Recipient country: mistakes to avoid
Recipient country seems like a simple bit of information. It’s the country you work in, after all. And in many cases, it is indeed simple. But there are a few special cases where things get a bit more complicated.
Recipient country is an important field to get right. We base a large number of statistics on this information, like the amounts spent per country in 2022, or specific questions like: how many projects are currently taking place in Ethiopia on gender?
It is also important for those countries themselves. Many developing countries use IATI information for their own budgeting, and there are grassroots organisations which use IATI data to see what is happening in their countries.
The recipient country is often, but not always, the country it takes place in. The most important question to ask if you are in doubt: ‘which country benefits from this activity?’ Some special cases where this may be less clear:
- If there is a parent-child structure, with many child activities in different countries, the parent is usually best labeled with the region that covers all of these countries. If that is impossible, more than one region works, or as a last resort the most general region: ‘Developing countries worldwide’ which has code 998.
- Let’s say you are a Netherlands based NGO, and your partner works locally in Mali. You both publish your activity about this project. Your partner’s activity is published with recipient country Mali. This is straightforward. But what do you do? Even though your organisation works in the Netherlands, your activity’s recipient country should also be Mali. The general rule is: the country that will ultimately benefit from your activity, is your recipient country. You may spend part of your budget in the Netherlands (staff, coordination, flights) but most of it will be disbursed to Mali, and the activity exists to benefit Mali.
- If in the above situation the Mali organisation does not publish in IATI, this is of no consequence for your activity’s recipient country: that is still Mali.
- If you are organising a conference on development cooperation in Canada, where several NGOs and CSOs from developing countries come together, the recipient country is not Canada. There is no specific recipient country, but the region which benefits from this conference is probably ‘developing countries worldwide’ or perhaps a smaller region if that is the focus of the conference.
- You run an activity close to the border of a country at war, in a refugee camp. Because the refugees are all from the country at war, your activity should also have that country as the recipient country.
- It is possible to have two countries in an activity. Maybe you work in an area that spans two countries, for example. If you do add two countries (or two regions) in your activity, make sure that you give them a percentage, and that the total is 100%. This again is important because the ministry (and probably others who use the data) bases financial and other calculations on these percentages.
Please remember that you publish a country OR a region, but not both. In addition, if you can add a specific location to your activity, please do. This also helps everyone who uses your data a lot. This article from last year explains how location data helps many international IATI data users.