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Jan 2 -- The U.S. Trade & Development Agency (USTDA) invites comments to OMB by February 2, 2024 regarding the data collection for its performance evaluation. [Comments due 30 days after submission to OMB on January 3, 2024.]

USTDA will collect information from various stakeholders on USTDA-funded activities regarding development and/or commercial benefits as well as evaluate success regarding GPRA objectives and support evidence-based policymaking. This information collection enables USTDA to assess the outcomes that its program investments have on U.S. commercial interests and economic development abroad. The goal of this information collection is to gather evidence and stakeholder feedback to continually improve program performance and deliver better results to U.S. taxpayers. Such information is necessary to responsibly carry out the Agency's monitoring and evaluation policy and applicable legal requirements to implement a monitoring and evaluation framework.

USTDA senior management also uses the data and information for program planning purposes and to make evidence-informed decisions. It is also used as part of agency monitoring and evaluation of its various activities to measure effectiveness and/or efficiency and/or to obtain data for future activity planning.  Specific examples of how the Agency has made use of the current collection internally include: the Agency’s annual strategic planning process in FY2021-2023, the Agency’s quarterly performance dashboards in FY2021-2023, and the Agency’s programmatic decision-making related to specific activities in FY2021-2023.

The information collection would depend heavily on tailored, project-specific questions conveyed to interviewees by phone or email. Interviewees would be encouraged to respond by phone, videoconference, or email, whichever method reduces the burden to the interviewees and allows them the flexibility to respond when they have time. This increases the likelihood of obtaining high quality information.  In addition, interviews by telephone would play an important role when email addresses are not available or when responses to emails are not received. However, we wish to emphasize that USTDA information collection has increasingly utilized IT collection methods, primarily email, in recent years. We believe this has substantially improved the quality and quantity of information collected while at the same time reducing the burden for the stakeholders who supply the information.

Over the last three years, USTDA’s Program Monitoring and Evaluation Office has continued to streamline and improve its evaluation process in order to conduct more targeted, tailored outreach to gather specific information from participants. The M&E Office has focused its attention on higher quality assessments, using informed outreach strategies that minimize the burden on respondents. This has yielded a reduction in the number of people contacted per evaluation, as well as a reduction in the number of times each project is evaluated. USTDA’s experience over this period shows that it now requires communication (primarily telephone, or email or fax) with approximately 2 individuals per project evaluated externally and approximately 1-2 individuals per project evaluated internally. Information is sought approximately once per year. The information collection effort for this application is for 300-400 agency projects evaluated externally and 200-250 projects evaluated internally per year, for a total of 1,000 to 1,300 respondents annually.

USTDA Office of Program Monitoring and Evaluation: https://www.ustda.gov/about/program-monitoring-and-evaluation/
USTDA submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202401-3330-001 Click IC List for information collection instrument, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this webpage.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-28836

For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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