In 2006, the Lundy Foundation began advocating for
the inclusion of monitoring and evaluation requirements in U.S.
foreign assistance programs. Since it successfully campaigned to
include assessment provisions in the reauthorization of the U.S.
President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR July 2008),
the foundation began advocating for reform that would mandate similar
requirements in all U.S. foreign assistance.
Representatives of Squire Patton Boggs, which provides
pro bono legal counsel to the foundation, met with members of the
U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee to better understand
the committee’s goals for foreign assistance reform. The Lundy
Foundation organized a task force of evaluation experts who created
a white paper addressing the need for program monitoring and evaluation,
including impact evaluation, which was delivered to the committee.
The House passed the monitoring and evaluation
portion of H.R. 2139 as part of the Foreign Relations Authorization
Act (H.R. 2410), which contained many of the Lundy Foundation’s
proposals. On July 5,2016, President Obama signed the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act (H.R. 3766) codifying key reforms that Lundy has been advocating for to ensure U.S. foreign assistance is transparent, measured, and accountable. Any additional legislation should continue to focus on five core principles:
of all foreign assistance programs. Every foreign assistance
program must conduct some form of monitoring and evaluation to
demonstrate short- and long-term results.
funding. Monitoring and evaluation must be adequately
learned and transparency. Program administrators must
have timely access to evaluation results.
and coordination. A coordinating body should oversee
and coordinate monitoring and evaluation efforts.
- Local capacity
building. Resources should be provided for local populations
and aid recipients to evaluate assistance, reducing the burden
on the United States and increasing program sustainability.
Why allocate funds for monitoring and evaluation when
dollars could be spent on direct aid? Achieving meaningful, long-term
change is as significant as providing immediate assistance. Too
often, well-intentioned organizations contribute resources without
establishing a protocol to measure the impact of their spending.
Sometimes, assistance programs are simply not sustainable. In other
cases, donor actions can become a barrier to achieving program targets.
And as in other areas of government spending, U.S. taxpayers have
the right to know that their investments are being spent efficiently
and effectively to improve the lives of the people receiving direct
aid — that these efforts are providing a positive rate of
return that can be measured in improved well-being.
Identifying performance measures, setting targets,
gathering performance data, evaluating results and making program
changes where needed — these steps enable organizations to
improve the effectiveness of assistance efforts.