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Archive for the ‘MFAN Statement’ Category

MFAN Statement: New Evaluations Advance Transparency and Provide Valuable Guidance for Future Programs

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
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October 23, 2012 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN).

With the release of the first round of impact evaluations, MFAN is pleased that the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) continues to push forward and insist that we prove the effectiveness of U.S. development programs, be transparent about the successes and challenges, and, importantly, learn from our experiences. MFAN’s Co-Chairs and Principals submitted the following statements in support of the evaluations released today.

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“The Millennium Challenge Corporation’s impact evaluations are a tremendous step forward in improving transparency and effectiveness within U.S. development programs. We’ve lobbied for such evaluations for years and are pleased to see the MCC moving forward. They speak to the value and impact of development programs on the ground and will provide a roadmap for improvements. We hope these evaluations encourage Congress to continue to invest in improving the lives of people in developing countries.”

– Rev. David Beckmann, MFAN Co-Chair and President, Bread for the World

“The MCC has been at the head of the movement toward more rigorous monitoring and evaluation of foreign assistance programs, a difficult, complex, and absolutely essential step toward more accountable and effective development.  Tremendous kudos to the MCC for putting its reputation and work on the line through transparent, honest, rigorous evaluations, and sharing the results — thereby allowing us all to learn and setting an example for other development agencies and organizations, both public and private. This path-breaking effort is putting to the test long-held assumptions about how to promote development and is just the type of learning we need if we are to use our assistance resources effectively.”

– George Ingram, MFAN Co-Chair

“From its inception, MCC was designed with a commitment to transparency and evidence-based decision making.  The release of these results puts that promise into action.  The discussion that follows from this and future evaluations is vitally important, because it is only through critical assessment that the MCC will be able to fulfill its dual mission to have greater impact in the lives of the world’s poor while at the same time providing better stewardship of U.S. taxpayer dollars.”

– Jim Kolbe, MFAN Co-Chair and former Congressman

“We applaud the Millennium Challenge Corporation on the publication of its first round of impact evaluations. In addition to providing more rigorous analysis of how U.S.-funded MCC programs are improving the lives of citizens in partner countries, the evaluations contain lessons that will enable the MCC to advance their future policy and programs. ONE continues to be impressed by the MCC’s dedication to transparency, impact monitoring, and poverty reduction.”

– Tom Hart, U.S. Executive Director, ONE

“The MCC’s release of its first independent impact evaluations has set a high bar for other U.S. agencies and for aid agencies around the world. The challenge for the MCC is to integrate its findings, both good and bad, into its future work. The challenge for the rest of us, including those on Capitol Hill, is to understand the subtleties of the results. We should all want to encourage sensible risk-taking and more honest assessments.”

– Todd J. Moss, Acting President and Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development

“MCC has set a very high standard by investing in rigorous evaluation and demonstrating its commitment to transparency and accountability for results — a standard that no other U.S. foreign assistance program has matched.  It is evidence of the agency’s overall commitment to holding itself accountable for results:  MCC was recently ranked 9 out of 72 donors globally for its transparency, ahead of Canada, Germany, Japan, and France.  Other donors, and the U.S. government as a whole, should be paying attention and following suit: that the MCC is willing to show the bad with the good is a risk only to the extent that we have few other institutions to compare them with.

“With these impact evaluations, MCC is serving as a model for bi-partisan efforts in Congress.  The bipartisan Foreign Assistance Transparency and Accountability Act (H.R. 3159/S.3310) sponsored by Reps. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Howard Berman (D-CA) and Sens. Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) (S.3310), would help make this type of rigorous accountability the standard for U.S. foreign assistance efforts.   Congress should act to embrace MCC’s efforts and raise the level of accountability for programs to fight poverty and build a better world.”

– Ray Offenheiser, President, Oxfam America

“MCC deserves an enormous amount of credit for its first round of impact evaluations, which focused on farmer training activities in five countries. Some of the key findings underscore that reducing poverty by changing farmer behavior and improving productivity depends on a number of factors, such as the customizing of training programs, time spent with farmers, and inputs provided. As an organization that is establishing frameworks for companies to measure the social and economic impact of their business operations on individuals and communities, we know how challenging it can be to move beyond the measurement of outputs to fully understand and quantify outcomes. By publicizing its results and sharing how those results will drive program improvements, MCC is modeling a commitment to transparency that other development agencies should follow. The evidence base created will not only inform other development organizations, but also the investments of our member companies in agriculture value chains. Those of us who care deeply about development outcomes, whether driven by business investment or foreign assistance dollars, should support the honest assessment of results embodied in these first impact evaluations as well as the culture of learning they enable.”

– Jennifer Potter, President & CEO, Initiative for Global Development

“Committed to transparency since the beginning, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is truly ‘walking the walk’ through today’s release of its first set of impact evaluations. These evaluations of farmer training programs in Armenia, El Salvador, Ghana, Honduras, and Nicaragua, are honest about what’s working and what could be improved. This transparency is critical to ensuring that women and men are able to make decisions about and truly ‘own’ MCC projects in their countries. We hope that the next series of evaluations will include tools to assess the unique impact of MCC programs on women and girls, such as the use of sex-disaggregated data. For now, though, we hope Congress sees these evaluations as a prime example of the MCC’s leadership in transparency and accountability — principles that we know are vital to ensuring the effectiveness of U.S. international assistance.”

– Ritu Sharma, Co-founder & President, Women Thrive Worldwide

“Impact evaluations aren’t about pass or fail for specific projects. Development programs — and the MCC compacts — comprise multiple complex activities. Some may turn out well, others may flop, and the measure of a strong organization is that it wants to know the difference and learns and improves when it finds out. The MCC is taking brave steps in this direction.”

– Sarah Jane Staats, Director of the Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Initiative, Center for Global Development

“InterAction welcomes the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s release of its first set of impact evaluations. The principles of transparency and accountability are important pillars of effective development for both governmental and nongovernmental organizations alike. The impact evaluations demonstrate the MCC’s commitment to these principles and to implementing programs based on concrete evidence.  The MCC’s willingness to share information on both the successes and challenges of its programs and to apply the lessons learned is a model for the aid community.”

– Sam Worthington, President & CEO, InterAction

 

MFAN Statement: Development Community Declares Support for USAID’s Procurement Reform Initiative

Thursday, September 27th, 2012
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September 27, 2012 (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 that dozens of development practitioners, foundations, implementers, and scholars have joined together to voice support for USAID’s Implementation and Procurement Reform (IPR) initiative. USAID’s IPR initiative will help to empower local citizens in partner countries to drive the development process, combat corruption, and hold their own governments accountable.

Development is a complex process, requiring a collaborative effort by many different types of people, institutions, and organizations. There is bipartisan agreement that in the 21st century, the U.S. must work through a broader spectrum of partners—including local civil society, the private sector, and multilaterals—to increase the effectiveness of precious development resources. Secretary Clinton reinforced this objective this week when she said “…we need to broaden and increase our network of partnerships to advance our work in development,” which Republican candidate Mitt Romney echoed yesterday when he said the U.S. should embrace the  private sector as a development partner.

Whether the goal is improving water quality and sanitation, supporting entrepreneurs through loans and financing, or building hospitals and schools, the last link in this chain is always a community that is eager to take greater control of their own economic development.

President Barack Obama’s 2010 Global Development Policy promised to “Empower responsible governments to drive development and sustain outcomes by working through national institutions rather than around them.” The reforms being pursued by USAID will do just that. We are proud to be joined by a diverse coalition to support this worthy effort.

 

MFAN Statement: Development Must Play a Larger Role in QDDR Legislation

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012
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September 19, 2012 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann, George Ingram and Jim Kolbe:

MFAN applauds the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for taking the first step toward enshrining the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) into law through the passage of S. 3341. However, we remain concerned that the QDDR, while a valuable exercise in determining the scope and trajectory of U.S. diplomacy and development efforts, fails to give the USAID Administrator a clearly defined leadership role in shaping the development portfolio. We understand that the Secretary has the ultimate authority over the QDDR, but failing to give a co-equal voice to what the President Policy Directive on Global Development refers to as “the U.S. government’s lead development agency” will undermine the goals set forth in the bill and walk back any gains made in elevating the role of development.

In its first iteration released in December 2010, the QDDR strengthened development as a core pillar of U.S. foreign policy; put development experts in the lead of marquee Obama Administration initiatives; sought to improve monitoring, evaluation, and transparency; and emphasized country ownership as a cornerstone of the U.S. approach to development. Critically, the USAID Administrator served as a co-chair of the review, ensuring that development concerns would have a voice in the dialogue shaping U.S. policy. The Administrator’s absence from S. 3341 sets a troubling precedent for future reviews.

Specifically, MFAN calls for:

  • USAID Administrator to serve as co-chair for the process;
  • The State Department and USAID to consult with other relevant development agencies to ensure a comprehensive assessment of USG development policy; and
  • A joint State-USAID office for the QDDR, rather than an office solely at State to reflect both components of the review.

While S. 3341 rightly seeks to codify a review of U.S. diplomacy and development programs every four years, the lack of emphasis on a strong and independent development voice implies backsliding in our prioritization of U.S. development efforts. The QDDR’s important assertion that “diplomacy and development must be mutually reinforcing” is not well served by the legislation in its current form.

 

MFAN Statement: Lugar-Rubio Bill Signals Commitment to More Transparent, Accountable Foreign Assistance

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012
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September 19, 2012 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann, George Ingram and Jim Kolbe:

In a period of intense political polarization, MFAN is pleased that members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee came together to pass The Foreign Assistance Transparency and Accountability Act of 2012 (S. 3310) earlier today. This bipartisan legislation demonstrates broad agreement that the U.S. has an important role to play overseas and that we can drive better development outcomes with these critical reforms.

S. 3310 was introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking (SFRC) Member Richard Lugar (R-IN), with the support of SFRC member Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), as a companion measure to H.R. 3159, a bipartisan bill introduced by Representatives Ted Poe (R-TX) and Howard Berman (D-CA) that has garnered 55 cosponsors in the House. Both bills would improve the overall transparency of and accountability for U.S. foreign assistance by establishing a common standard for measuring the performance of programs across every federal agency that administers foreign aid and ensuring that such evaluations and reports are made publicly available to American taxpayers.

S. 3310 builds on bipartisan legislation sponsored by SFRC Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) and Ranking Member Lugar in the 111th Congress (S. 1524)—and approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee—that sought to increase the accountability and transparency of U.S. foreign assistance. It also reinforces important efforts by the Obama Administration to improve aid transparency, including creating the Foreign Assistance Dashboard to collect comprehensive reporting from each agency engaged in overseas development.

The U.S. approach to development must be a partnership between the executive and legislative branches, and we believe the passage of S. 3310 in SFRC is a strong indication of greater cooperation in the months and years to come. We urge the full Senate to approve this bill before the end of the 112th Congress and look forward to working with members of both the House and Senate on its passage.

 

MFAN Statement: Chabot-Isakson Bill Highlights Critical Role of Private Sector in Effective Development

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
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August 2, 2012 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann, George Ingram and Jim Kolbe:

MFAN applauds Representative Steve Chabot (R-OH) for introducing H.R. 6178, which calls for the U.S. government to establish a more effective working relationship with private sector companies that are making critical investments in alleviating poverty, fighting disease, and bolstering economic growth in developing countries. The bill already has bipartisan cosponsors in the House, and companion Senate legislation (S.3495), introduced by Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), has gained support from members of both parties as well.

Both the Obama Administration and the George W. Bush Administration have made positive changes in U.S. global development policy to leverage the private sector’s expertise, resources, and reach, but more needs to be done to fully realize the promise of a closer and better coordinated partnership. Congressman Chabot’s bill drives significant progress by calling for the establishment of a centralized point of contact for companies that are working on development issues, while also mandating more consistent engagement on the ground in emerging markets. These steps would remedy problems of coordination and communication that have existed for decades.

At a time of economic challenges when funding from many donor countries is stagnant, we must establish a stronger partnership on development with the private sector. We look forward to working with Congressman Chabot, Senator Isakson, and other supporters to successfully pass the House and Senate bills.