Afghanistan Information Management Services

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Afghanistan Information Management Services (AIMS) is a Kabul-based Afghan non-governmental organisation (NGO) which works to fill the gap in the information management needs of Afghanistan. It specialises in the application of information, communication and technology (ICT) solutions, software development, and project management.

Background[edit]

In 1997 AIMS was established under the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in Islamabad, Pakistan, to serve the information management needs of Afghanistan. In 2001, it was relocated to Kabul and became a project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Since its inception, AIMS has served the Government of Afghanistan, non-governmental organizations and the international donor community as a provider of information management services including the development of software applications, database solutions, geospatial information and maps. As a preferred trainer for Government employees and provider of management and monitoring systems, AIMS has significantly improved the coordination and delivery of such services within Afghanistan, offering a dynamic approach to capacity building and resolving information management challenges facing the entire development sector.

AIMS is located in a new office facility in Kabul, and in 2002 AIMS established offices in five regional centers: Jalalabad, Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, and Kunduz. The regional offices provide services in information management, capacity development (i.e. job training), and mapping. The maps and geographic capabilities of AIMS were a key resource in the unique post-conflict Afghan development environment.

In 2004, AIMS shifted its focus from simple data provision to the development of information management capacity in the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRA) and the broader humanitarian community, especially in the areas of Geographic Information Systems GIS and database development. Since 2005, AIMS has deepened its capacity in GIS and software engineering with a target of providing world-class services to this developing country.

In September 2008, it transitioned from being a UNDP project into a national NGO. Since becoming an NGO, AIMS has further strengthened its determination to expand its services and expertise both within and outside Afghanistan, and ultimately wishes to make the transition from being a national to an international NGO in the future, providing its IM services across the region and beyond to other developing countries.

Organizational profile[edit]

  • Vision: To be a leading internationally acknowledged information and knowledge management solution provider to Afghanistan and the developing world.
  • Mission: To serve the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, development community, and private sector by building effective information management capacity and providing world-class information management services.

Strategic capabilities[edit]

AIMS seeks to develop a model for establishing different information management systems within appropriate government bodies. In so doing, specialized expertise in these information management systems will be retained in Afghanistan to provide future services and advice to government and facilitating ministries. AIMS believes the capacity to use GIS and databases must be built into all ministerial departments involved in geographical representation of information (spatial planning) and data sharing. Such bodies should be able to collect information related to their operational interests, utilize databases for the storage and maintenance of data, conduct analysis, and then represent the information in a format that promotes better decision support, such as maps or standardized data.

It is critical that technical specialists within line ministries are able to manage the collection of data, develop and maintain suitable databases and maps, conduct analysis, and share this information with colleagues and other ministries in order to ensure its effective use.

With AIMS’ workforce being predominantly Afghan, AIMS has proven to be the key to building information management (IM) capacity in GIRA and the development of IM products for enhancing aid coordination and effectiveness. Ensuring domestic ownership of IM products, and leadership development of the government’s information management workforce, have been the twin foundations through which AIMS has achieved concrete outcomes.

The ultimate goal of AIMS is to promote information management in the Government, humanitarian organizations and the private sector with the objectives of:

  • Improving efficiency, accountability, and transparency in the civil service
  • Increasing the alignment of external resources with national plans and priorities
  • Introducing IM systems that promote better resource management and better emergency response

References[edit]

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