Congress U.S. Foreign Assistance Policy Category: Government Agencies


Sector:  Government

Organization:  Congress


U.S. foreign assistance policies and programs designed for the Cold War era needed to be modernized to respond effectively to the challenges of the 21st century.  There was general agreement within the international development community about the broad nature of the problems, but little work had been done to identify specific remedies.


While working as a committee staffer on Capitol Hill, a member of the Turner team led a multi-year effort to bring government, NGO and private sector stakeholders together to forge consensus on the principles guiding reform, identify legal and political obstacles to progress, and develop detailed proposals for transforming the system.  The result was a comprehensive overhaul of the 50-year old law governing foreign assistance, which garnered widespread public support and unified communities that often found themselves at odds with one another.


Although the time was not right to enact a major piece of complex legislation, a number of the proposals it contained – including new strategic processes, better methods for ensuring country ownership, improved monitoring and evaluation of programs, and greater transparency about spending and results – were voluntarily adopted by the Administration.  Other sections formed the basis for targeted bills that are currently moving through Congress.