Jan 12 2022
Promoting Equitable Outcomes in International Development

Nearly one year ago, President Joe Biden took office and announced an Executive Order on Racial Equity, calling all US government agencies to establish policies and practices to promote racial equity.

The order notes, “advancing equity requires a systematic approach to embedding fairness in decision-making processes, executive departments and agencies must recognize and work to redress inequities in their policies and programs that serve as barriers to equal opportunity.”

In November 2021, USAID Administrator Samantha Power outlined how exactly the agency would meet the President’s call with a new aid orientation for USAID. The goal? Make aid more accessible, equitable, and responsive.

For Palladium’s Vivian Agbegha and Molly Cannon, this is just the first of many steps that will need to be taken in a long process. In a recently published paper, Monitoring, Evaluations and Learning Perspectives on Promoting Equitable Outcomes in International Development, Cannon and Agbegha propose how to systematically apply equity approaches across all phases of the USAID project lifecycle in an open letter to colleagues.

“We recognise that we don’t have all the answers,” notes Cannon, Palladium’s Director of Measurement and Learning. “But we’re eager to share our thoughts for how to incorporate these equity approaches across sectors and engage with colleagues on what we’re learning as a result.”

The paper, which focuses on three stages of the development project lifecycle; activity design, start-up, and implementation, monitoring, and evaluation, offers guidance on how to integrate inclusion and equity principles, from working with community members and advocacy groups, to taking into account the intersectionality of data, and developing processes and tools that are more inclusive.

“We appreciate the complex responsibility of implementing equity-focused development,” adds Agbegha, Palladium Senior Technical Advisor. “We hope that our proposed approaches for increasing equity will bring us closer to embodying the core ideals of international development: Reducing poverty and improving the well-being of people who most need support.”

“We encourage our international development colleagues to join us in this effort and to find ways to continuously improve on these practices.”

As USAID and other development organisations move forward by putting accessibility and equity at the centre of their programs, reports and systematic thinking like Promoting Equitable Outcomes, will be key in answering Power’s call to become more attuned to the voices and needs of those that development organisations aim to help.

Download the paper and contact info@thepalladiumgroup.com for more information.