ONE has big asks ahead of the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-IV) in Busan, South Korea, starting on November 29th. Making donors accountable for where their development assistance goes through increased transparency will improve the effectiveness of aid across the board, or in this case –- across the chalkboard. In February 2011, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) released a new education strategy, called “Opportunity Through Learning.” The strategy contains some great examples of how donor agencies can translate aid effectiveness principles, which can often seem abstract and obtuse, into effective development strategies.
The education strategy implements concepts from USAID’s Forward Initiative, launched in 2010. The Forward Initiative outlines key reforms that allow USAID to better incorporate aid effectiveness principles into their work. USAID’s main goal in the new education strategy — and a key priority for ONE at Busan — is that development programs should be focused on real, measurable results. This principle is the backbone of the education strategy. Goal No. 1: Improve the reading skills of 100 million primary school children by 2015. In its efforts on Goal No. 1 alone, USAID emphasizes the importance of country-ownership, sustainability, the need for gender-sensitive approaches, the importance of measurable results and the use of innovative technologies and practices.
The education strategy also supports the aid effectiveness principle of country ownership. USAID will, wherever possible, rely on a developing country’s education plan and their implementation systems, in addition to supporting projects to strengthen education systems.
The Forward Initiative also promises that USAID will focus on building capacity in developing countries, which is necessary to maintain sustainable development. The education strategy is centered on building capacity in the public sector, on both national and community levels, to provide basic services. In most countries, USAID will help promote economic growth, working toward the goal that every country is able to fully finance quality education using domestic revenue. The capacity agenda also includes strengthening the public education system broadly — curriculum, employment, professionalization, and financing — as well as investing in infrastructure, training and planning.
It is great to see that USAID has already incorporated these key aid effectiveness principles into their education strategy and agency reform more broadly. It is our hope that the outcomes of HLF-IV in Busan, lead to similar principles being instituted across all foreign assistance strategies and becoming operational in the strategies of donor governments around the world. Learn more about how we can get to better aid, and keep up the pressure on governments to make key commitments around transparency, accountability, and results.
Take action now. Write a message to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and tell her that Americans want more effective aid. We’ll deliver your messages personally to Sec. Clinton in Busan, South Korea.