Follow the Money


This project aims to map how Italian Official Development Assistance funds are put at work around the world. The main goal is to show Italian citizens how their money is used and how it impacts the life of others.

  • €26,000 Budget in Euros
  • 2013 Final release date
  • Round winner
  • 4 Locations
  • 5 Durations in months

APS (Aiuti Pubblici allo Sviluppo) is the Italian acronym for Official Development Assistance funds (ODA). In recent years of budget restraints, Italian citizens have been asking how their money is put at work and if it has been done effectively. "We need to show and communicate the relevance of APS to fight poverty across the globe," stated ex-minister for development cooperation Andrea Riccardi. People are less willing to see their taxes allocated to ODA, when they are unaware of how the money is being used.

This project maps how ODA funds are put at work around the world and to tell real stories on how the money is used. The main goal is to show Italian citizens how their money is used and how it impacts the life of others.

The team created an observatory at La Stampa with two objectives:

  1. An interactive mapping system showing all the projects funded by Direzione Generale Cooperazione allo Sviluppo, realised by Cooperazione Italiana or NGOs. Readers will be able also to visualise on how APS data has changed over the years; the public expenditures by each country; the different sectors of the Millennium Development Goals and the money that has been spent in these sectors.
  2. Stories. Projects need to have a face, a story. The team chose four different destinations to see how money is being used. They made a web documentary on (2.9 million readers) for each destination, with video and photos. Stories involve the famous photographer Giada Connestari and Camilla Minarelli, the journalists Roberto Giovannini, Francesca Paci and Emanuele Bompan, the latter also responsible for video production and additional shooting. This material is used for print stories in the national newspaper. The project shows that "online" dialogue has stimulated the general public's and academic interest. The project has been researched by Università di Torino and presented at the Journalism Festival in Perugia. Update: in 2013, the team's aim was to continue the project in 2014 to update the data, increase the multimedia experience and assess new projects. They won an additional Development Reporting Grant for Follow the Money 2 and their project is still on-going on the La Stampa website. In terms of outreach, the project has reached over 4 million potential readers so far.

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