The ECA Evaluation Division conducts, on average, 3 evaluations per year utilizing the services of an external contracting firm to inform program teams of both successes as well as areas where modifications may be necessary. While including some information on process and implementation, our evaluations generally focus on what long-term outcomes have been achieved.
American Spaces are inviting, open-access learning and gathering places around the world that promote interaction among local communities and the United States in support of U.S. foreign policy. Today, there are approximately 640 American Spaces around the world, which have been visited by 68 million people. American Spaces provide cultural and educational programming and services in accordance with a set of standards. The purpose of this evaluation is to determine how successful the American Spaces Program is in meeting Program aims and contributing to core programming areas, identifying best practices, and developing metrics and reporting mechanisms for continuous evaluation and program improvement that can be easily implemented by Office of American Spaces stakeholders worldwide. The evaluation will examine 18 American Spaces in 12 countries. (Expected completion: November 2020)
Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, begun in 2014, is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. The evaluation will offer an analysis of how Fellowship Alumni advance their academic and career goals, create positive changes in their communities, and build lasting and productive relationships between their countries and the people of the United States. This evaluation will cover Alumni cohorts from 2014- 2018, totaling 3,700 Alumni. (Expected completion: March 2020)
The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y)
The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) provides merit-based scholarships for eligible U.S. high school students and recent graduates to learn less commonly taught languages to support the U.S. foreign policy goals of increasing national security, promoting U.S. competitiveness, and involving the robust participation of youth. The purpose of this evaluation is twofold: a) to examine the degree to which the NSLI-Y program is meeting its stated goals and outcomes, and b) the degree to which the NSLI-Y program helps advance DOS strategic policy priorities. The evaluation will analyze how NSLI-Y Alumni are able to apply skills and knowledge learned during their exchange experience to their academic and career goals (and in which sector – private, government, or non-governmental – they are working in), as well as creating a multiplier effect in deepening trust between peoples, and creating positive changes in their communities. This evaluation will cover alumni cohorts from 2008 through 2017, representing approximately 5,500 alumni. (Expected completion: September 2020)
Professional Fellows Program (PFP)
The Professional Fellows Program (PFP) is a two-way, global exchange program for mid-level emerging leaders (approximately 25-40 years old) from select foreign countries and the United States. Since the FY2012 program cycle (calendar year 2013), nearly 2,323 individuals from over 70 countries and the United States have participated in the program. The purpose of this evaluation is to examine the PFP’s impact on advancing DOS strategic policy priorities and to the degree to which the program is meeting its stated goals. More specifically, the evaluation will offer an analysis of how PFP Alumni operationalize skills and knowledge learned during their exchange experience to create a multiplying effect in promoting mutual understanding, create positive changes in workplaces and communities both in the United States and in their home countries, and build a collaborative network for like-minded professionals addressing pressing challenges. This evaluation will cover alumni across seven primary thematic areas who came on the PFP between 2013 and 2017 (grants awarded FY2012 – FY2016). Themes have included: Economic Empowerment, Legislative Process and Governance, Tolerance and Conflict Resolution, Environmental Sustainability, NGO Development, Rule of Law/Administration of Justice, and Media. The Evaluation Division has contracted The District Communications Group, who will work in partnership with General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT), for this independent evaluation of the Professional Fellows Program.