Yet another quiet couple of months on the blogging front can be explained by me feverishly working on a number of projects as I reach my 2 year anniversary in Myanmar. The latest of these has been the launching of the Open Myanmar Initiative’s Budget Dashboard, which is now available online here:
The website, which I helped develop using the open-source R language and the free Shiny library provides the first user-friendly interface for exploring Myanmar’s budgets both at the Union level and across all 14 States and Regions.
Although there is still a long way to go before citizens become genuinely engaged with the budget process, I think this is a significant first step in the right direction and will allow interested citizens, researchers and businesses to more easily examine where public money is spent, so a conversation about where it should be spent can be had. I’m also encouraged to see public finances have been included in the National League for Democracy’s economic polices.
The budget dashboard is part of the Asia Foundation’s support of an open budget process in Myanmar in partnership with the Open Myanmar Initiative (OMI). OMI’s Budget explorer was developed by Ewan Keith, Loren Velasquez and Giles Dickenson-Jones with the help of Statistics Without Borders.
* Postscript: As an update, the original budget dashboard described in this post has since been taken over (and greatly improved!) by the locally based budget and parliamentary transparency organization ‘The Ananda’. The link has been updated to reflect this.