What does the aid review look like?

21 February 2011

by Danielle Cave, Editorial team, Interpreting the aid review

There have been a total of 288 submissions to the independent review of aid effectiveness. This totals over 1000 pages of text that the aid review panel is currently trawling through.

At the suggestion of Matt Morris of the ANU's development policy centre I compiled the majority of the 288 aid review submissions (not including the small number of handwritten submissions or duplications) into one word document and created a word cloud (through wordle). This 'aid review word cloud' was tweaked so that numerals, plurals and common words ('and', 'or', 'etc') were taken out.

While not an exact science (and something I regretted taking on 4 hours in), the outcome is pretty fascinating. The resulting word cloud below represents 120 words that received the highest number of mentions in the aid review submissions:

In order to make this 'top-120' word cut, a word had to be mentioned more than 250 times. For example, 'PNG' just missed out with 220 mentions, however, arguably PNG would have made it if the software had been able to count 'Papua New Guinea', in addition to, 'PNG'. Unfortunately it cannot, hence, not an exact science. 

Regardless, it will be interesting to see which of the themes above prove prominent (or not) in the recommendations to come out of the aid review. 

Word count totals that caught my eye:

  • NGOs - 389
  • UN - 225
  • research - 710
  • pacific - 530
  • knowledge - 244
  • media - 83 (communications - 37)
  • foundations - 22
  • US - 96
  • UK - 80 (DFID - 79)
  • Africa - 251
  • women - 419
  • Pakistan - 47
  • education - 549
  • minister - 83
  • development - 2907
  • transparency - 199 (EDITOR'S NOTE: late addition after a query)


And words that didn't make such a splash?

Iraq, Icelandic, Wikileaks, mother-in-law, Gillard, socceroo, Afghanistan, McDonalds, ferrari, G'day, hodge-podge and value-for-money all received 3 mentions or less.


3/16/2011 11:45:02 PM #
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