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Archive for April, 2011

Partners Speak Out on MFAN’s New Agenda

Friday, April 29th, 2011
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See below for a collection of quotes from MFAN Principals and Partners on the new agenda and how policymakers can build on already significant reform progress to make U.S. global development efforts more effective at alleviating poverty, eradicating disease, and driving sustainable economic growth in developing countries:

“When effectively delivered, U.S. assistance will accelerate inclusive growth, reduce poverty, improve people’s lives, support stability and build democratic governance in fragile states. Those results support American security and contribute to our prosperity.”

-G. William Anderson

“In this tight budget environment, we must ensure that U.S. foreign assistance programs are more effective, results-driven and accountable, and stretch taxpayer dollars to create lasting change for children around the world. Foreign assistance should be driven by local priorities, through consultation and partnership with local civil society organizations to best serve the needs of vulnerable children and their families in each community. These principles, included in the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network’s From Policy to Practice: Maximizing the Impact and Accountability of U.S. Global Development Efforts, underpin the critical reforms the U.S. government must make to better promote sustainable poverty reduction and build a stronger and more stable world for all of us.”

-Charles MacCormack, President and CEO of Save the Children

“ONE welcomes MFAN’s New Reform Agenda that lays out concrete steps to make the most out of the less than 1 percent that America spends in the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease.  Making U.S. efforts more efficient, more accountable, and driven by local priorities will help ensure that U.S. development policy is both sustainable and delivers results.  ONE looks forward to working with MFAN to promote these vital reforms and strengthen America’s life-saving work in the poorest places in the world.”

– Sheila Nix, U.S. Executive Director, ONE

“Over the last two decades, we have learned all around the globe what makes development effective: local ownership, a clear emphasis on results, accountability, transparency, and a lively partnership with other donors, civil society and the private sector.  The real challenge now is to effectively reform our own system of delivering assistance so that we fully capitalize on those best practices, and that is exactly what MFAN has been working so hard to achieve.”

-John Norris, Executive Director, Sustainable Security Program, Center for American Progress

“Today foreign aid is getting a boost in effectiveness. The time is now to bring our aid practices into the 21st century. We don’t drive cars manufactured the way they were in the 1960s, so why is our government still delivering aid built on legislation from the 1960s. MFAN’s new global development model delivers clear, practical recommendations for how policymakers can build on already significant reform progress in making the most of U.S. aid dollars in fighting poverty.”

-Ray Offenheiser, President, Oxfam America

“As an alliance of business leaders working to reduce global poverty, the Initiative for Global Development endorses MFAN’s updated policy agenda and its emphasis on achieving the most from our scarce government resources in the short-term, as well as creating a system that over the long-term delivers sustainable results. Our country’s approach to global development needs to be further sharpened to better measure impact, target resources to what works, leverage contributions of the private sector and strengthen poor countries so they can meet the needs of their own people, with the ultimate objective of transitioning from a relationship based on aid to a partnership based on trade and investment.”

-Jennifer Potter, President and CEO, Initiative for Global Development

“In our interconnected world, global challenges are American challenges. Alleviating poverty, creating growing, stable economies in developing countries, curing disease — these are goals that would lessen human suffering around the world. And because many of our security and economic concerns are globally linked, these very goals should top America’s foreign policy agenda. America’s overwhelming military power will not address these challenges — we need stronger tools for foreign assistance. The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network’s agenda lays out how we can more effectively lessen suffering while creating a more stable world — one that will be better for all of us.”

-Jon Rainwater, Executive Director, Peace Action West

“The reformed and strengthened strategy for U.S. foreign assistance not only increases the efficiency and effectiveness of American dollars spent overseas, but also ensures closer integration of development, environmental sustainability and national security interests.”

-Carter Roberts, President and CEO, World Wildlife Fund

“We have an obligation to ensure that we are using foreign assistance to achieve the maximum impact in improving the lives of the poor and vulnerable around the world.  This responsibility becomes only the more critical at a time of tight budget constraints. MFAN has built consensus among key stakeholders on an actionable set of reforms to modernize the way that we provide foreign assistance. A principle at the heart of those proposed reforms is that we ensure accountability for results both to donors and the people we serve. Now is the time to come together and adopt these crucial reforms.”

-George Rupp, President and CEO, International Rescue Committee

“Severe budget cuts in Washington to U.S. international assistance programs threaten to truly turn into ‘cuts that kill’ at a time of political instability, economic distress and rising food prices worldwide. The need for a robust, inclusive and effective foreign assistance system has never been greater. For women, the majority of the world’s poor and hungry, this is doubly true: it has taken fifty years for U.S. foreign assistance to meaningfully integrate gender into its programs. Now is not the time to step back.  This is the moment to grab the real chance we have to recreate a system that works for our own national interest and for millions of the world’s most vulnerable citizens. MFAN’s new reform agenda lays out a blueprint to make such a future real.”

-Ritu Sharma, Co-founder and President, Women Thrive Worldwide

“MFAN is a unique coalition with an important agenda to make U.S. global development investments more strategic, effective and accountable. Through sound improvements, the U.S. government can take great strides in helping poor people around the world while also advancing American values, economic interests, and security.”

-Noam Unger, Fellow and Policy Director, Foreign Assistance Reform Project, Brookings



Aid reform — the path ahead

Thursday, April 28th, 2011
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See below for a blog post from Gregory Adams, director of aid effectiveness, which first appeared on MFAN Partner Oxfam America’s Politics of Poverty blog:

The United States government has made real progress in the last few years to make its efforts to fight global poverty more effective. President Obama’s new Global Development Policy, released in September, is the centerpiece of these efforts. The new policy—and implementing reforms at USAID—have been rightly celebrated. But much more remains to be done to make the U.S. a true global leader in the fight against poverty.

Today, the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network—of which Oxfam is a founding member—released its updated agenda for reform. The highlights:

  • Reduce waste by fixing old problems: for example, the US government’s outdated model of delivering food aid wastes about $600 million per year;
  • Provide clear, accurate data: The Foreign Assistance Dashboard (screen shot right) is a great first step—but it needs to be expanded to include more data that will actually help citizens in poor countries demand better results, such as strategy papers and evaluation data;
  • Get Congress on board with reform: so far, reform measures have not been put in law, meaning that they could be easily changed or gutted. Congress has been eager for reform; the President needs to get their buy-in to protect reform;
  • Be clear that diplomacy and development are different: good diplomacy and good development are not always the same thing. Acting strategically means making hard choices, so development professionals need to have the same voice and vote as diplomats when setting priorities;
  • A nurse supplies a female patient with a prescription at Kibuga health center in Kibuga, Rwanda. Photo by Kate Hold/Oxfam

    Make sure poor people’s needs come first: we can’t end poverty by making all the decisions in Washington; priorities need to be set by poor people themselves. This means getting rid of earmarks that undermine country priorities, and funding the things that citizens and governments tell us they need, rather than the things that we Americans think they need;

  • Keep rebuilding USAID: Administrator Raj Shah has been making great strides to rebuild USAID to serve America well by fighting poverty; Congress needs to back him up with the resources to finish the job.

Taking these steps won’t end global poverty; that task is up to poor people themselves. But by making these changes, the United States can do a better job of helping poor people and their governments win the fight against poverty.


MFAN Statement: An Updated Agenda for Foreign Assistance Reform

Thursday, April 28th, 2011
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April 28, 2010 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann, George Ingram, and Jim Kolbe:

We are pleased to unveil MFAN’s updated policy agenda for reforming the U.S. approach to global development. Our new guiding document — From Policy to Practice: Maximizing the Impact and Accountability of U.S. Global Development Efforts — builds on the bipartisan principles upon which MFAN was founded three years ago, while acknowledging the fiscal and geopolitical challenges that America faces.

Our nation’s fiscal challenges make reform more important than ever. As part of policymakers’ efforts to reduce the long-term deficit, the less-than-one percent of the federal budget that goes towards alleviating poverty, eradicating disease, and bolstering equitable economic growth in developing countries continues to be threatened with cuts. At the same time, fast-moving and complex global events, including the turmoil in the Middle East, the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and an emerging global food crisis demand that we use all the tools of our foreign policy — defense, diplomacy, and development — to drive outcomes in line with the aspirations of people in developing countries and the U.S. national interest.

Policymakers must prioritize reform so that we can get the most out of the resources we have for development in the short term and create a system that will deliver better results over the long term. In From Policy to Practice we argue that policymakers can take a series of practical and cost-effective steps to reach these goals and build on the historic progress that has already been made on reform:

  • Give reform durability by forging bipartisan agreement on key reforms that can be codified in law.
  • Bolster accountability across our assistance programs by expanding new initiatives like the Foreign Assistance Dashboard (, which allows people to access clear information about funding and results, to include all federal agencies’ foreign assistance programs.
  • Increase local ownership of, and responsibility for, assistance programs by making sure decisions on development spending are driven by developing-country priorities and realities, rather than just a Washington perspective.
  • Ensure assistance is more strategic by better defining the differences between development-focused efforts and national security-focused efforts, and making changes to the way we plan, fund, and execute programs as a result.
  • Make U.S. food assistance programs more effective by eliminating restrictions that impede efficient procurement and delivery.
  • Utilize administrative and legislative tools to fully implement USAID’s internal reforms.

Taking these steps on reform will not only strengthen our hand in dealing with challenges both near and far, it will help protect the historic development gains that the U.S. has driven over the last decade and accelerate further progress in the future. We urge policymakers to take action now.

About MFAN

MFAN is a reform coalition comprised of international development and foreign policy practitioners, policy advocates and experts, concerned citizens, and private sector organizations. MFAN was created to build upon the bipartisan consensus that has emerged over the last decade that the U.S. should play a leadership role in achieving economic growth and reducing poverty and suffering around the world, and that we can play this role more effectively, efficiently, and transparently. In 2011-12, MFAN will monitor and encourage the Administration’s development policy reform agenda and support action in Congress to achieve bipartisan agreement and legislation in support of reform. For more information on foreign assistance reform, and to read our proposal, visit

For additional information, please contact Sam Hiersteiner at 202-295-0171 or

MFAN Partner Event with Rye Barcott: May 9th

Monday, April 25th, 2011
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MFAN Partner event

Please Join Us for a Book Event to Discuss the Connections between Economic Development and Global Security


It Happened on the Way to War




Rye Barcott

Author & Co-Founder of Carolina for Kibera


Date: May 9, 2011

Time: 4:00 – 6:00 PM

Venue: Bread for the World, 425 3rd Street SW, Suite 1200


Please RSVP to Jenni Rothenberg at

About the Author

Rye Barcott co-founded the non-governmental organization Carolina for Kibera (CFK) while he was an undergraduate at the University of North  Carolina at Chapel Hill.

After graduation, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 5 years in Iraq, Bosnia, and the Horn of Africa. Mr. Barcott then earned master’s degrees in business and public administration from Harvard University, where he was a Reynolds Social Entrepreneurship Fellow and a George Leadership Fellow.

In 2006, ABC World News named then Captain Barcott a ‘Person of the Year’ for his dual service to Kibera and the Marine Corps. In 2009, he joined the inaugural class of TED Fellows. In 2011, he was named as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and daughter and works in the Sustainability Office at Duke Energy.

Learn more about It Happened on the Way to War

The Trade, Aid & Security Coalition is dedicated to promoting widely-shared global opportunity and prosperity, peace and security through building alliances between diverse sectors of stakeholders.

The Business Council for Global Development is a coalition of leading companies that work with governments, multilateral organizations and nongovernmental organizations to promote global development.

MFAN is a reform coalition composed of international development and foreign policy practitioners, policy advocates and experts, concerned citizens and private sector organizations. MFAN was created to build upon the bipartisan consensus that has emerged over the last decade that the U.S. should play a leadership role in achieving economic growth and reducing poverty and suffering around the world, and that we can play this role more effectively, efficiently, and transparently.

Stimson Center Releases New Report on Security Assistance

Thursday, April 21st, 2011
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a-new-way-forward1Yesterday, the Stimson Center released a new report, “A New Way Forward: Rebalancing Security Assistance Programs and Authorities,” that analyzes U.S. security assistance in a changing environment. Given the drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan and the events throughout the Middle East and North Africa, the report explores the purpose of our security assistance and the expansion of programs at the Defense Department. Ultimately, the report suggests security assistance programs should be focused on the broader goal of governance, offering appropriate action steps and recommendations for a transition strategy. The report reads:

“A narrow focus on security in US security assistance programs misses this vital connection. It de-links support for security forces from the need for effective, efficient, and accountable governance. Historically, military and other security forces empowered through security assistance programs in countries with weak governance have too often led to diminished accountability, authoritarian government, military coups, and human rights violations.”

“This report argues that the US security assistance portfolio should be restructured around the objective of effective, efficient, and accountable governance. This framework links security assistance to the objective of building effective state institutions that can provide internal and border security; protect the rule of law, including adhering to internationally recognized standards of human rights; support a duly constituted, responsive government; meet the needs of the citizens; and facilitate social and economic development.”

The report goes on to say U.S. security assistance programs should be guided by three overarching principles:

  • Reinforce U.S. civilian leadership of security assistance programs;
  • Maintain DOD train and equip programs; and
  • Task and empower civilian capacity to implement broader security sector assistance.

To read the full report and the list of recommendations for Congress and the Administration click here.