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.
Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF)
Since its inception, the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) has supported more than 370 alumni-led initiatives around the world. In 2017, 61 grants of up to $25,000 were awarded to alumni teams worldwide to support their public service projects. This evaluation will offer an analysis of how the AEIF motivates alumni to operationalize skills and knowledge learned during their exchange program. The purpose of this evaluation is to examine the effectiveness of the AEIF in increasing the leadership capacity of alumni; furthering opportunities for alumni to implement the skills and abilities learned through their exchange program to improve their communities; increasing posts’ ability to interact with a wide range of alumni; and increasing the density of alumni networks both on a national, regional, and global scale. The evaluation will cover all Alumni-led initiatives funded through the AEIF since inception in FY2011 through FY2017. 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 AEIF.
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.
Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) Program
The U.S Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) supports the conservation of sites, objects, and forms of traditional cultural expression in less developed countries around the world. Since 2001, the fund has awarded $74 million for nearly 1,000 projects in 130 countries and the West Bank. The evaluation will examine 15 AFCP-funded projects to understand how the program is impacting foreign publics, how the projects are helping advance U.S. diplomatic objectives in-country, and how the program’s overall effectiveness can be improved. (Expected completion: September 2019)
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)