Borrowing best practices from poverty monitoring databases
Given the limited experience with national governance databases and national management of governance data, important knowledge and best practices can be adapted from national databases for monitoring other areas. National databases like DevInfo (www.devinfo.org), developed for monitoring the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), are particularly instructive. The DevInfo software might be a useful starting point for building a governance database in countries that already use this software to monitor the MDGs. DevInfo software offers a database system to organize, store and display data in uniform format, facilitating data sharing between government departments and United Nations Agencies using the same system and enabling the monitoring of social development. DevInfo can be further used as an advocacy tool to encourage decision makers to make evidence-based responses. The degree to which this system responds to identified needs must be individually assessed. See, for example, DevInfo in Malawi: http://www.maseda.info/.
In developing a national governance database, it is important not to duplicate existing efforts within national statistical management. For instance, decisions regarding software should be based on identified needs and on integration with existing systems. In some cases, it might be possible to use or adapt existing software; in other cases, new software will need to be introduced.