If you use Aidstream, it is possible you have gotten warnings that your activity doesn’t comply with the Netherlands MFA guidelines. This is one of Aidstream’s newer features, and we frequently get questions about this. How should you interpret these messages in Aidstream?

Aidstream has integrated the Dutch Publishing Guidelines into its product. When you add the Netherlands as your donor, it checks if our guidelines are properly implemented. It may find missing elements, and warn you about this. This is a useful addition, and we hope it helps you publishing good data. However, there are some nuances that we would like to explain in this Technical Tip.

Above your activity, you see a link to the NL MFA Guidelines. If you click on that, you will see a list of all elements which are usually required by us:

If you have an Aidstream PRO account, you also get a list of what is missing from those mandatory elements. This may look like this:

Hopefully, this helps improving your activity’s data. For example, in the above screenshot, the system tells you to add provider organisation info on incoming funds. It is indeed true that all incoming funds need provider information (including provider activity ID!).

In other cases, it is harder to determine if these warnings are correct. In this example, Aidstream says you need to enter outgoing commitments. This is only a correct warning if you have implementing partners. It also says disbursements are required. This may be correct, but you may not have implementing partners, and even if you do, you may not have disbursed any funds yet. You can’t add transactions that don’t exist.

A similar situation exists if you work with a parent-child structure. A parent activity is an umbrella which groups your projects under, usually, a programme. The parent often has less data: it often has no country or region, no locations, and no results, because they are most often covered in the child activities.

In conclusion, this new feature in Aidstream could help you publish better data, but the MFA requires some elements only in some cases. It remains important to always use your common sense, and when in doubt, check our Publishing Guidelines.

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