• USAID Releases the Evaluation Policy Five-Year Report

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  • USAID’s Evaluation Policy sets ambitious standards for high-quality, relevant and transparent evaluations.

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  • Learn more about latest available information on evaluation at USAID.

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  • USAID evaluations are publicly available on the DEC. Click here to learn more.

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With the release of the Evaluation Policy in January 2011, USAID made an ambitious commitment to rigorous and quality program evaluation - the systematic collection and analysis of information to improve effectiveness and inform decisions about current and future programming. Evaluation is important for both accountability and learning. 

Since the release of the Evaluation Policy, USAID has:

  • Increased the number of evaluations commissioned each year to an average of more than 200 per year, totaling more than 1,000 evaluations since 2011.
  • Provided formal training in evaluation to more than 1,600 USAID staff.
  • Improved the quality of evaluations by ensuring that planning happens in advance, using the best methods for answering a focused set of questions and encouraging that evaluations be conducted by external experts.
  • Reported transparently on evaluation findings, particularly by sharing evaluation reports online at the Development Experience Clearinghouse.
  • Used evaluation findings to inform project design, make mid-course corrections, increase knowledge and learning in specific sectors.
  • Strengthened program monitoring so that evaluations can focus on a more complex set of questions beyond whether a project is meeting its targets.

Evaluation Policy Implementation

The reports below summarize evaluation requirements and practices at USAID before and after the Evaluation Policy, major accomplishments during the first five years of implementation, and priority activities to support Policy implementation moving forward.

Evaluation Quality and Utilization

Relevant and high-quality evaluation is an important tool to track the progress, results and effectiveness of international development programs. Evaluation can help explain why programs are succeeding or failing, and can provide recommendations for how best to adapt to improve performance. Along with monitoring, evaluation contributes evidence to improve strategic planning, project design and resource decisions, and they are part of a greater body of knowledge and learning.

To better understand whether these and other efforts are working, the Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning commissioned independent studies to examine evaluation quality (2013) and evaluation utilization (2016) at USAID. These two studies found there has been an increase in the quality and use of evaluations. The recommendations in these studies will inform ongoing evaluation improvement efforts.


USAID integrates into its work a strong emphasis on learning, which can be instrumental in developing and implementing programs that are more effective at achieving results. Learning includes systematically generating and sharing knowledge about how best to achieve development outcomes through well-designed and executed projects and using that knowledge to inform decisions, adapt ongoing projects and improve the design of future projects. For examples of how USAID has used evaluations to learn from and inform its work, please see the following case studies:

USAID explores and implements approaches to intentionally embed learning through its programming. For more information about how USAID approaches learning, please visit USAID's Learning Lab. The Learning Lab is USAID’s platform for generating and sharing information, tools and resources on how development practitioners can work together to integrate learning throughout USAID’s Program Cycle. Here, USAID staff and partners jointly create, share, refine and apply practical approaches to more effectively ground programs in evidence and quickly adapt based on new learning and changing contexts, thereby maximizing development outcomes.

Monitoring and Evaluation Resources

For a complete list of USAID’s public evaluations, visit the Development Experience Clearinghouse.

  • Evaluation Toolkit - Curates the latest USAID guidance, tools and templates for initiating, planning, managing and learning from evaluations primarily for USAID staff and partners involved in any phase of the evaluation process.
  • Performance Management Plan (PMP) Toolkit - Designed to serve as an ongoing resource for USAID staff and partners engaged in performance management roles as they plan for and manage effective performance monitoring and evaluation over the course of the Mission’s strategy.

Last updated: June 28, 2016

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