Monday, March 4, 2024

Sunshine Week occurs each year in mid-March, coinciding with James Madison’s birthday and the National Freedom of Information Day on March 16th, with the purpose of educating the public about the importance of open government and the dangers of excessive and unnecessary secrecy.  

This national initiative was created in March 2005 by the American Society of Newspaper Editors. As of January 2024, Sunshine Week was turned over to the Brechner Freedom of Information Project at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. Participants include news media, civic groups, libraries, nonprofit organizations, schools, and all others interested in the public’s right to know. 

Sunshine Week seeks to enlighten and empower people to actively participate in their government at all levels, and to encourage them to seek access to information that improves their lives and communities. Sunshine Week also provides an opportunity for all levels of government to reexamine their role in providing open, accessible, and transparent processes and practical implementations to their relevant freedom of information laws; government functions best when it operates in the open. At USAID, for example, the Data Services team’s contributions to maintaining publicly posted USAID project data on AidScape and IDEA, help to provide a plethora of information to members of the public without the need for a formal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

The FOIA grants individuals the right to access information held by federal executive branch agencies. The FOIA team in the USAID  Bureau for Management, Office of Management Services, Information and Records Division (M/MS/IRD) would like to remind all that USAID is dedicated to the principles that underlie the FOIA and the spirit of Sunshine Week. 

All public inquiries for USAID information should be made using the process outlined here. For access to a plethora of publicly-available records check out our USAID Library of resources which includes information provided from our most common FOIA requests here.   

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