High-level Impacts

We are a group of actors working towards a world where the value chain for agriculture and nutrition is more efficient, innovative, equitable (e.g. by gender, socioeconomic status) and accountable; from, for example, greater yields and access to markets for farmers, through to more nutritious and safe food on plates.

We believe that improving the open availability, use and enrichment of data, and meaningful engagement with stakeholders will enable this vision. We observe that the agriculture and food sector currently suffers from information asymmetries and closed data practices that limit progress, value generation and the fair distribution of resources. Open data has already been shown in some parts of the value chain, and in other sectors, to enable impacts through:

Intermediate-level impacts

  • Data-driven decision making, innovation and business creation
  • Improved service delivery
  • New, improved and more accessible information products, empowering individuals, businesses and communities    
  • Increased transparency of decision making and accountability 
  • Increased access to data in disadvantaged constituencies that is already available to actors in well resourced contexts;
  • Increased interoperability of data
  • Improved understanding of impact of open data
  • Improved understanding of stakeholders on how to use and handle open data




Realising this vision requires an immensely complex system of actors from diverse fields, specialisations, jurisdictions and sectors of the economy acting individually and, importantly, in concert. They need to feel and function as parts of a network/movement/ “ecosystem”. We will proactively seek to address gender balance in our engagement.



  1. A common vision, agenda and set of objectives held by the community network members
  1. An overarching enabling policy, political and technical environment at the national, and international level (e.g. commitments to publishing data, commitments to funding for innovation and projects on open data for agri projects etc.)
  1. Network effects (strong connections and alliances) from having time to meet, speak and build relationships that cross sectoral, geographic and thematic boundaries
  1. Shared tools and evidence base for activities - assets, policy and advocacy messages, activity/ data maps, case studies (this is also an Outcome for GODAN Action




GODAN Secretariat exists to convene, equip and empower the network of actors, especially high level actors

  1. Convening the ecosystem: bring key actors together as members of the GODAN network, providing space for conversations, priority setting collaboration and ideas at events, showcases and data hacks.
  1. Equipping the ecosystem: collect & compile tools, stories, case studies, and papers
  1. Empowering the ecosystem: advocating for high level political and policy actions that enable action on the ground; that unlock greater data availability, that create public commitments from key actors, and that create space/funds for innovation/ activities for men and women.


GODAN Action exists to build understanding of the open data ecosystem and to develop practical models for improvements in the capacity of network actors from policy to value chain to farmer.
  1. Map and identify gaps in standards, and improve interoperability
  1. Build measures of impact for use in assessment by others as a result of understanding of what works
  1. Build capacity to address bottlenecks in open data use. Develop training materials and deliver innovative training.


  • Organise events - convene member events, showcases, hackathons etc. with at least one large partner event per year and several smaller events (including side-events) organised by partners with some secretariat input.
  • Create tools and intellectual assets - collect and publish discussion papers, case studies, narratives, mapping exercises.
  • Own the vision for GODAN (and its Statement of Purpose), and promote and grow the network, broadening the partner base and stimulating participation in partner organisations.
  • High level advocacy / lobbying for an enabling data, policy and political environment through direct policy engagement, exploitation of event and working group opportunities, use of champions and network contacts, and media engagement.
  • Create a professional, resourced secretariat, capable of delivering the above, liaising with steering mechanisms, and monitoring the results of own activity through use of surveys and records of partner engagement and activity of partners, and media tracking.


  • Improving data interoperability by mapping relevant standards and identifying gaps; research upscaling and pilot interventions; development of guidelines for standards and interoperability through an online platform for collaboration and dissemination.
  • Improving impact assessment by evaluating initiatives aimed at improving agriculture and nutrition; populating a knowledge reservoir with information about relevant methods, tools and use cases for impact evaluation of interventions aiming at triggering innovation.
  •  Increasing the understanding of stakeholders by developing a capacity building plan to address bottlenecks in open data use; development of training materials; delivery of training courses and the development of innovative training products.


            In order to realise synergies within the overall GODAN initiative, the approach will be to design and implement an iterative Research Uptake strategy that makes it possible to collectively learn from and mutually contribute across focal areas.


This document aims to outline, in narrative form, the Theory of Change for the GODAN Secretariat and the GODAN Action initiatives.

This Theory of Change was prepared for the GODAN secretariat by Liz Carolan of the
Open Data Institute April 2015, (Liz.Carolan@theODI.org) and edited and supplemented
by the Secretariat in June and August 2015, and again with GODAN Action in October 2016.
It is a living document and will continue to be subject to discussion.