Banyan Global led an evaluation for the Strengthening HIV/AIDS Interventions in Djibouti Project under United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) PPL/LER —Monitoring and Evaluation indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract. This independent evaluation assessed the performance of the USAID/Djibouti Capacity Building for HIV/AIDS Services Project (ROADS II). Implemented by FHI 360, ROADS II is a performance-based award designed to reduce HIV/AIDS transmission among the most vulnerable populations living in and around the Djibouti-Ethiopia transport corridor. Targeted populations receive access to HIV/AIDS detection and treatment services as well as training on safe-sex behaviors. In May and June 2016, Banyan Global’s evaluation team assessed the project’s ability to achieve service-delivery targets; strengthen the ministry of health and its partners in managing the national program strategy; and fortify HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and supportive-care services. The evaluation team reviewed project documentation and performance reports, interviewed 25 health providers, 7 non-governmental organization managers, 12 program staff members, and 62 beneficiaries to assess the project’s strategies, processes, and outcomes. The results and findings of the evaluation provided USAID with a detailed assessment regarding the project’s impact on public and private partner organizational, performance, and financial capacity. Recommendations were provided outlining future project interventions to address identified organizational weaknesses and financial sustainability.
Banyan Global is a prime contractor for the USAID Bureau for Policy Planning and Learning’s flagship Monitoring and Evaluation IDIQ, providing technical and advisory services for performance and impact evaluation, local capacity building, and performance monitoring activities at the mission, bureau, and agency-wide level. This is a 5-year, $450 million contract that is working globally to provide USAID missions with assistance to conduct baseline surveys, performance evaluations, and sector assessments.
Banyan Global is the prime contractor to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Georgia to manage the longitudinal impact evaluation of the New Economic Opportunities (NEO) project. NEO aims to increase rural incomes, reduce poverty levels, improve food security, and address critical, small-scale household and agricultural water constraints in targeted communities. NEO also targets internally displaced persons (IDP) to sustainably maintain their households and assist communities distressed by natural or other disasters. Banyan Global is leading an evaluation of NEO in consortium with Counterpart International and the United Nations Association of Georgia. During the next three years, the evaluation team will measure NEO’s effectiveness and provide project implementers with data to help direct resources to high-impact interventions. The team will employ a mixed-methods evaluation, utilizing a combination of quantitative and qualitative techniques to answer questions related to NEO’s community-level impact. The NEO evaluation will generate important knowledge about economic-growth programming: what has worked, what has not worked, and why. This learning will inform USAID decision-makers and project designers to refine and improve future interventions. The NEO project evaluation is part of a new evaluation trend within USAID to hire third-party experts to assess ongoing projects as a means of identifying elements of project effectiveness and guiding future resource allocations.
USAID launched the Middle East North Africa Investment Initiative (MENA II) as an approach to improve investor and business access to equity capital, contribute to the development of the investment ecosystem, advance development of the financial system, and encourage increased equity investment in early stage businesses in participating countries. USAID has made selections and awards to partners to implement MENA II in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and West Bank. USAID is interested in measuring the impact of this initiative within and across these countries. The purpose of this project has been to conduct the following to assist in the development of an impact evaluation program and plan:
- Develop MENA II regionwide impact indicators. Indicators across all countries are being developed as a way to measure impact and compare effectiveness.
- Develop initial country-specific impact evaluation approaches. Because of the uniqueness of each country, the impact indicators may need to be measured using different data collection or evaluation methodologies that recognize local contextual nuances, country-specific MENA II approaches, and resource or evaluation constraints. Through this activity, Banyan Global will help USAID review options for evaluating MENA II’s impact and then select the most appropriate evaluation methodologies.
The identified indicators and evaluation approaches will serve as a precursor to collecting baseline data and then impact data periodically throughout the life of MENA II. Ultimately, these efforts will support an analysis of this innovative initiative’s development impact and help compare MENA II’s performance across the aforementioned countries.
Under the Asia Middle East Economic Growth Best Practices project, Banyan Global worked with USAID’s Middle East Bureau to identify approaches and successful case studies of multifaceted solutions to sustainable job creation in high-unemployment countries. The assignment identified practical tools to integrate job creation and job placement best practices and lessons learned into economic growth programming in the Middle East region. The final deliverable was a Middle East focused job creation and job placement report, “Best Practices and Approaches for Better Employment Outcomes in the Middle East Region,” which includes a primer on best practices, sample indicators, case studies of several types of employment generation/job placement approaches, and sample scopes of work that can be used by USAID field officers. As a diagnostic tool on how best to apply these approaches and case studies to the Middle East context, the report highlights the critical job creation and job placement success factors demonstrated in each approach and the relevance of these success factors to Middle East developing countries. The report also contains suggested indicators to track progress and results of Middle East job creation and job placement programs.
Banyan Global’s team gathered secondary and primary data to analyze approximately 15 projects that incorporated demand-driven, private sector-oriented, and cost effective approaches to job creation for vulnerable populations. We researched and wrote the part of the report focusing on sustainable livelihoods approaches that foster self-employment or enhanced micro or small business employment. We gathered the information through field assessments to analyze a small number of high impact approaches in detail.
ASMED was one of the largest and most significant enterprise development projects aimed at supporting the micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) sector to create jobs and opportunities in post-war Afghanistan. ASMED is composed of the following components: market information, business-development and management skills, business associations, global development alliances and grants, and human capacity building. As a subcontractor to DAI, Banyan Global led the projects monitoring and evaluation. Banyan Global provided a full-time monitoring and evaluation specialist who monitored and reported on the results and impact of project activities. In addition Banyan Global provided input to the project’s core technical areas. Banyan Global supported a special research initiative to measure the impact of the project on generating employment. Banyan Global also provided short-term advisory work to strengthen business-development services, contributed to research and impact assessments, and improved linkages with financial-services providers. In late 2008 Banyan Global fielded a short-term training specialist who worked with local BDS firms to revise and develop new materials for an accounting and bookkeeping course targeting MSMEs financed by the First Microfinance Bank of Afghanistan. After piloting the course, the trainer worked closely with business-development service firms to revise course materials and develop a plan for rolling out the course to other financial institutions in Afghanistan. In 2009 we provided short-term technical assistance focusing on access to finance for potential clients at the bottom of the pyramid, as well as technical support and capacity building to the Afghan Bankers’ Association.
In July 2009 Banyan Global was awarded one of five grants under USAID’s GUC entitled Strengthening Evaluation and Assessment of Poverty and Conflict/Fragility Interventions. The overall project advances best practices in economic growth and conflict mitigation by providing tools and methodologies for practitioners to measure the impact of economic opportunity interventions on poverty and conflict. Under this grant Banyan Global is designing a monitoring and evaluation framework to measure the impact of enterprise-development and employment-generation programs on conflict and poverty at the household and community levels. Banyan Global is designing a baseline and final assessment tool and broader research methodology to assess the impact of entrepreneurship and enterprise-development support on the employees of supported enterprises, particularly in relation to poverty and conflict. The methodology is being designed around an entrepreneurship-support program in Afghanistan implemented by the Business Council for Peace, which supports women entrepreneurs in conflict and post-conflict countries. Our focus on impacts at the employee level will provide a broader picture of the diffused impact of enterprise-development activities, while making the framework relevant to a broad range of early economic recovery interventions, which often focus on employment generation.
Banyan Global was awarded a contract with the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor to conduct a desktop research study that explored the role of governments in funding retail microfinance. The research entailed phone interviews with regional microfinance experts covering all regions of the world and Internet research on government-supported programs. The main findings were released as a highlight on the Microfinance Gateway which can be found at http://www.microfinancegateway.org/content/article/detail/50629.
Banyan Global was a subcontractor to Chemonics on the Accelerated Microenterprise Advancement Project indefinite-quantity contract’s Knowledge Generation Project for its microfinance amid conflict research theme. As the technical lead, Banyan Global worked with the United States Agency for International Development to conduct global research and disseminate findings about economic recovery after conflicts and disasters. The project held a series of forums to share lessons learned and best practices for economic growth in post-conflict environments and to identify areas where additional research and tools were needed. As part of this contract Banyan Global also developed case studies highlighting lessons learned on programs for post-conflict economic recovery in Afghanistan, Burundi, Kosovo, and Nepal. The project held a speaker’s corner on civil military cooperation and released a synthesis report on research undertaken during the project. The project also hosted an internet-based seminar that disseminated many of the lessons learned.
Banyan Global was awarded a contract with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to conduct an evaluation of the First Microfinance Bank of Afghanistan (FMFB-A). The evaluation contains four components: a review of IFC’s advisory services, a review of FMFB-A’s institutional capacity and performance, a client impact study utilizing a control group for comparison, and an international benchmarking study comparing FMFB-A to other post-conflict investments in start-up banks.
USAID and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) Working Group on Microinsurance commissioned Banyan Global to consolidate lessons learned in delivering insurance services to the poor and offer recommendations to enhance the effectiveness of donor support. Banyan Global conducted literature reviews, interviewed major stakeholders, and presented preliminary findings to the working group in November 2007. This work was completed as part of a subcontract to Development Alternatives, Inc. on the Accelerated Microenterprise Advancement Project.
As USAID/Romania prepared to close in 2008, Banyan Global assessed the impact of the United States’ assistance to support the development of Romania’s private sector by improving its access to finance. The assessment analyzed impacts at the firm, sector, financial-sector, and business-environment levels. Entities studied included microfinance institutions, investment funds, a mortgage-finance company, and a rural-development project. The report details the states of the private and financial sectors before the U.S. government’s involvement, the types of interventions, and the changes the impacted companies and sub-sectors and the overall financial sector experienced. Report findings include lessons learned for USAID, the government of Romania, and other donors.
Banyan Global was a subcontractor to DAI on a task order the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of Development Credit (ODC) issued to support its Development Credit Authority (DCA) activities. Our experts evaluated DCA guarantees in Mexico to provide insight on the guarantees’ origination, implementation, and impact. In addition Banyan Global researched the role of the private sector in basic education. This research developed a case for private-sector involvement in the provision of basic education and explored the financing needs of schools and related service providers. It offered USAID guidelines for investing in the private basic education sector by using the DCA, a financial guarantee mechanism through the ODC.
As a subcontractor to AViD Consulting Corporation, Banyan Global carried out an institutional evaluation of five local USAID partners in Egypt. We also conducted an overview of the microfinance sector, including such support facilities as a credit guarantee company and a technical services provider. Banque du Caire, the largest provider of microfinance in Egypt, with more than 60,000 clients, as well as the Alexandria, Dakheleya, and Assiut business associations, each with more than 40,000 clients, were among the institutions examined. In addition, our team facilitated individual interviews and focus groups with select program clients to assess the program’s demand, impact, and relevance. The evaluation and sector study were the first in USAID’s 15 years of support to Egypt’s microfinance sector. The results will guide future program interventions.