In a time of uncertain budgets, redesign, and shifting leadership, the foreign assistance and evaluation communities have some positive developments to embrace. The new Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidelines on monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of foreign assistance show the Administration clearly understands and supports the value of M&E. The leading foreign assistance agencies … Continue reading Optimism from MCC, USAID, & State on Evaluation & Learning
When the Department of State began implementing its first department-wide policy on evaluation in 2012, it did not do so in a vacuum. The Department engaged with key congressional and partner stakeholders on how best to advance our evaluation efforts, including participating in early discussions on what was to become the Foreign Aid Transparency and … Continue reading Establishing, Monitoring, and Refining an Evaluation Policy at the Department of State
MFAN and The Lugar Center’s recently released study emphasizes the need to translate evaluations into learning for better development impact. One of the report’s recommendations specifically calls on agencies to “work to cluster and synthesize evaluations findings by sector.” With Lessons from MCC’s Investments in Roads, MCC has done just that, drawing on experience from road projects … Continue reading Driving Home the Point: Lessons from MCC’s Roads Projects
In my nearly 15 years working at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), I have seen a range of approaches to, and emphasis on, evaluation at the Agency. Now, from my perch as Director of USAID’s Office of Learning, Evaluation and Research, I am an eager consumer of reports, such as this recent … Continue reading What USAID is Doing to Learn from Evidence
As mandated by the bipartisan Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2016 (FATAA; P.L. 114-191), last month the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued guidance to foreign aid agencies regarding the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of assistance programs. While we and the community remain deeply concerned about drastic budget cuts to … Continue reading Kudos to OMB for Strong Evaluation Guidelines, What’s Next for Implementation?
On February 12th, the Trump Administration released the President’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request recycling much of last year’s drastic and disproportionate cuts to the State Department and USAID. The proposed cuts of 30% threaten U.S. national security, weaken our global standing, and reverse bipartisan progress that has reformed our development policies and modernized our … Continue reading MFAN Community Rejects President’s Proposed FY19 Budget Cuts for State Department and USAID
Download a formatted version of the letter here. *** January 31, 2018 Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20500 Dear General McMaster: We are writing as the Co-Chairs of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN), a coalition of foreign policy … Continue reading MFAN Co-Chairs Letter to General McMaster on National Security Strategy
What are those who care about the role of U.S. foreign assistance in the world to make of the Trump Administration’s National Security Strategy, recently released by the White House? On one level, this important document, mandated by Congress and generally viewed as an administration’s highest order statement of defense and foreign policy, can be … Continue reading Dots Unconnected: The Trump Administration National Security Strategy and American Foreign Assistance
As we begin 2018, the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are reportedly putting the finishing touches on their proposals for a major “redesign” of our foreign affairs institutions. Hopefully, the reorganization will equip State and USAID to respond to the seismic shifts agitating the international landscape, trends that simultaneously create opportunities … Continue reading Five Criteria for Redesign to Succeed in the Field
Last week our Foreign Aid Effectiveness team at The Lugar Center (TLC), in partnership with the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN), released a new report on the role of evaluation and learning in U.S. foreign assistance programs. Why did we take on this project, why now, and what’s next? First, why this project? At TLC we are … Continue reading Are We Really Learning from Evaluations?