Foreign Assistance Tools and Resources
The Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources (F) provides dynamic tools and resources to assist the U.S. government in foreign assistance implementation, and for the American public to better access and understand foreign assistance.
F tools and resources include:
• Congressional Budget Justification
Each year, F works with the State Department’s Office of Budget and Planning and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to submit the Congressional Budget Justification (CBJ), which highlights funding requirements and priorities for the United States’ foreign affairs budget. Our request is a part of the total federal budget that the President submits to Congress each year. The foreign assistance request makes up less than one percent of the total federal budget. Access all of our CBJ’s here.
• Stabilization Assistance Review (SAR)
F was proud to lead the interagency effort between the Department of State (State), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of Defense (DoD) to complete the Stabilization Assistance Review (SAR). Built upon past lessons learned, the SAR identifies ways in which the United States can best leverage diplomatic engagement, foreign assistance, and defense to stabilize conflict-affected areas. The SAR final report was approved by the Secretary of State, USAID Administrator, and Secretary of Defense in the spring of 2018. Read the final report here.
• Foreign Assistance Data Review (FADR)
The Department of State continues to make progress in its efforts to improve tracking and reporting of foreign assistance data through the Foreign Assistance Data Review (FADR). The FADR was chartered in September 2014 to evaluate the capture and tracking of foreign assistance activity data from budgeting, planning, and allocation through obligation and disbursement. This full report outlines findings and recommendations for improving the Department's ability to track and report foreign assistance data, and approaches to enable more accurate, streamlined, and standardized foreign assistance data across Department bureaus. A FADR Data Element Index identifies 57 data elements that must be standardized and incorporated into the enterprise-wide data management systems.
F manages www.ForeignAssistance.gov, the U.S. government's main tool for improving transparency in U.S. foreign assistance spending. ForeignAssistance.gov publishes foreign assistance data from nearly 20 agencies across the U.S. government, including the Department of State and USAID. Transparency and open data enable stakeholders and the general public to better understand U.S. foreign assistance investments around the world, make foreign assistance more useful for development, and help hold ourselves more accountable.
ForeignAssistance.gov recently launched a data analysis tool that helps users create custom visualizations powered by U.S. foreign assistance data and nearly 300 expertly curated country performance indicators. Users can plot this information to explore trends and spark insights. Users can also build charts to investigate development trends over time or across countries, regions, income groups, and more. Start exploring at www.ForeignAssistance.gov/Analyze.
• Program and Project Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation
In 2017, the Department of State finalized a Program Design and Performance Management Policy that encompasses program design, monitoring, an enhanced version of the existing evaluation policy, and regular reviews of progress. The new policy, which applies to the entire State Department, requires program/project logic models and theories of change aligned to higher level strategies, regular monitoring, evaluation, and data-driven reviews for learning and adapting. Monitoring and evaluation data and findings help managers learn what works, implement course corrections when needed, make informed budget decisions, and provide accountability for the effectiveness of programs. Evaluation reports that are not classified are required to be posted publicly, and can be found here.
The Standardized Program Structure and Definitions (SPSD) is F’s “dictionary,” providing a common set of definitions and a consistent way to categorize and account for State Department and USAID managed foreign assistance. This common language allows us to establish indicators for measuring performance, and to develop a comprehensive body of knowledge regarding program effectiveness. The SPSD is an interagency tool that provides a common vocabulary, and the capability to respond quickly and transparently to stakeholders.
• Program Design and Performance Management Toolkit
The Program Design and Performance Management Toolkit provides the State Department with step-by-step instructions and templates for designing programs, projects, and processes that align with and advance their broader strategic goals, monitoring and evaluating progress and results, and using that information to conduct internal learning.
• Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for the Security Sector
An interagency framework for promoting coordination among U.S. Departments and Agencies operating in the security sector to implement the principles of sound program design and performance management.
• Foreign Assistance Performance Plan and Report
An annual report submitted by all missions and bureaus implementing foreign assistance resources to convey progress towards their foreign assistance strategic objectives.
• Foreign Assistance Standard Indicators
Collected via the Performance Plan and Report, these indicators enable Washington to collect standard data on important program and operational results achieved by individual missions worldwide, and can be aggregated to show overall results for foreign assistance that are used internally as well as for accountability to Congress and the public.