Since the Inter-American Foundation’s reorganization in August, its evaluation function has come within the Office of Operations. In fiscal 2002, IAF’s evaluation unit gathered and analyzed a significant body of information detailing the results achieved with IAF grant funding.
The backbone of this work is the Grassroots Development Framework (GDF), a schedule of indicators against which progress can be measured. Data forwarded by a full complement of 15 overseas contractors is compiled annually for the previous fiscal year. The report drafted in fiscal 2002 reflects that IAF’s fiscal 2001 funding directly or indirectly affected approximately 680,000 individuals. This impact includes the following:
More than 10,500 individuals learned basic literacy skills.
Nearly 670 new houses were constructed and 650 existing homes repaired or expanded.
- Nearly 18,000 individuals were vaccinated and approximately 34,000 received other forms of medical attention.
- Close to 5,500 permanent and 4,000 seasonal jobs were created.
- Approximately 170,000 individuals acquired knowledge and skills in areas ranging from agriculture to marketing to the prevention of domestic violence, drug use and sexual abuse.
- Grantees mobilized nearly $5.9 million, including $4.4 million in cash and $1.5 million in kind. Of this total, 42 percent came from international sources.
- Grantees also helped broker $7.5 million in resources channeled directly to beneficiaries.
- Low-income individuals received 19,430 loans for agricultural production, construction, manufacturing, business expansion, education and other purposes.
- Grantees worked toward the enactment of 71 legal measures at the national, regional and local level and toward the application of 57 laws and other measures already on the books.
In fiscal 2002, the evaluation staff also worked with Econergy International Corporation, a consulting firm, on a study of the sustainability of IAF-supported organizations. Based on a review of a sample of 27 projects in Mexico, Costa Rica and Brazil, whose funding had terminated two to five years ago, Edward Hoyt, Econergy’s principal investigator, concluded that sustainability is clearly strong: Only four out of 27 organizations were inactive or defunct. Of the 23 still in operation, 17, more than 70 percent, exhibited strong sustainability.
The IAF had contributed by providing support crucial to survival at a particular point in time, and that support was typically a vindication of the leadership and vision of a single social entrepreneur. The study also identified four organizational characteristics key to sustainability: strong leadership and/or management; alliances; diversification of funding; and strong name recognition.
Econergy’s report weaves a vast array of information together in an organized, coherent and insightful manner. The convergence of the diverse data gathered and organized by Econergy seems to indicate that IAF projects do produce results for individuals, organizations and society, as described in the Grassroots Development Framework, and some projects influence all three levels.