Europe and Eurasia

Russia Program Evaluation Series

Client: United States Agency for International Development


CARANA performed the following five evaluations for USAID/Russia:

  • For the fiscal policy reform evaluation, CARANA assessed the impact of a USAID contract with Georgia State University to implement fiscal reform interventions in Russia: We prepared a final report addressing technical and managerial issues, summarized lessons learned in providing technical assistance in fiscal reform, and suggested directions for future USAID investments in this area.
  • The banking and capital markets evaluation focused on the contribution of the Financial Services Volunteer Corps (FSVC): We identified key issues related to FSVC's unusual delivery of technical assistance, conducted extensive interviews with counterparts, and carried out a survey of former volunteers. The findings revealed that despite a large number of short-term assignments, the program was more consistent in achieving desirable results than USAID had expected, primarily due to the laudable efforts of FSVC staff. At the same time, the CARANA team identified the need for improvement in strategic planning and budgeting, reporting to USAID, and staffing. The final report presented a number of specific recommendations for future USAID involvement.
  • Environmental Improvement: CARANA evaluated an innovative USAID-financed Non-Governmental Organization program. The program utilized dozens of Russian private and public sector entities to replicate the successful testing of environmental technologies introduced in a previous project. The evaluation team found that the U.S. grantee had developed an exceptionally rigorous and transparent system, staffed almost entirely by Russians, to evaluate requests for sub-grants from Russian organizations. Although grantees’systems for oversight were very strong, the evaluators found little evidence that implementing organizations looked beyond inputs and outputs to see if their activities had produced impact. The team’s report included recommendations to strengthen this and other areas of the project.
  • Housing and Urban Development: CARANA evaluated USAID’s investment in the creation of a modern housing market. The evaluation confirmed the popular perception that this project had been very successful, moving rental rates toward market values, introducing competitive maintenance contracting, establishing the legal framework for private ownership and sale of real estate, laying the groundwork for mortgage financing, and introducing other reforms. Particularly important, the project’s focus on training helped to ensure that the new procedures and techniques introduced will be sustained and expanded to other regions. The evaluation report identified a number of lessons learned, primarily factors that allowed this project to reach a rather extraordinary number of benchmarks. The recommendations included ideas on how USAID might continue to advance the reform process despite current funding restrictions.
  • Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Development Program: CARANA conducted as study reviewing four programs with five grantees—contractors that aid business support institutions serving the SME community. The team prepared and submitted to USAID the final report with recommendations for future program development.