In accordance with the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) and the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010, MCC’s FY 2013 Annual Performance Report (APR) is contained in Appendix C of the FY 2015 Congressional Budget Justification. MCC’s Agency Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2013 has been produced separately and can be accessed at http://www.mcc.gov/documents/reports/report-fy13-afr_1.pdf. Additionally, pursuant to GPRA, MCC is in the process of developing a new strategic plan and anticipates releasing it during FY 2014.
The APR summarizes MCC’s progress in achieving its annual corporate goals for FY 2013. Each goal relies on a number of milestones and targets, which MCC officials are available to discuss in further detail with congressional stakeholders upon request.
FY 2013 Annual Corporate Goals by Priority Theme
Differentiating the MCC Model
Secure new Threshold Program through strong implementation of policy reform.
MCC designed the new Threshold Program to include a program development process based on deeper diagnostic studies and to produce targeted policy reform programs that address constraints to economic growth. These diagnostic studies are done in partnership between MCC and host country governments, drawing on expertise from other USG agencies and international experts, and involve extensive consultations with civil society and the private sector. The new Threshold Program also includes an increased level of country ownership, monitoring and evaluation and MCC oversight of the diagnostic, design and implementation processes. In FY 2013 MCC built a solid diagnostic base for the Honduras and Nepal Threshold Programs, completing in-depth due diligence work that can be used to develop future compacts should the countries attain compact eligibility. MCC also signed the first Threshold Program agreement under the new Threshold Program, a $15.6 million program with the Government of Honduras. The Honduras Threshold Program places a strong emphasis on policy and institutional reform and country ownership, and will provide support to the government to undertake reforms to help improve government efficiency and effectiveness over three years.
Improve impact evaluation design and application during compact development, implementation and close-out.
MCC evaluation practices have changed in the following way:
- Institutionalized formal review process for evaluations. The Monitoring and Evaluation unit is testing a formal review process that defines critical milestones in the evaluation cycle that require substantive review and clearance by key internal stakeholders. This review process also requires local stakeholder review of key evaluation documents in consultation with the evaluator prior to submission to MCC in order to provide feedback on feasibility of proposed evaluation, as well as technical, and factual accuracy of evaluation documents. The formal review process is intended to ensure that evaluations are designed with stakeholder buy-in, are designed using the program logic, use appropriate methodologies for the timeframe of the expected results, and are flexible enough to adjust to changes in implementation.
- Established evaluation risk assessment. An Evaluation Risk Assessment Checklist has been developed and institutionalized by the Monitoring and Evaluation unit. The risk assessment checklist is reviewed by the M&E lead with M&E management. The risk assessment is intended to inform decision making and identify necessary course correction for more timely response to risk identification.
- Development and use of standardized evaluation templates. The Monitoring and Evaluation unit has developed standardized templates in order to provide guidance internally and to independent evaluators on expectations related to evaluation activities and products. These templates are intended to clarify and raise standards for evaluations by influencing the daily work of M&E staff and evaluators.
- Increased emphasis on a detailed understanding and assessment of the full program logic/theory of change. The milestones, checklists and templates being developed improve the documentation of the program logic motivating MCC investments, and they facilitate a more detailed and broadly shared understanding of this detailed logic. This greater detail enables more rigorous and convincing evidence assessing whether the program works as intended, and whether it achieves its intended objectives.
Adapt program design based on lessons from performance and impact evaluation.
In 2013, the results of the first five impact evaluations were made public and discussed openly with MCC stakeholders and other donor institutions – demonstrating our commitment to both measure and share results and the learning associated with those results. And while the results were mixed from this first round of evaluations they have provided learning on how to do both projects and evaluations better and highlighted the importance of internal MCC components collaborating at all stages in the process to ensure successful evaluations but more importantly, well-designed projects that allow MCC to document and demonstrate results. The other overarching lesson has been the understanding and shift to design evaluations not just for accountability but for learning—so MCC can learn and understand not only what interventions worked or not, but more importantly why and what works best. As a result MCC is working on strengthening its collaborative team approach to developing and accessing the quality of program logic, program design, risks and assumptions, and accountability and learning metrics as part of the due diligence and project development, design, and evaluation process. More specifically as a result of lessons learned from the 2013 evaluations, MCC project operational practices have changed in the following way:
- Develop program logics early and revise as necessary. MCC now requires the formulation and revision of program logics from the concept note stage and throughout implementation. The program logic approach has been applied in the most recent cohort of compacts in development (Benin, Niger and Sierra Leone).
- Assess training and technical assistance programs critically. Mixed results on adoption have led the MCC’s Agriculture Practice group to re-examine the focus on farmer training as a main part of the solution to low productivity of the agriculture sector and has resulted on more concerted efforts to identify interventions across the value chain. If farmer training is considered, the duration, intensity and content of the training are more carefully examined and the benefits and challenges of reaching large number of beneficiaries are fully assessed. Equally important, the use of grants and starter kits has led to a review of practices across all compacts and to the development of new guidance.
- More carefully align interventions and beneficiaries. The importance of better aligning the beneficiaries of several activities in a project and the importance of discussing early in the process the targeted beneficiaries and the potential selection criteria are being applied to the new cohort of compacts.
Explore flexibilities within MCC’s authorization and appropriation statutes to support new and innovative program concepts, such as cities as partners.
In 2013, MCC conducted initial research into whether or not the range of global urban data that is presently publicly available would be sufficient to translate MCC’s current country scorecard system to a city level. The research concluded that there is not yet sufficient data availability for MCC to create city-level scorecards that are otherwise identical to the current country scorecard.
Consequently, further research would need to examine what can be learned from the urban data that is available and whether that is a sufficient basis for selection oriented decisions. This may include examining what new data may become available in the near term, and whether research suggests that there are national level metrics that would be particularly relevant when contemplating urban investments.
MCC also began exploring how it might use innovative financing structures such as payment by result, cash on delivery aid or other performance-based aid mechanisms by which MCC would pay a partner country for measurable and verifiable progress on specific outcomes. Outcomes would reflect country priorities but allow partner countries flexibility in how to achieve the outcomes while MCC would pay only against final performance measures. MCC is working with technical experts and other donors who have piloted performance-based aid programs to better understand how it might apply them in forthcoming MCC compacts.
Develop model for social and gender inequality assessment.
MCC has developed and piloted a new tool, the Initial Social and Gender Assessment (ISGA), to provide information on the country-specific social context and on the links among social inequality, poverty reduction and economic growth at the beginning of compact development. The ISGA both complements and contributes to the constraints to economic growth analysis. It has been piloted in compact development for Liberia, Morocco, Tanzania, and Sierra Leone and in Threshold Programs for Guatemala and Nepal. The guidance is now under revision so that an improved and better integrated approach can be used in Lesotho.
Communicating Information and Results
Develop and apply clear standards for MCC’s “continuum of results” reporting.
MCC M&E staff continue to draw upon best monitoring practices to identify ways to improve results tracking. As part of this, MCC developed an evaluation tool and country teams began to assess evaluation of new projects to strengthen project design and program logic. MCC convened discussion sessions and training with Washington and country partners on how to strengthen program design, logic and ability to measure for results. MCC also hired two additional M&E staff to help implement clear standards for MCC’s “continuum of results” reporting across MCC’s country portfolio.
Implement outreach strategy to communicate evaluation results.
In FY 2013, MCC released its first set of independent impact evaluations for farmer training activities in five countries. Impact evaluations are an important part of MCC’s evidence-based approach that uses data and evidence to improve MCC’s own decision making and inform broader development practice. In advance of the release of the first five impact evaluations, MCC invited policymakers and stakeholders to help analyze and share the results, and the agency produced an in-depth paper capturing the lessons. For each evaluation, MCC also posted on its website a summary of findings, agency response, design report, final evaluation report, peer reviews, and corresponding data. The agency’s rigorous and transparent approach was acknowledged by development experts at the World Bank, think tanks, NGOs and elsewhere.
MCC also completed compacts in Lesotho, Morocco, Mongolia, Mozambique, and Tanzania in FY 2013, which necessitated a comprehensive strategy to communicate results. The five compacts comprise more than $2.5 billion in health, infrastructure, water and sanitation investments and are expected to benefit more than 12 million people over the next 20 years. To achieve this goal, MCC produced an online campaign highlighting success stories, videos, blogs, and slideshows in addition to public outreach events.
Managing, Sharing and Applying Knowledge
Implement knowledge management strategy and departmental action plans.
Incorporate into practice where appropriate and track application of lessons learned from operations reviews, impact evaluations, etc.
MCC established a Knowledge Management Working Group (KMWG), which in turn developed a Knowledge Management Strategy and the first of the Knowledge Management Action Plans, both of which were approved by MCC management. The Strategy provides for efforts over a number of years, starting in FY 2013, to: (i) identify, assess, and categorize various forms of “knowledge” (including data, documents, records, anecdotal material, and human resources) across the agency, (ii) identify existing knowledge management and knowledge sharing platforms (IT-based, hard copy, etc.), (iii) review challenges relating to accessibility of knowledge and mechanisms for sharing and developing knowledge as a working tool in the agency within MCC and between MCC and the MCAs, (iv) coordinate with various units across the agency (including both operational departments and OCIO) regarding prioritization of problems and identification of problem solutions affecting knowledge management, and (v) implement a phased program of steps to improve MCC’s knowledge management and knowledge sharing capabilities. A number of related efforts, including MCC’s participation in the Open Data initiative and adoption of new IT-based data collection and validation tools, have been conducted in parallel with the knowledge management activities as such. The KMWG is currently developing its second Action Plan, and new Plans are expected annually as the overall Strategy is implemented. In addition, a SharePoint site for knowledge management exchanges was established and several series of knowledge-sharing presentations and workshops, involving both internal and external personnel, were held. These knowledge management efforts will support the application of lessons learned from operations reviews, impact evaluations, and other sources to improve MCC compact development, implementation, and post-completion activities.
Improve accuracy, timeliness and accessibility of performance and financial data and information.
MCC implemented a “databus” and the required reporting from it for performance and financial data. MCC also delivered a new release of the MCC Management Information System (MCC MIS formerly MIDAS) which facilitated more timely data collection analysis and reporting on compact operations and improved accuracy by eliminating manual data re-entry. MCC is continuing to focus on its internal data systems and making new data sets available to the public as part of MCC’s open government plan. In 2015, MCC plans to release new performance and programmatic data sets to the public on a rolling basis. In addition, MCC is continuing to release enhancements to (MCC MIS to enhance internal data collection processes.
Implement [MCC MIS fixes and new functionality] roll-out in MCC and MCAs
MCC MIS was deployed to MCAs in March 2013 and now MCC’s quarterly data from the MCAs is being submitted and approved through the system. Additional enhancements are planned to enhance reporting capabilities for both the MCAs and MCC as well as to enhance some of the existing application components. MCC implemented fixes and additional functionality to the MCC MIS system as prioritized by stakeholders from across the enterprise. The data in MCC supports enterprise-wide data production for the International Aid Transparency Index, for use by an API to support Open Data as well as for processing transactional grant information and decision support.
Recognize staff participation in knowledge-sharing activities and implementation of best practices as part of performance reviews.
MCC leadership encouraged knowledge-sharing and implementation of best practices among staff in a number of ways. In FY 2013, MCC finalized agency values, known as “CLEAR”: Embrace Collaboration | Always Learn | Practice Excellence | Be Accountable | Respect Individuals & Ideas. A critical element on which employees were rated for FY 2013 was “Teamwork, Collaboration, and Professionalism”. A measure used to evaluate that critical element was “Is open to new ideas; shares own knowledge; applies knowledge in daily work; builds partnerships for learning and knowledge sharing.”
Support knowledge-sharing vehicles such as the Knowledge and Innovation Network (KIN) journal and the Principles into Practice series.
In 2013, MCC launched the Knowledge and Innovation Network (KIN) technical journal. The KIN journal provides a platform for the technical staff of MCC, MCAs and partners to share ideas, innovations, lessons, and best practices from MCC investments with an eye on improving effectiveness and contributing international development learning. The first KIN journal focused on infrastructure and climate change; the second on local food security and global markets.
MCC also created a Principles into Practice series of papers designed to offer a frank look at what it takes to make MCC principles operational. Principles into Practice papers have covered topics including MCC focus on results; country ownership; property rights and land policy; impact evaluations of agriculture projects; and gender equality. The papers have helped MCC share its experience and expertise with the broader development community but producing the papers has itself forced coordinating and learning internally at MCC and across its portfolio.
Promoting Transparency of Information
Draft and implement a policy promoting public disclosure of MCC data and information in open and accessible format and monitor compliance.
Rationalize reporting requirements across agency to increase accessibility and utility while avoiding duplication.
Develop legal guidelines relating to data and information privacy, security and dissemination.
Implement communications strategy to support open data.
In October 2013, MCC ranked at the top of the international Aid Transparency Index, released by Publish What You Fund – The Global Campaign for Aid Transparency. The top ranking reflected MCC’s commitment and efforts to promote the transparency of information, including the activities above. MCC successfully developed an Open Data Catalogue which includes machine-readable datasets, descriptions of the datasets (dataset metadata) and tools that use the data.
Implementing Strategic Staffing
Integrate strategic staffing data and recommendations into agency program for managing human capital.
In FY 2014, MCC will continue implementation of the TEAMS system to better plan and manage staffing of compact country teams. The system is being migrated to a SharePoint platform to limit maintenance costs as well as enable MCC to more easily make system adjustments. TEAMS allows MCC to do more strategic workforce planning, which is important as MCC seeks to achieve its mission in a tight fiscal environment.
Monitor and adjust country team size, composition and workload to optimize staff resources as compacts and projects evolve.
MCC is completing a strategic workforce planning tool to allow operational managers to more quickly scale up or down team resources throughout MCC’s compact lifecycle. In addition, MCC recently completed a staff realignment to provide more streamlined management for technical resources.
Ensuring Project Sustainability
Prioritize analysis of project sustainability in the compact and project justification process.
Explore flexibilities relating to late stage and post-compact activities which will increase sustainability and project impact.
In October 2012 an Operations Review (OR) was released which provided an overview of MCC's sustainability practices and presented several case studies from the MCC portfolio. In June 2013, the MCC Points of Contact practice group set out to build the Sustainability Operations Review with the goal of making practical, actionable recommendations that would ensure sustainability planning was playing an equally integral role across all MCC compacts in development, implementation and closure.
The practice group set up a workshop series situated around the five pillars of sustainability identified in the OR – financial, environmental, social and behavioral, policy and institutional. Through this set of workshops, MCC staff were invited to join the team in learning more about MCC's sustainability work, as well as that of other development organizations. In these sessions, the team agreed on definitions of the different pillars of sustainability, heard case studies from colleagues across the agency and identified recommendations that could be made to improve sustainability planning and reporting throughout the life of compacts. The practice group is currently working to draft an action memo to senior staff noting its recommendations, proposed definitions and next steps.
Implement new private sector strategy developed by Finance, Investment and Trade team.
Implementation of the new private sector strategy has been spearheaded by a newly organized Finance, Investment and Trade team led by a newly appointed senior leader from the private sector. The team has been organized with industry focus areas that reflect the development programs in the MCC portfolio and better enable communication with companies and other potential investors who operate in the relevant sectors. The team has made it a priority to broaden the dialogue with the private sector so there is a broader appreciation of the strategic opportunities that MCC is creating in emerging and frontier markets around the world in addition to the possible procurement opportunities that result from MCC’s development work.
Pursue initiatives which have the potential to promote public-private cooperation to enhance sustainability (such as the “Thought + Action Partnership” concept).
MCC’s Finance, Investment and Trade team has developed new tools such as the Investment Opportunity Process (IOP). The IOP is now employed beginning early in compact development to identify and develop opportunities to promote private investment in and around MCC programs in order to enhance the economic impact and sustainability of MCC investments. These opportunities can take a variety of forms, including public-private partnerships, co-investment and parallel financing arrangements, credit enhancements, investment climate reforms, capacity-building projects or innovation facilities.
Addressing Organizational Challenges
Improve technology platforms to support business operations.
MCC modernized hardware (e.g., laptops) and implemented wireless access to the MCC intranet and Web 2.0 Collaboration Platform (MS Sharepoint 2010). For OMB MAX, MCC implemented single sign-on and enhanced reporting. A prototype for human resource planning, allocation and tracking will support MCC’s matrix management of compact operations. Also, MCC closed approximately 50 FISMA, Privacy and IT Governance weaknesses/audit findings.
Improve HR operations to facilitate rapid response to evolving business needs.
Finalize guidelines on promotion policy and organizational constraints to promotion.
HR continues to develop tools, assessments, and processes to monitor and evaluate the results of its Talent Management policies, programs, and initiatives in order to identify and sustain employee strengths; as well as prioritize and address opportunities to improve employee readiness to respond to evolving business needs. The need for further guidelines for promotions is being considered in the context of retaining talent and incentivizing performance to respond to these needs.
Improve training and education opportunities, focusing on relevance and support Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) program.
In light of a tight fiscal environment, HR is conducting an analysis of all MCC training programs to determine the best value-add to the agency. Specifically for LEAD, after completion of the program, the LEAD Cohort’s leadership competencies will be compared prior to and after the completion of the LEAD Program to ensure that the expected outcomes are realized.
Implement space utilization plan to optimize MCC budget requirements.
As a result of a thorough space needs analysis and a competitive bidding process, MCC will lower its headquarters rent cost by $30 million over the course of its new ten-year lease, which was signed in February 2014 and will begin on May 2015.