Donor Coordination and Project Monitoring Practices--A Foreign Economic Assistance Project Study

ID-80-34: Published: Apr 24, 1980. Publicly Released: Apr 24, 1980.

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An indepth case study of the multidonor Maternal Child Health/Family Planning Project in Kenya was performed to learn more about trends in the Agency for International Development (AID) project management and donor coordination process. This project was selected for study because it was part of a long-range, multidonor effort containing several of the types of assistance usually offered by AID and it was nearing completion. AID assistance was to be in four major areas: technical assistance, participant training, commodities procurement, and recurring cost financing.

GAO found that there was no formal arrangement among the donors to coordinate throughout the term of the project. The absence of donor coordination resulted in specific and overall program goals not being achieved in some assistance areas. Division of assistance responsibilities exacerbated the coordination problem in that the donors never compared for whom each was paying, and donors were not able to determine if the government was paying its share of the recurring costs. Planned objectives were not met, partly due to the absence of a monitoring plan and the lack of required evaluations. The assistance promised in the project agreements generally bore little resemblance to the planned output for the specific years. There were major changes in the technical assistance and participant training areas that were not directed toward project goals.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Director of the International Development Cooperation Agency and the Administrator of AID should take the lead in working with other donors and recipient governments to establish a coordinating mechanism for implementing projects or programs at the country level. The Administrator, AID, should: emphasize the need to include output targets in project agreements for areas of Agency assistance; insure that required annual evaluations are carried out and reported to provide a record of progress in meeting Agency output targets; include requirements in the project assistance handbook for specific identification of financial and program data needs for output monitoring; consider refinements to the present system of grant accounting to provide missions with information on costs funded from sources outside the project, particularly those associated with contracts centrally funded and managed by AID in Washington; and reemphasize the need for project managers to obligate funds only in pursuit of project goals and require that reasons for any changes during the project are adequately documented. The AID Auditor General should review the adequacy of the procedures supporting Government of Kenya salary cost reimbursement requests and take appropriate action to insure that the U.S. mission adequately documents these reimbursement requests, and disseminate information on findings having widespread application for area auditors general in reviewing other projects containing similar types of assistance.

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