Foreign Assistance Should Be Driven By Where Need, Potential Impact Is Greatest

The Hill: Foreign assistance should be directed where the need and impact are greatest
Bill O’Keefe, vice president for government relations and advocacy at Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and executive committee member of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN)

“…One key point [of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network’s (MFAN) Guiding Principles for Effective U.S. Assistance]: the primary focus of foreign assistance should be where need is greatest or where it can have the most impact. … [I]nternational assistance programs should be measured based on their development impact; just as diplomatic initiatives should be measured by their diplomatic impact. Too often Washington is tempted to measure the impact of aid primarily by the national security or economic dividends they yield. While these dividends are very real, they risk distorting the rationale for the work. And if we distort the goals of international assistance, then we might distort the programs and ultimately make them less effective. Furthermore, focusing on political or national security aims, rather than development results, can backfire. … For many of us, including faith-based organizations like CRS, we provide assistance because we believe it is the right thing to do. Fortunately for all of us, saving lives and protecting human security overseas results in greater human security at home as well” (12/1).