Beginning in 2010, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) implemented a series of institutional reforms designed to rebuild USAID as the world's premier development agency. This research examined one component of this larger reform effort, the USAID Education Strategy for 2011-2015: Opportunity Through Learning. The purpose of this research is to examine how the current agenda for basic education was determined, what actions occurred based on this agenda, and how USAID will be held accountable for results. The problem is that while new strategies are routinely developed and implemented, without accountability for results lessons learned to do not inform future policy. The education strategy is an exemplary case study to examine USAID's redesigned approach to international development as: 1) it is the first sector strategy developed under Administrator Rajiv Shah and paved the way for future strategies, 2) it resulted in significant changes to priorities and programs in education, and 3) it represents an unprecedented commitment by USAID to be held accountable for results. This case study of the 2011 Education Strategy provides insights into USAID's new operational model and the implications the model poses for international development assistance. Lessons learned can also inform other global agendas including the design of education indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals. The research uses a framework of agendas, actions, and accountability to analyze the political context and alternative agendas that are the drivers of strategy development and implementation at USAID. This research highlights how agendas are formulated and strategies developed, how ensuing actions depend on both bureaucratic and political processes to deliver results, and how accountability for results is an ambiguous process that has profound implications for the development agenda. Through a document review and interviews with policy specialists and technical experts at USAID, this research adds to existing research by examining and critiquing the policy processes of agendas, actions, and accountability in the context of international development, where decisions are shaped by a global set of actors and contexts.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2014. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Joan DeJaeghere. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 155 pages.
Agendas, Actions, and Accountability in International Development: A Case Study of the USAID Education Strategy for 2011-2015.
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