Evaluation of the Resources for Awareness of Population in Development (RAPID II) Project.
The evaluation of the Resources for Awareness of Population in Development (RAPID II) Project was initiated on June 18, 1985, 25 months into the project operation, to determine if the results of actions undertaken thus far have been adequate to justify the time and money spent on them and to find ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the program efforts. The objective of the 5-year RAPIDS II project is to assist those involved in development planning to better understand the relationship between population growth and socioeconomic development and thereby increase the less developed country (LDC) commitment to efforts designed to reduce rapid rates of population increase. This evaluation report discusses the development assistance context and then focuses on the following: RAPID II operations over the 1984-85 period; policy analyses and LDC subcontracting; the RAPID model and its presentation; visits by the evaluation team to the countries of the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Cameroon, and Liberia; what works in terms of population policy development; some major problems and potential resolutions; and RAPID II activities over the 1985-88 period. US Agency for International Development (USAID) officials in Washington as well as in the field described RAPID II as being of continuing utility in helping to create a climate favorable to more effective population policies. The review of RAPID II activities was generally positive. The project was identified as useful in several countries of sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Due to the evidence of satisfactory performance in the field, the evaluation focused on differences between plan and midterm results with a view toward suggesting course corrections that can improve project performance. As population policy development is an inherently ambiguous field of activity, it has not been possible to draw clear lines between specific policy development activities and policy change in particular countries. Yet, there has been an improvement in the environment for population programs in LDCs. There were significant differences between planned and actual expenditures under the several subcategories of project expenditure. RAPID II total expenditures in the first 2 years of the project equalled budgeted expenditures when the contract was signed, but the distribution of expenditures by category was substantially different from what had been anticipated. It is recommended that emphasis in the project must shift predominantly to policy analyses (80% of remaining funds) and that that RAPID-style presentation resources (20%) be used carefully for only the highest priority requests. In regard to development of LDC subcontracts for policy analysis, efficiency has been low.