A comparative analysis of alternative technical assistance delivery systems, with emphasis on consortia
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This analysis focused on 18 agricultural projects AID had under contract at the beginning of 1981 with five permanent consortia--CID, SECID, SutSU, MIAC AND MUCIA. Data were also obtained about comparable projects from 18 of the 36 respondents. Information was primarily obtained on site for five projects and from project monitors in AID/Washington and Campus Project Directors for the remaining projects. Statistical and other analyses of these data resulted in the following conclusions and recommendations: 1. Consortia were performing significantly better than comparable contractors with regard to linkage establishment, involving small universities, and were better received by host governments in the judgement of the respondent. The comparable contractors were doing significantly better staffing their projects during the initial year. Regional differences were important in consortia performance. Recruiting, especially Ph.D.'s, for projects in some regions was much more difficult than in others. Likewise, the adequacy of AID support varied from region to region. 3. Projects were plagued by numerous delays. Regardless of cause of delay, once a project got out of synchronization, regaining its full potential effectiveness level was difficult. 4. The four largest permanent consortia studied differed significantly. Major differences were manifest in staffing rates, recruiting of Ph.D.'s, providing opportunities for small universities, and staffing projects with faculty members from their member universities. 5. A uniform evaluation procedure was not evident. Project performance could be improved by better evaluation procedures. 6. A tendency was found that the larger the university membership in the consortium, the better the staffing rates of projects but the poorer the organizational-management ratings given the projects by the respondents. Conversely, small consortia tended to get better organizational-management scores but had greater problems staffing projects. 7. Several management oriented changes were suggested. These centered on improved tracking of projects, experimenting with joint permanent consortia-project specific consortia contracting, use of project management councils, and an annual award program for the outstanding consortium project. 8. Present procurement procedures would be modified by some of the recommendations. These included considering a bidder's past staffing record, requiring posting of nominated personnel, reducing the contractor selection time period, limiting each bidder to one submission, integrating elements of the cost proposal in the technical proposal and encouraging or discouraging consortia to prepare proposals in the contractor selection criteria. 9. A training program of short courses on 1) business practices and 2) preparation for a technical assistance assignment were recommended. 10. Finally, a research program on technical assistance and institution building was suggested with the following initial foci: development of an index of project effectiveness, cost/effectiveness of host country contracts, project evaluation procedures and costs of consortia.--Page 1-3.