And so it was with Publish What You Fund, an organisation that was established only six years ago but has already been enormously influential in taking forward its mission – to persuade aid organisations to be transparent about how much aid they are giving, where and for what.
Why do they do this? Well, one story that we heard when helping them to renew their strategy was that after Typhoon Hyan hit the Philippines, the government had little idea as to what aid was arriving in the country, leading to real problems in knowing how best to help those in need.
This problem goes right through the aid sector, leading to inefficiencies and, on occasion, corrupt or inappropriate use of aid.
So this small band of people set out to change this situation, and six years later over 200 donor organisations have started publishing their information in a common, open standard that can be freely accessed, used and compared.
How have they been so successful? Rachel Rank, Deputy Director said: “People often say to us ‘Oh you are so lucky having such a clear focus for your work’, to which we reply – ‘That is no mistake’. The clear request that we are making of aid organisations – and the fact that we closely track their progress through an annual Aid Transparency Index, just makes our job a lot clearer. Not easy, but clear”.
Recent big wins include France, Japan and the U.S. starting to make their aid information more available. This was a result of targeted advocacy combined with technical advice by the organisation.
Publish What You Fund asked One Leadership to help them to renew their strategy. When your organisation is trying to lead big change in the world, shifting systems or taking on the most complex challenges, we liken the process to trying to move an elephant – if you only have a small amount of pressure to apply, you need to ensure that your pin is sharp. And that your team is working as one to apply that pressure together.
Liz Steele, European Representative, said: “Alister and Ollie from One Leadership helped us work through an enormous amount of possible options whilst at the same time creating an even greater sense of cohesion and fun in the team at a time when we could easily have descended into long-winded discussions that made little progress. By developing a positive environment of trust and creativity they enabled us to identify our strengths and address our challenges, empowering us to work together more effectively to take forward our strategic planning process.”