In 1969, Congress created the Inter-American Foundation (IAF) as an experimental program to provide new direction and emphasis for U.S. aid to Latin America. IAF assistance is characterized by: (1) independence from U.S. and host governments' short-term foreign policy objectives; (2) responsiveness to the initiatives of Latin Americans; and (3) nonintervention in the affairs of groups supported. In the spirit of the present administration's scrutinization of foreign assistance programs, GAO undertook an extensive review of IAF.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Inter-American Foundation||1. The President of IAF should direct the staff to: (1) require that the grantees develop specific objectives which the staff believes are attainable; and (2) increase attention to the use of grant funds at the project level to verify application of funds in accordance with agreed terms.|
|Inter-American Foundation||2. The President of IAF should clearly define a monitoring policy which calls for the staff representatives to: (1) carefully plan monitoring activities to provide coverage of all active grants to better ensure timely identification of problems causing delays or cases of mismanaged funds; (2) play an active, constructive role assisting grantees faced with problems hindering project progress to identify possible options or sources of help; and (3) regularly check, during country visits, on grantees who are overdue in fulfilling reporting requirements.|
|Inter-American Foundation||3. The President of IAF should: (1) establish explicit policy guidelines and operating procedures for an active coordination program, setting forth the responsibilities expected at each staff level; and (2) establish a systematic approach to information dissemination so that valuable experiences are effectively communicated within IAF and to interested agencies, organizations, and individuals.|