USAID Remains Committed To Innovative Research, Acting On Evidence

Devex: Opinion: USAID cautiously optimistic about cash benchmarking — and clear about its limitations
Melissa Patsalides, acting deputy assistant administrator in USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning

“…[W]hile we are watching the USAID pilots around cash benchmarking with cautious optimism, we understand it has clear limitations … The 21st-century reality of development is that we work in environments that are unstable, in transition, or consistently evolving. So we need a range of approaches for gathering evidence. In recent years, USAID has really pushed the boundary in this space, with a number of efforts to test measurement methods and approaches and ensure our monitoring, evaluation, and learning ‘toolkit’ is fit for purpose. … I am encouraged by the many examples we already have of USAID staff seeking out and acting on evidence to improve the development results our programs are getting … Here at USAID, we are committed to innovative research, but more importantly to use that data to advance our mission. As others have noted, how we act on evidence is the most interesting part of the story” (10/15).

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