Overview of the Project

The Bureau for Global Health’s (GH’s) cross-bureau budget (CBB) allocates funds to activities that support both Bureau and the Agency goals. The results of these activities cannot be directly attributed to specific health program areas such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, health security, maternal and child health, family planning and reproductive health, or nutrition. Instead, the CBB is divided into four major components: Mechanisms, Staff, Office Allocations, and Operations.

Integra was asked to provide an assessment of the cross-bureau budget for the Bureau. The assessment focused on the components of the cross-bureau budget, including central mechanisms, staffing, office allocations, and operational costs, and provided recommendations to GH on improving processes for determining the allocation of funding for current and future activities.


In light of recent funding constraints, including a reduction in the contributions to the CBB under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), the primary objectives of the assessment were to: (1) review how the CBB is currently formulated and executed; (2) document what is included in the CBB; and (3) provide recommendations.


Our team performed mixed methods analyses using available data while taking into account the needs and objectives provided by GH. The data sources used included bureau- and office-level fiscal data and reports; program descriptions; staffing data; interviews, observations, and anecdotes. A combination of rapid appraisal methods, face-to-face interviews with key informants, and focus group discussions were used to conduct the work.


This assessment reviewed both the formulation and execution of GH’s CBB. Recommendations were made to improve the process ensuring that the Bureau remains responsive and optimally contributes to current and emerging Administration, Agency, and GH priorities. Two competing realities were apparent including: (1) the shrinking pool of funds for the CBB; and (2) the dramatically increased demand for programs that support the Agency’s Journey to Self-Reliance (J2SR) policy, many of which are funded through the CBB.

Integra’s assessment team recommended steps both to increase the supply of funds for the CBB and to reduce demand, while also improving transparency and accountability. The team also found issues with how decisions are made on what to include in the CBB.

CBB Formulation Recommendations

  • Review the Budget’s International Partnership line items to determine if fewer deductions can be made, thus increasing the “adjusted” base used for CBB taxation purposes and enabling adjustments to current allocation rates (all “pass throughs” to other organizations would continue to be deducted);
  • Increase surcharges on all mechanisms to cover central costs;
  • Encourage direct and partial funding of administrative positions by program area offices;
  • Formulate a Bureau-wide strategy that creates a unifying framework for GH (beyond its current three health goals), and defines specific criteria to evaluate proposals for CBB funding;
  • Institute a more rigorous CBB review process with broader participation;
  • Re-structure to clearly differentiate between administrative support and program costs.

CBB Execution Recommendations

  • Ensure that the CBB and cross-cutting activities are appropriately covered during annual portfolio reviews and that commitments to the CBB are made by program area offices; and
  • If internal “fixes” within GH cannot be developed, work with the Agency to determine if “fixes” can be made to the Phoenix accounting system to better handle the late allocation and bundling of CBB funds with non-CBB program area funds.


Madagascar is widely recognized as the home of some of the world’s most exceptional biodiversity. The island country also has high population growth, multidimensional poverty, and a large rural population. The people of Madagascar depend on subsistence agriculture and natural resource extraction for their livelihoods, which has led to environmental degradation.  These activities have put the survival of many of the country’s species at risk. As a result, Madagascar is considered one of the top “biodiversity hotspots” in the world.

Under the Conservation and Communities Project (CCP), USAID aims to both promote resilient livelihoods for the people of Madagascar, while also securing the country’s rich biodiversity and natural resources. USAID/Madagascar’s Sustainable Environment and Economic Development Office (SEED) requested that Integra assess the financial, economic, and environmental impact of specific interventions under the Mikajy activity. Specifically, Integra was asked to conduct the following:

  • A cost-benefit analysis (CBA) of conservation farming (CF) of maize and groundnuts in Menabe;
  • A CBA of Rainforest Alliance (RA) certified vanilla production in MaMaBay; and
  • A cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) of various approaches to conservation and natural resource management (NRM).


Integra used a combination of interviews and secondary evidence, and data collected in the field, supplemented with information from a detailed literature review, including USAID administrative documents, farm surveys from similar activities, and related academic and scientific research.

Key Findings

  • USAID Mikajy supports maize and groundnut interventions resulting in an economic net present value (NPV) of $8,786.
  • The positive financial return for maize is highly dependent on assumptions regarding the source of additional organic fertilizer.
  • The financial return for groundnuts becomes negative with slight movements to the assumed costs of HYV seeds.
  • The incremental NPV can be raised by including a financial mechanism to offset inputs cost (e.g. seeds and fertilizers) and yield growth potential achieved in the first year of adoption. Additionally, farmers could increase their revenues if they expand production to other non-forested agriculture land.


To improve the outcomes of USAID/Madagascar’s SEED interventions, Integra recommended:

  • Expanding Data Tracking of Value Chain Activities
    Data collected when incorporated into a CBAs will more accurately reflect the financial and economic impact of the activity. The data will also improve quarterly and annual reporting, as well as monitoring and evaluation plans.
  • Recognizing the Importance of Financial Viability for Farmers
    USAID could prioritize conservation farming of groundnuts or alternative crops over maize to increase the financial return to farmers and to improve the economic return to USAID’s investment. Switching from maize to a more profitable crop would improve both financial and economic returns, and further incentivize farmers to support conservation effort
  • Bridging the Knowledge Gaps that Restrict Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
    USAID/Madagascar can work with Madagascar National Parks, other Protected Area managers and community-based natural resource managers to establish a reporting framework to produce the type of high-resolution data required to undertake causal and comparative analysis on the impacts and costs of conservation and NRM management systems

Finance is a critical input to a country’s education system, yet partner country education systems are strained…

Copyright © 2020 Integra Government Services International LLC