On June 19, 2012, Australia’s Agency for International Development (AusAID) announced its decision to close the Australian Development Gateway (ADG), a website for sharing development information and research. The AusAID created the website in 2004 under a World Bank initiative; however, the website’s usefulness has diminished in recent year due to the increased popularity of other social networking and knowledge sharing websites—such as Facebook and Wikipedia.
The World Bank created the Development Gateway in 2000 as a way of using information technology to increase the effectiveness of aid and development efforts. Information technology has the power to increase aid and development effectiveness through faster and more efficient communication and knowledge sharing. In effect, the Development Gateway created a platform for sharing ideas and research in aid and development.
Under the Development Gateway, individual countries could create their own “Development Gateway” that catered to the needs of each country. AusAid created the ADG in 2004 to support its mission of helping people overcome poverty. The ADG created an online meeting place for people and ideas within the Pacific development community. Individuals and organizations could use the ADG to share research, job postings, events, and aid and development opportunities. In the end, the ADG was essentially a social networking website for the Pacific development community used by about 160,000 people.
With the rise in popularity of social networking and knowledge sharing websites, AusAID no longer feels the need for ADG. Because of this reduced need, AusAID decided to close the ADG at the end of June, 2012. Instead, AusAID will use its own website to publish development research, and use existing social and professional network websites to help people in the development community connect with each other. AusAID has already taken steps to shift its online focus from using the ADG to using other websites to fulfill the functions of the ADG. For example, it created a blog in November 2011 to help people connect with AusAID. In addition, AusAID launched its redesigned website in May 2012 to facilitate publishing new research.
Australia sought to take advantage of a valuable resource for increasing development opportunities by creating the ADG under the Development Gateway framework. While the website has been successful, AusAID has decided to close the ADG because its functions can be accomplished by using the AusAID website and other social and professional networking platforms.