Letter to USAID: Establish Specific Indicators for Country Ownership

Note: For more on MFAN’s work on measuring country ownership, see our paper Metrics for Implementing Country Ownership

Download a formatted version of the letter here.

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April 29, 2016

Susan Reichle
Counselor to the Agency

Wade Warren
Assistant to the Administrator for Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL)

U.S. Agency for International Development
Ronald Reagan Building
Washington, DC 20523

Dear Ms. Reichle and Mr. Warren:

As you know, the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) stands ready to work with you to ensure the reforms initiated by the Administration are achieved and institutionalized for future leaders. To that end, we applaud the presentation of a measurement framework and indicators for local ownership and sustainability at the recent PPL Partner’s Meeting. We similarly welcome the opportunity to provide input to the specific indicators that will be included in the mandatory reports to the State Department’s F Bureau (known as the PPRs).

As we said in a recent letter to the Administrator, country ownership and sustainability cannot be fully realized without clear accountability. That accountability would include both indicators and management and staff incentives. We are pleased to see that you have considered MFAN’s Metrics for Implementing Country Ownership, and we would like to use this letter to suggest specific indicators from among the possibilities presented there. As the adage says, “what gets measured, gets done.”

Mandating ownership and sustainability indicators within the Agency is one important element of helping USAID to institutionalize these pillars of aid effectiveness.  As it stands now, ownership and sustainability have no associated performance indicators and, year after year, the urgent has crowded out the important. We applaud the Administrator’s recent call for “strategic patience” and believe that mandating reporting on specific indicators for ownership and sustainability, including some that can be aggregated across the Agency, would help USAID’s leadership, staff and partners prioritize long-term systemic change as well as short-term results.

Respectfully, we submit the following indicators to be reported through the PPRs by all relevant USAID entities. These suggestions follow MFAN’s framework of local ownership of priorities, implementation, and resources leading to sustainability.

Ownership of Priorities:

  • Percent of program objectives derived from and/or aligned with partner country development plans[1]
  • Percent of program indicators derived from and/or aligned with partner country development plans
  • Evidence of joint decision-making on priorities by USAID and partner country institutions

Ownership of Implementation

  • Percent of USAID program funds flowing to local institutions, disaggregated by type of institution and by country
  • Percent of local USAID partners showing improvements on indices of organizational capacity that measure their long-term sustainability
  • Number of local institutions acting as Prime Contractors or Grantees

Ownership of Resources

  • Amounts of USAID investments made to increase domestic resource mobilization (DRM), including partner country government, private sector, and civil society
  • Percent of local co-financing per USAID program and whether this percent has increased since last year
  • Number of ex-post evaluations conducted
  • Number of program outcomes sustained by local institutions as evidenced by ex-post evaluations

Thank you for your consideration of these proposed metrics, and we look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of USAID’s efforts.

Sincerely,

Gregory Adams
MFAN Ownership Working Group Co-Chair
Director of Aid Effectiveness
Oxfam America

Nora O’Connell
MFAN Ownership Working Group Co-Chair
Associate Vice President, Public Policy & Advocacy
Save the Children

[1] Missions would be given the opportunity to explain how earmarks and initiatives may have hindered alignment

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