Development Assistance:

Issues Concerning AID's Social Marketing for Change Program

NSIAD-89-29: Published: Nov 9, 1988. Publicly Released: Nov 29, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed various allegations concerning the Agency for International Development's (AID) Social Marketing for Change (SOMARC) Program, which markets contraceptives for developing countries, to determine whether: (1) AID changed an evaluation of the program to remove criticism; (2) a member of the evaluation team had a possible conflict of interest; and (3) SOMARC was cost-effective.

GAO found that: (1) there was no evidence that AID influenced the SOMARC evaluation report; (2) AID did not review the allegation of a conflict of interest because the contractor responsible for the evaluation failed to notify it that a member of the evaluation team had worked for SOMARC and planned to work for a subcontractor in the future; (3) critics of the program used inaccurate sales data to calculate the program's costs; and (4) although it was unable to determine from available data whether SOMARC was as cost effective as other similar programs, its costs were consistent with those of other programs.

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