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Evaluating Democracy Assistance Grantmaking

May 1, 2013
12:00PM - 01:00PM

Annenberg School for Communication, Room 500
3620 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, 19104

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Categories: Seminar

Democracy assistance presents a particular set of challenges to the field of evaluation. By their very nature, these types of projects and programs are extremely difficult to evaluate. Traditional methods are not always feasible given the complex conditions under which democracy assistance projects and programs take place. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a private, nonprofit organization created in 1983 and funded through an annual congressional appropriation to strengthen democratic institutions around the world through nongovernmental efforts. NED’s grants program provides support to grassroots organizations in more than 80 countries to conduct projects of their own design. The varied political and cultural contexts of NED grantees coupled with the difficulties of attributing programmatic success to a single small grant have led the Endowment to look for innovative methods for measuring the short and long term success of its grantees.  This presentation will discuss NED’s evaluation philosophy and approach and will explore how NED’s evaluation practice differs from others in the democracy assistance field.
Rebekah Usatin is the Manager for Program Monitoring and Evaluation at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, DC where she provides policy guidance on NED’s monitoring and evaluation systems.  Ms. Usatin regularly delivers training and technical assistance to Endowment staff and grantees and is responsible for designing and managing all phases of NED’s independent evaluations. Prior to joining NED, she worked in Montenegro as the evaluation officer for a USAID-funded democracy and governance program. Ms. Usatin speaks French fluently and holds a master’s degree in public administration and international management from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a bachelor’s degree from Whitman College.

This talk is part of a series on monitoring and evaluation (M&E) funded by Penn’s Provost’s Interdisciplinary Seminar Fund, and organized together with the Graduate School of Education, the School of Medicine, and Wharton.