It was planned to commission and codify a gender analysis and provide targeted funding for the women’s programs of 10 US government agencies. On an individual level, the hope has been that poor female entrepreneurs will often get the financial kick-start they need to build a business.
One of the 10 agencies involved was the US Agency for International Development, mandated by the WEEE Act to provide $ 265 million annually to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. Half of the money is needed for women, half for the poorest (some overlap is expected between the two groups).
While Trump pointed to W-GDP As a cohesive program that allows us to closely track the execution and effectiveness of the money we spend, GAO’s 14-month audit shows that at least USAID has done the opposite.
Launched during USAID at least 19 new empowerment programs for women In 2019 alone, there were significant errors in both the direction of money and the measurement of its impact.
USAID could not say what proportion of the funds went to the very poor and women-owned and managed companies. Amazingly, the agency couldn’t even define what actually a company owned and run by women is, the GAO concluded.
Ivanka Trump and her team spent two years developing the broader W-BIP program. However, the White House had limited control over USAID, where a team of 20 career officials – originally known as the Office of Private Capital and Microenterprise and later as the Private Sector Engagement Hub – oversaw spending on the WEEE Act. Trump’s team made weekly and sometimes daily calls to these officials to oversee implementation.
One of Ivanka Trump’s favorite anecdotes about women’s empowerment on global conference stages from New York to Doha focused on their efforts to empower Colombian women, which she visited in September 2019 with USAID administrator Mark Green. The American and Colombian governments went so far as to ask questions a common communique about their common vision.
Under the surface there have been problems with USAID programs in Colombia. GAO highlighted USAID’s Colombian funding of a Productive Entrepreneurship Program for Peace and a Rural Finance Initiative as examples of projects with important broad inclusion goals that also failed to meet the requirements of the WEEE Direct Funding for the Poorest Act.
“USAID has not defined and does not collect information necessary to meet its legal targeting requirements,” the report said, partly because 26 of the 47 offices around the world did not receive survey responses on how they distributed the funds .
GAO’s six recommendations to USAID focus on establishing new internal processes that can provide “reasonable assurance” that money allocated by Congress will get to its intended recipients.
USAID – now under the direction of acting administrator Gloria Steele while Samantha Power awaits confirmation of her nomination to head the agency – has accepted all six recommendations. Colleen Allen, assistant administrative assistant at USAID, in a written response to the GAO report, said the agency had already partially implemented some of the recommendations and recognized the need for better early planning.
MP Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) And former MP Ed Royce (R-CA), co-authors of the WEEE Act, did not immediately respond to POLITICO’s request for comment.
The GAO exam was based on official financial accounts and interviews with USAID employees in 11 countries. The report found that some of the issues related to the mismanagement of allocated funds date back to 2015, before the WEEE law was incorporated into the law.