Tag: USAID

 

Is USAID Set Up to Fail on Disaster Reconstruction?

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With Hurricane Irma now pushing a devastating path through the Caribbean, USAID is gearing up to do what it does best. Its Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DARTs) do amazing work—deploying rapidly in the wake of natural hazards like hurricanes and often bringing the logistical might of the US military with them. These teams go in big and fast to save lives, distribute food, set up emergency shelter, and prevent secondary impacts like disease outbreaks. But then things begin to falter. 

Two Smart Development Bills: Can Many Actors Pursue One Purpose?

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Two bills just introduced in the Senate and the House, both called the Economic Growth and Development Act, take on a central challenge in US development policy and programs: lack of collaboration to mobilize private investment among the 12 departments, 26 agencies, and more than 60 federal government offices involved in delivering aid.

What Tillerson’s Leadership Could Mean for US Development Policy

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The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted yesterday to give the greenlight to Rex Tillerson’s nomination for Secretary of State. Assuming he is confirmed by the full Senate—which at this point is all but certain—Tillerson will play a critical role in shaping US foreign policy from the helm of the State Department with important implications for global development. While, like other nominees, some of Tillerson’s stated positions appear out of sync with those espoused by President Trump, it’s worth examining where Tillerson is on the record when it comes to issues of development and humanitarian relief.

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For over ten years, the international development community, including the US government, has committed to incorporating greater country ownership into the design and delivery of foreign assistance. This paper makes six broad recommendations for how USAID, MCC, and Congress can help the US government build momentum around its efforts to promote country ownership.

The Tillerson Hearings

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No one expects to hear much on development-related matters during next week’s hearing for Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson. But even if they aren’t asked outright, I’ll be listening closely to Mr. Tillerson’s testimony for answers to some fundamental questions about what we can expect from the next four years for US development policy.

A New Look at US Government Approaches to Country Ownership

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Over the past decade, the US government has repeatedly committed to incorporate greater country ownership into the way it designs and delivers aid programs. Though a range of factors—including strong domestic pressures—influence foreign assistance, US aid agencies have taken concrete steps to strengthen country ownership in their programs. A new policy paper, The Use and Utility of US Government Approaches to Country Ownership: New Insights from Partner Countries, draws upon survey data from government officials and donor staff in 126 developing countries to explore partner country perceptions of 1) how frequently the US government engaged in practices associated both favorably and less favorably with the promotion of country ownership, and 2) how useful each of those practices was.

GAO Report Misses the Point on USG Ebola Response

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Having tried and mostly failed to track what was going on with US Government performance and spending on Ebola, I welcome the GAO’s overview of obligations and disbursements by appropriation account and strategy pillar. Now the scope of this report appears to be narrow, so let’s hope there’s more to come. A performance audit should go beyond the money to look at what actually happened; what organizations, activities and products were funded; what were the results on the outcomes that matter—Ebola transmission, rapid control of Ebola outbreaks; whether second-order economic impacts were mitigated; and how outbreak preparedness has evolved over time.

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