Financing Education Services in Crisis and Conflict- Affected Situations
August 23, 2011 – 3:45 p.m.
||Katie Donohoe, USAID/Pakistan
Malcom Phelps, USAID Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs
Abdul Alim Ghafary, USAID/Afghanistan
||Suezan Lee, USAID Office of Education
Malcom Phelps of the USAID Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs, and Katie Donohoe of USAID/Pakistan presented the Government to Government (G2G) assistance model, which entails a bi-lateral relationship between USAID and Pakistan, and between USAID and Afghanistan. USAID has customized the G2G model to suit circumstances in each country. The development challenge faced in post-conflict regions where G2G is used has been government’s low implementation capacity, a reflection of the fact that many government officials have moved or been displaced. In many cases, monitoring has been a challenge because of USAID’s limited capacity to move about the region.
Donohoe pointed out that Pakistan has greater capacity to rebuild than does Afghanistan. She used the example of Malakand and explained how the G2G model was structured to suit the Pakistan situation. Since the host country did not have the capital to initiate the rebuilding process, USAID provided funds in advance. Agreements were signed with the provincial governors that USAID would provide fixed amounts to reimburse costs, releasing funds in intervals. These intervals were determined based on completion of sub-tasks within the larger development initiative. This was to ensure effective and efficient use of funds and to allow for program monitoring.
The funding mechanism of G2G in Afghanistan is different from Pakistan. Phelps established that Afghanistan is still in a transition phase, unlike Pakistan, and has less capacity for rebuilding than its neighbor. G2G is strongly advocated by the host country government to reestablish faith in the government among its citizens. Phelps explained the host country government’s point of view that donors funding only the NGOs would diminish people’s confidence in the government. USAID’s overall goal in Afghanistan is to reinforce Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education (MoE) to have enough capacity to lead the sector and make programs sustainable. The challenge remains, however, that international support contributes 91percent of the GDP and most MoE positions are externally financed.
A key advantage of the G2G model in both Pakistan and Afghanistan is the opportunity it provides for USAID to work closely with the government. The government can then garner greater political support from citizens, which is required for program sustainability. At the same time, technical assistance for rebuilding efforts has involved many senior technical and management professionals from other countries such as the United States and Canada, and this adversely impacts the potential for program sustainability because Pakistanis or Afghans are not being mentored or trained to perform these functions. G2G has the advantage of being cheaper than having third-party independent contracts, but it also entails a time-consuming development and management process and rigorous assessment and evaluation prior to signing an agreement with the host country. There are ongoing efforts to help governments with capacity building, with program extension to different regions and with improving program sustainability.
Key take away points included the case studies of USAID/Pakistan and USAID/Afghanistan financing approaches. The G2G model varies since Afghanistan is still in a transition phase from violent conflict and Pakistan is not. Nonetheless, in both countries, the G2G model provides an opportunity to work with the host country government and generate support that can enhance sustainability.