Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, addresses the root causes of hunger and poverty through partnerships and innovation. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) leads the initiative’s inter-agency coordination and field implementation. To ensure Feed the Future creates sustainable, long-term change, USAID needs a strong evidence base about what works and what does not, what impact its programs have in each county context, whether these programs are cost effective, and how beneficiaries perceive them.
USAID awarded ME&A a task order for the Feed the Future Global Program Evaluation for Effectiveness and Learning (PEEL) in 2016. PEEL is designed to provide the evidence base USAID needs through population-based surveys (PBSs), performance and impact evaluations, and qualitative and quantitative research and tools. PEEL also promotes knowledge management and learning; trains data collection supervisors and interviewers; designs enumerators for data collection; conducts data analytics; and builds the capacity of host country institutions, USAID missions, and implementing partners. ME&A’s subcontractors on PEEL are ICF International, NORC at the University of Chicago, and Abt Associates.
PEEL has conducted 18 performance evaluations in 31 Feed The Future focus countries that measured results and suggested ways to improve programs. This includes programs expanding sustainable agriculture in Afghanistan; enhancing food security in Mali; leveraging new technologies and volunteers to increase the productivity and profitability of Myanmar’s coffee, soybean, and horticulture industries; improving the production of chicken and eggs by households and small farmers in Tanzania and Ghana; and enhancing Nigeria’s agricultural sector through partnerships and private sector interventions. PEEL also evaluated and suggested to U.S. university consortium’s ways to improve innovation laboratories’ soybean, poultry, and small-scale irrigation research as well as evaluated the U.S. Peace Corps’ approach to food security and nutrition in Senegal and Zambia under its inter-agency agreement with USAID’s Bureau of Food Security (BFS).
Moreover, PEEL developed – in close collaboration with BFS – a complete set of new or revised PBS guidelines, data collection instruments, manuals, etc. that are currently being utilized on PEEL’s first PBS in Mali’s Zone of Influence (ZOI). PEEL also is developing BFS’ Global Interim Indicators Report (GIIR) on progress on up to 13 population-level impact and outcome indicators for populations in the ZOI to measure targeted change in indicator values over a five-year period. The GIIR indicators will be highly relevant to the USG inter-agency partners, BFS, USAID Missions, host country governments, and development partners for strategic planning and program designs.