Survey on Evaluation of US Government Foreign Assistance

From: “ccwincek”
Date: Mon, 08 Sep 2008 21:23:45 -0000
Subject: Survey on Evaluation of US Government Foreign Assistance
Dear Fellow Evaluators (and colleagues interested in evaluation),

In 2001, we completed a study for USAID (CDIE) called the Evaluation of USAID’s Evaluation Experience. With all of the recent discussion of Foreign Assistance Reform, we thought that this would be an ideal time to update the study and broaden beyond USAID to all US Government funded foreign assistance. Many of the analyses, recommendations, and reports on U.S. foreign assistance reform emphasize how important it will be to improve monitoring and evaluation efforts. None of them say how. This is the question we seek to explore with your input.

We have developed an anonymous, online survey and would be very appreciative if you would complete it; the link is below. You can complete Sections 1-3 of the questionnaire which are quick response questions; and/or Section 4 which has open-ended questions, if this is your preference.

This is the link:

This link will be open until September 22, 2008.

If you just have a couple of thoughts and would rather email us back, that would be great too. If you are near Washington, D.C. and would like to talk, contact us and we’ll see what we can schedule. Please feel free to forward this link to other colleagues.

Many thanks for your participation.
Cindy Clapp-Wincek
Richard Blue

Definition of evaluation
For this study, evaluation is defined as an effort to assess the value of a program/activity and explain why it worked or why not. Evaluation looks at the intended and unintended consequences of foreign assistance, both positive and negative.

Originally, we considered simply repeating the 2001 meta-evaluation and even approached USAID. But we decided it would be best to undertake the effort independently with a slightly different angle. We thought we should focus on the view of those of us in the foreign assistance evaluation community who do not work directly for the government but do evaluate US Government foreign assistance. We will look most directly at USAID and Department of State evaluation but would be interested in experiences of Millennium Challenge Corporation and any other USG foreign assistance evaluation as well. Please note that Management Systems International is doing the study to look
directly at evaluation systems and practices in USAID.

This questionnaire was designed for external evaluators i.e. that do not work for the US Government. If you do work for the USG and/or are not an evaluator but would like to share your views, please do so but be sure to complete section 5 so we understand where your comments are coming from.

Our purpose in conducting this study is to present the viewpoints and judgments of those people who have actually conducted foreign assistance evaluations for the USG to as wide a range of interested stakeholders as possible and through as many outlets as possible. Your suggestions as to appropriate ways to do this would be very helpful.

American Evaluation Association Meeting Panel
We did organize a session at the AEA Annual Meeting in Denver on evaluation policy for USG foreign assistance. Presenters have agreed to participate from USAID, Office of the Director of Foreign Assistance, Department of State, and Millennium Challenge Corporation to talk about their evaluation policies. We plan to include a few comments on this study there. The session is scheduled for Friday November 7, 2008 from 9:15 to 10:45am (Panel Session 504).


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