Standard Foreign Assistance Indicators
The Department of State and USAID, drawing on technical expertise within both agencies and from within the development and security communities, have jointly developed standard indicators to measure both what is being accomplished with U.S. Government foreign assistance funds and the collective impact of foreign and host-government efforts to advance country development. In the past, indicators were developed and tracked separately by the two agencies, and could not be easily consolidated to provide a comprehensive picture of the results that were being achieved with foreign assistance resources.
These standard indicators are divided into the following three categories.
- Strategic level indicators capture the impact of foreign and host-government efforts at the objective level (such as Investing in People or Economic Growth).. They rely on data collected by secondary sources, such as the World Bank, United Nations Development Program,, and Freedom House. Examples include the decline in poverty rate or number of women holding seats in parliament. Measured improvement is expected over multi-year time spans.
- Program Area level indicators measure country performance within sub-sectors of the five functional objectives (such as Health and Education within Investing in People). These indicators measure results beyond what could be achieved solely by U.S. Government-funded interventions (by the USG, host country and other donors' activities combined). Some examples include: number of days to start a business, number of deaths among children under five per 1,000 live births, and net enrollment rate for primary school. Like the Strategic level indicators, measured improvement is expected over multiple years. These data, combined with USG strategic policy priorities and input from the field, will be used to inform broad-based strategic budget and planning decisions to ensure that foreign assistance resources are focused on moving countries forward and transparently demonstrating the basis upon which allocations are made.
- Element level indicators primarily measure outputs that are directly attributable to the U.S. Governments programs, projects and activities. For example, indicators track the number of judges trained or total amount of loans disbursed due to expenditure of USG funds. Data are collected primarily by implementing partners, and targets are set by USG agencies and their partners against these indicators on an annual basis. Information on standard indicators at the objective and program area levels will be collected in Washington. Operating Units will collect data and report on indicators at the program element level through Operational Plans and Performance Reports.
These standard indicators are complemented by "custom indicators" that are selected by each Operating Unit to measure and monitor performance in achieving results that are critical to the attainment of foreign assistance objectives by the particular bilateral, regional or Washington-based program. Such custom indicators should be included in the particular Operating Unit's performance management plan, and be reported as appropriate in the annual Operational Plan and Performance Report.