Foreign Assistance

AID's Population Program Evaluations Have Improved, but Problems Remain Gao ID: NSIAD-92-48 February 21, 1992

In May 1990, GAO reported (see GAO/NSIAD-90-112) that Agency for International Development (AID) program evaluations for population assistance efforts had been "unsystematic, uncoordinated, of uneven quality, and have had relatively little influence on project design and management." While AID has improved its population program evaluation process since that report, problems concerning the consistency and use of evaluation results remain. It is hard for AID or others to evaluate the progress and success of its population assistance program because of the lack of agreement within the agency about the program's objectives; therefore, evaluations are less meaningful and useful in helping senior management make agencywide programming and funding decisions.

GAO found that AID took such steps to improve its population program evaluation process as: (1) establishing an evaluation mandate in its Office of Population; (2) making the Center for Development Information and Evaluation (CDIE) the focal point for analysis, monitoring, and evaluating program performance; (3) expanding its database to provide more complete population assistance data; (4) establishing a data tracking system; and (5) developing a strategy to target resources to the most populous countries. GAO also found that: (1) although AID has taken steps to improve its population program evaluations, AID still experiences problems since it does not uniformly use a combination of various indicators to evaluate its population program; (2) although AID established an evaluation agenda to determine which long-term results were attributable to AID programs, it could not calculate the extent to which AID population programs accomplished agencywide program goals; (3) although the AID Administrator articulated the populations program's objectives, the Directors of the Office of Population and CDIE stated that those objectives would not effectively measure the program's impact, since measuring progress against the Administrator's objective would, for the most part, be technically inappropriate and not feasible; and (4) population assistance evaluations are not systematically linked to agencywide programming or funding decisions.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

Director: Team: Phone:

The Justia Government Accountability Office site republishes public reports retrieved from the U.S. GAO These reports should not be considered official, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Justia.