U.S. Congress, State Department Must Invest In Data Collection, Evaluation To Improve Foreign Assistance Effectiveness

The Hill: Amen to accountability in foreign aid
Tessie San Martin, president and CEO of Plan International USA and co-chair of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network

“In his first address to State Department staff, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told those assembled: ‘First, I believe that any organization runs best when all of its members embrace accountability.’ And I say, Amen to that. … The U.S. government must encourage publicly available, high-quality, useable data from all aid stakeholders, including itself. … The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) … recognizes the importance of continued progress on accountability, transparency, evaluation, and learning — for improving aid effectiveness and advancing our values alongside our security and economic interests. That belief is reflected in our widely endorsed Guiding Principles for Effective Foreign Assistance. … Cutting this capacity to monitor, evaluate, and learn in our aid agencies is penny-wise and pound foolish. Congress and the administration should follow MFAN’s Guiding Principles and make smart investments to increase the information and impact of our aid. Only then can we achieve Secretary Tillerson’s vision of across the board accountability for results” (8/30).