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Four of our finalists in this cause effectively withdrew from Round 2 of our application process, after being named finalists in Round 1. In all of these cases, the primary factor cited was our request for a bird's-eye view of the entire organization's activities, consistent with our principle of understanding organizations broadly.
The following attachments were sent to all four of these organizations as our Round 2 application. We followed up by phone with all of them to explain that this application merely represents one possible way of viewing the organization as a whole, and that any useful view could substitute for it. (As a note, PSI - the applicant that gave us the best view of its organization-wide activities - did so without using these materials at all, instead sending documents that were already available.)
The Aga Khan Foundation's Round 1 application described an economic assistance program, including infrastructure development and training in farming techniques, and provided detailed information on its likely impact on people in the region. In response to our Round 2 application, its representatives informed us that the Aga Khan Foundation operates largely on a by-project basis and has no unified view of its activities of the kind we seek, although it does have documents available on its overall strategic approach. It sent these documents to us, but we do not have clearance to share them, and did not find them to provide a concrete sense of what the Foundation does, where it does it, and what its likely impact on life outcomes is. We informed the Aga Khan Foundation of this, and they did not continue with our process.
The Red Cross's Round 1 application described a bednet distribution program; though it did not provide direct measurement on the impact of this campaign, it provided independent research on the impact of similar projects that had been done in the past. However, after discussing our requirements for Round 2, the American Red Cross opted not to continue with our process, stating that the organization operates largely on a project-by-project basis and has no unified view available of the kind we seek.
The International Eye Foundation's Round 1 application included a well-documented summary (the SRM Final Evaluation Report below) of a child survival program in Malawi, similar to those run by Project HOPE and Food for the Hungry. We discussed our requirements for Round 2, but International Eye Foundation declined to submit materials, citing time constraints.
UNICEF was a late addition to the set of applicants (they did not respond to our inquiry email, but we got in touch with them later after they heard about us from a donor). Rather than sending them our Round 1 application, we made the same request that we made of Round 2 applicants: that they give us an overview of all their activities. Their application featured the Accelerated Childhood Survival and Development program (see the GIVS_childsurvival PowerPoint file below), a concept we found compelling enough to investigate further, but we were informed that there are no published studies available on UNICEF's actual execution of this program. Scanning UNICEF's online list of evaluations, we were unable to find a unifying strategy or enough reports to get a "bird's-eye view" of what UNICEF does.