U.S. Congress Should Fund Mechanisms To Gather Evidence On Development Outcomes, Impacts Of Foreign Aid

Devex: Opinion: Federal budget claims support for evidence, but slashes funding for it
Shiro Gnanaselvam, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Social Impact

“…I agree with [U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s] statement that ‘more money doesn’t necessarily mean better outcomes.’ However, I would argue you do need to fund the mechanisms designed to gather evidence about the outcomes and impact of foreign aid. The proposed fiscal year 2018 foreign assistance budget slashes funding for the very activities that provide this evidence. If we want the U.S. taxpayer to believe the U.S. government is serious about using evidence for effective foreign aid, Congress should restore this funding. … While further improvement is certainly needed, decimating the very mechanisms in the agency that will enable meaningful reform and increase programmatic impact is not the way to go. So, what is the way to go? Here are three things that should happen as the USAID budget moves through Congress. Use the principles outlined in Chapter 6 of the budget to make downstream budget decisions. Protect the funding mechanisms responsible for monitoring, evaluation, and learning. Build up (and reform where necessary) the structures, tools, and systems for evidence-based decision-making. Do not eliminate them just as they are starting to deliver results…” (6/20).