In 2011, USAID selected SEGURA Partners to undertake the evaluation of four projects to learn to what extent the Agency’s assistance programs had helped the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) countries to comply with provisions in Chapters 3, 4, 5, and 6 of the Trade Agreement, and whether this assistance has improved trade across borders in the region, with the United States, and with other countries.
The projects evaluated were: (1) the CAFTA-DR Bilateral Trade Program in El Salvador implemented by Booz Allen Hamilton; (2) the Cooperative Agreement for Compliance with Rules of Origin (ROO) and Customs Procedures implemented by SIECA; (3) the CAFTA-DR Regional Trade Program Project implemented by Chemonics; and (4) the USAID-USDA Participatory Agency Program Agreement (PAPA) for Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards (SPS).
The team visited each of the six CAFTA-DR countries (Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Dominican Republic) to conduct in-person interviews with government officials, project implementers, other donor organizations, NGO staff, individual enterprises, and other stakeholders.
Specifically, the evaluators were required to:
a) evaluate the effectiveness of the implementing instruments in achieving their targets and goals;
b) identify and prepare materials on success stories;
c) identify best practices and lessons learned in all areas covered by the CAFTA-DR Program;
d) provide key recommendations for future interventions to overcome regional trade barriers that could result in improved trade flows and increased incomes; and
e) provide specific recommendations on what past and present interventions could have a direct or secondary impact on reducing poverty and improving food security and nutrition among the CAFTA-DR countries.
The consultants used a results-matrix approach as a basic tool to guide the evaluation of the projects’ achievement of predefined targets and goals. Based on the verification of results achieved, the consultants identified success stories, documented best practices and lessons learned, and discussed the options for future interventions. Based on this analysis, they developed specific recommendations for future interventions that would have a direct or secondary impact on reducing poverty and specifically on improving food security.
Deliverables included the final report, success stories, project brochures and a web portal.