The Obama administration is seeking additional U.S. taxpayer funds to provide more health services to Kenyans through a massive assistance program that has already grown so “rapidly and exponentially” the U.S. government now needs help from outside contractors to oversee it.
A Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm known for its work with the United Nations Development Program, the European Union and the World Bank has been hired by the administration to monitor, analyze and improve the foreign-assistance program, known as the Evaluation Services and Program Support endeavor.
The U.S. Agency for International Development has awarded a contract potentially worth $23 million to International Business & Technical Consultants, Inc., or IBTCI, which will provide such services when called upon.
The new arrangement allows USAID/Kenya’s Office of Population and Health Programs, or OPH, and USAID/East Africa’s Regional Health and HIV/AIDS Office, or RHH, to issue separate work orders to the consulting firm on an indefinite quantity, indefinite delivery basis.
The initiative emphasizes “Kenya is a priority country for The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and receives significant funding to address HIV/AIDS and related problems. Similarly, resources available from the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) assure continued funding for malaria programs.”
Despite this consistent flow of funding, Kenya wants more.
USAID says key target groups among the Kenyan population have reached plateaus or have seen declines in measurements of Kenyans’ health.
Kenya consequently intends to “seek additional funding to balance the current program to increase coverage for family planning, maternal, neonatal, and child health, nutrition/food security, and safe water and hygiene.”
USAID/East Africa similarly will enlist the consulting firm’s assistance in contributing to “the re-design of new, evidence-based follow-on projects and programs” in Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
This agency unit likewise is working “in close collaboration” with U.S. government counterparts at the Centers for Disease Control and the departments of Defense and State “to accelerate the scale-up of proven high-impact and low-cost public health programming.”
Although USAID admittedly cannot adequately manage the voluminous initiatives it has launched in Kenya, cost-wise overall aid dropped from a high of $830 million in 2009 to $460 million in 2013.
Despite the administration’s emphasis on Kenyan health programs, there is another component to the initiative: the implementation of Kenya’s new constitution, which requires greater decentralization of the national government and expansion of the county governmental system.
While the overarching goal “is to focus on the establishment of a sustainable national health system for all Kenyans,” it also must maintain “strong linkages” to other governmental and societal sectors “that impact health but have conventionally been perceived as outside of the control of the health sector.”
U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor has reported over the past year on various components of Obama’s Kenyan assistance scheme.
Those exclusive Monitor reports (some which originally appeared via WND.com and were reprinted here by the author) led USAID to eliminate public access to a critical planning document governing a U.S. propaganda initiative known as the USAID/Kenya Strategic Communications Plan 2012-2013.
Publicly available documents revealing the Obama administration’s unwieldy portfolio of Kenyan projects – which includes a formal plan to manipulate Kenyan and global media – were removed from a federal contracting database, the Monitor discovered.
The agency likewise revamped one of its solicitations for industry proposals, modifying the project to make it an East African rather than a Kenyan-only endeavor.
However, the Monitor discovered the government merely repackaged and re-released it, expanding the potential geographic reach of the initiative while limiting it to health-related projects.
USAID also plans to spend up to $50 million to strengthen Kenya’s county governments, as the Monitor previously reported.
Though the effort could help redistribute political power across the African republic, whose national government is viewed as one of the most notoriously corrupt in the world, the administration acknowledged the process may inadvertently create 47 equally corrupt county systems.
The Monitor reported Obama also is embarking upon a nationwide reading project that aims to improve the skills of children in tens of thousands of Kenyan schools.
The administration furthermore launched new peace initiatives in and around Kenya, despite acknowledging that chronic cattle rustling and other cultural practices – such as killing rivals “to prove their manhood or impress young women” – might impede progress.
USAID separately will pump hundreds of millions into contractor coffers to help improve business for farmers in and around Kenya.
This article originally was published via WND.com, and has been reprinted by the author under agreement with WND.Follow @tradeaidmonitor