Foreign Assistance

Non-Emergency Food Aid Provided Through Private Voluntary Organizations Gao ID: NSIAD-90-179 July 24, 1990

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed non-emergency food aid programs sponsored by private voluntary organizations (PVO) and cooperatives in Saharan Africa, focusing on whether PVO: (1) were less willing to sponsor non-emergency projects, particularly in Africa; (2) encountered implementation problems that affected their willingness to continue sponsoring projects, and whether those problems could be addressed by legislative or administrative action; and (3) financial management systems were adequate to account for food aid commodities donated by the U.S. government.

GAO found that: (1) PVO continued to have a strong commitment to the non-emergency food aid program, and were not withdrawing from it; (2) PVO requested more food for the next five years, but did not have specific plans for additional food use; (3) food distribution in sub-Saharan Africa through feeding projects declined, primarily due to changing opinions, implementing difficulties, and project terminations; (4) PVO sought more reliable funding for project costs, but did not adequately support their need for grants equal to at least 2 percent of the program budget; (5) PVO food sponsors were proposing to develop cost implementation data to help donors evaluate funding needs; (6) the Agency for International Development (AID) worked with PVO to revise program regulations, focusing on clarity, accountability, flexibility, and reporting; (7) AID audits concluded that PVO generally lacked adequate management control systems to account for commodities and funds, making the projects vulnerable to fraud, waste, and abuse; (8) such management weaknesses were primarily due to financial constraints; and (9) AID provided a major food aid sponsor a $500,000 grant to help it resolve common food aid management problems.


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