by development partners themselves for the Tsunami affected population. DAD-Sri Lanka was additionally integrated with Synergy's Portal, which provides live links to DAD Web Reports (including Housing Program data) and features other disaster and recovery-related information, maps and resources.

Southeast Asia and the Pacific


Synergy designed and installed the Recovery Aceh Nias (RAN) Database installed for the BRR – Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency of the Government of Indonesia. Within the RAN Database, Synergy developed a number of other systems to build the capacity of the Government to track tsunami reconstruction and enhance the management of the work-flow processes. These included a Donor/Partner Profiles Module and a Concept Note Submission and Approval Module for organizing the bottom-up and top-down budget planning process of the reconstruction. The Concept Notes online submission and approval process involved the entire NGO community in sharing data on their planned activities for better coordination. The RAN has become the central coordinating database for Tsunami recovery data in Indonesia, tracking 1700 projects and a total of USD 3.7 billion in commitments. Synergy worked with the government of Indonesia to define Sector specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for measuring progress of reconstruction at various levels including the project level and overall sector level. RAN provides a tool to analyze trends of KPIs against baseline and target values, as well as financial and other project data. The RAN was also integrated with the Regional DAD that includes information from other Tsunami affected countries including Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Maldives.

The RAN Database won the the Innovative Government Technology Award in the Information Management category at the 2008 FutureGov Summit.[4] RAND was chosen out of 450 nominations from 15 countries, including developed nations across the region. It was recognised as an innovative model of information management that has successfully promoted improvement in public services, modernisation of government administration and efficiency of public sector management.[5]

Papua New Guinea

Synergy customized the DAD for the Government of Papua New Guinea and developed a web portal for the Department of National Planning and Monitoring (DNPM), the government ministry in charge of development policy. DAD PNG (Papua New Guinea) serves to enhance national ownership of the development process through the collection, tracking, and analysis of data and presentation of reliable, comprehensive, and transparent information on development activities. Specifically, DAD PNG includes a Core DAD that captures critical and up-to-date information on all development projects in the country, and Development Partners module that evaluates donor responsiveness and effectiveness and offers a complete picture of donor aid by including all aid modalities, including pooled funds and trust funds. Synergy also developed a web portal for DNPM, which contributes to knowledge sharing and collaboration through the posting of events, press releases, discussion forums, key documents, and other relevant information. DAD PNG and DNPM’s website are linked so that reports (reports, charts, maps) generated through the DAD can be automatically published on the website.


Synergy customized the DAD for the Thailand International Cooperation Agency located within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In addition, Synergy developed a Web Portal, and implemented the Executive Dashboard, a request/unmet needs database, and training and technical support.

In Synergy’s work to support post-Indian Ocean Tsunami reconstruction tracking, after national-level DADs in all four countries (Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Thailand) were stable and operational, a regional DAD system, regularly updated with data from national-level DADs, was launched for comprehensive analytical reporting. A central portal housed at the UNDP Regional Centre in Bangkok provided easy access to analytical reports from a regional or national perspective on live DAD data. The Regional DAD was automatically updated on a weekly basis from the DADs in the tsunami countries. Furthermore, a Private Sector DAD was developed to track donations for companies, foundations and other organizations made to support tsunami relief efforts.


Synergy customized the DAD for the Foreign Economic Relations Department of the Ministry of Planning (MPI). DAD Vietnam managed to harmonise the reporting procedures of 52 donor agencies, aligning them at the same time to a Government-Owned DAD system. The DAD Vietnam Report, presented to the CG in December 2006, noted that agencies providing data into the system cover more than 95 percent of the annual ODA flows. The entire data-entry process was accomplished by donors themselves, as 234 focal points from 52 agencies entered data into the system. Information on over 6,500 ODA projects implemented since 1993 are stored in the system. The DAD is tracking billions of dollars worth of assistance: there were about 3 billion US dollars of committed funds and 1.7 billion of disbursed funds in 2005 alone.

Sub Saharan Africa

Central African Republic

Synergy developed a Francophone Development Assistance Database (DAD) for the Central African Republic. DAD CAR is bilingual, like the DADs in all other countries, but is the first to be implemented with French language capabilities. Thanks to its powerful multilingual capability, the DAD can be customized to any country’s language needs. DAD CAR also offers Mobile Off-line capabilities, with identical user-interfaces and functionalities to the online system. The Mobile Off-line DAD was developed to address the needs of developing countries with limited internet connectivity. DAD CAR is utilized by the Ministry of Planning, Economy and International Cooperation to track and publicize detailed information on humanitarian and development assistance projects in the Central African Republic.


Synergy developed the Electronic Project Monitoring Information System (e-ProMIS) as a Web-based database system for the Government of Kenya to provide project information for policy making, planning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation. The system will be used by all government ministries and agencies implementing projects funded by both government and development partners. This system will facilitate the management, coordination and control of the development budget as well as recurrent budget items. The system will facilitate project scrutiny to ensure that they satisfy certain minimum conditions necessary for their sustainability and effective/efficient implementation.


Synergy has worked closely with the External Finance Unit of the Ministry of Economy and Finance in the implementation of the DAD. After completing its original technical support in Dec 2006, Synergy has continued to provide technical support and consulting services, and has expanded the DAD to cover Monitoring & Evaluation, Key Performance Indicators, Paris Declaration Indicators, and a Donor Profiles module.

Sierra Leone

Synergy was contracted by the United Nations Development Programme in Sierra Leone to customize the DAD for the Development Assistance Coordination Office (DACO) of the government of Sierra Leone. In procuring the DAD, DACO sought to obtain an accurate picture of the aid landscape in Sierra Leone in order to strengthen the country’s national aid policy. The DAD Sierra Leone provides data on Official Development Assistance to the public, strengthens informed decision-making with up-to-date data, provides data on sectoral and regional distributions of aid, reports on aid flows and usage, and enhances transparency and accountability. As in the Central African Republic, a Mobile Off-line DAD module was developed to allow access to DAD capabilities and functionalities in locations where internet access is not regularly available.


Synergy customized the DAD for the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, and hosted the application on its servers in Washington on behalf of the Ministry. Furthermore, a Harmonization Web Portal was created for knowledge sharing, and enhanced coordination between all stakeholders involved in humanitarian and development activities in Zambia.

Western Asia and the Middle East


Synergy was selected by the Judicial Reform PIU of the RA Ministry of Justice as prime contractor for the implementation of an Automated Enforcement Services Management System (AESMS) Database within the Judicial Reforms Project (component: Improving Enforcement of Court Decisions). The mission of the project was to improve the quality of enforcement services and to raise efficiency of the ESD. Main deliverables of the project included, 1) Automated Enforcement Service Management System (AESMS) Database development, 2)Web Site development for Enforcement Service Department (ESD), 3) Installation of the systems developed, 4) Training of the staff.


Synergy has provided a Development Assistance Database to the Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation in Baghdad, as well as a regional DAD in Kurdistan. The DAD was originally developed through the Department of Defense for the Coalition Provisional Authority but was later transferred to MoPDC. Synergy has provided extensive training and has continued to upgrade and extend the system to cover Public Investment, M&E, donor pledges and additional Ministry level needs.

Synergy is currently also working with UNDP to provide IT Services and Capacity Building through the Rule of Law project with the High Judicial Council and Ministry of Justice. Synergy is developing a national Courts Case Management System.


Working directly with the Prime Minister’s office, Synergy customized the Development Assistance Database for the government of Lebanon, and provided intensive capacity building services in the aftermath of the conflict. Considering this emergency situation in Lebanon, the Government placed tight deadlines for the delivery of the complete system. Synergy’s team managed to collect the requirements, implement, and successfully deliver the system within 3 weeks in close collaboration with UNDP, the Government and other stakeholders on the ground.


Synergy has worked closely in Yemen with the recently closed Aid Harmonization and Alignment Unit in the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, implementing a Development Assistance Database (DAD) and Web Portal for national aid coordination and knowledge management. Synergy worked directly with other donors and government counterparts conducting recent training workshops for the DAD.

DAD Extensions

In addition to the Core DAD, which tracks and manages all humanitarian and development projects, Synergy International Systems offers a number of flexible, customizable DAD extensions. These include:

  • Offline DAD - Offers all the data entry and analytical capabilities of the Online Core DAD in situations of limited or no Internet connectivity
  • Executive Dashboard - A Powerful decision-support tool for high-level executives providing a complete workspace with on-click access to up-to-date information and simultaneous viewing of all analytical outputs (reports, charts, maps)
  • Development Partner Profile and Sector Profile - Captures all aid modalities (pooled funds, trust funds, Sector Wide Approaches, etc.), offering a complete picture of aid and evaluating development partner effectiveness, sectoral coverage, and alignment of aid with national priorities
  • Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) - Tracks Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor project level progress in respect to targets/goals. Proejcts are linked to Millennium Declaration Goals (MDGs), Paris Declaration indicators, and nationally-defined indicators in a National Development Strategy or a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) to track progress toward development results
  • Aid Effectiveness Portal - Provides a full range of knowledge management and professional collaboration tools designed to streamline and enhance the work of organizations and individuals in the field of aid effectiveness
  • Public Investment - Plans and allocates Public Investment Program and can be integrated with external assistance modules, budgeting tools, or financial management systems
  • Budgeting - Facilitates top-down and bottom-up budget planning and execution, provides intelligent spreadsheet interface for multiyear budget preparation, and supports budget negotiations

Functions and Capabilities

The DAD serves to enable the effective management of international assistance, to provide a consolidated overview of aid flows, and to expand public information and awareness on development.

The DAD is used to collect, track, analyze and plan Official Development Assistance. This web-based system includes several modules that include listing, report building, a charting and GIS mapping component as well as an executive dashboard that allows several different reports to be displayed at once. Ad hoc reports and queries are all executed on live data.

Each DAD is customized according to the needs of the country. Although each DAD is unique, there is a common user interface, and a similar foundation of data, including detailed information on projects, financial commitments, and disbursements. Comprehensive analytical tools are also included, which empower users to effectively query through data, dynamically create reports, charts and GIS results and easily export items to commonly used formats such as word, pdf and xls.


The effectiveness of a DAD depends largely on a clear government mandate, quality of data available, and donor cooperation. The United Nations Development Programme has analyzed the use of the DAD and is actively involved in reviewing current best practices and building sustainable capacity within government ministries to get the most out of their DAD. UNDP’s package of support combines DAD aid information management systems with intensive capacity development and training to bolster the government agencies leading the coordination response and to promote the effective and accountable use of aid.

In addition, Web-Based ICT tools such as DAD provide an environment for donors and implementing partners to better harmonize their efforts, thus greatly minimizing duplication of resources and activities. Finally, this technology empowers citizens with easy access to knowledge on the reconstruction progress, thereby promoting transparency and accountability.

Synergy International Systems, Inc. is actively engaged in improvements, enhancements, and is working with government line ministries and international organizations in the process of research and development for newer models of the DAD. DAD is currently in its sixth version.

While there have been a few locally developed aid management systems, e.g. in Cambodia, DAD only has one major competitor: the Aid Management Platform (AMP). AMP was created by Development Gateway in partnership with the World Bank, the UNDP, the OECD, and the governments of Ethiopia and India, and has been implemented in 14 countries around the world.

External links


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