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One issue here is that the entire bilateral aid system in the US is built around contracting individual activities (either through grants with NGOs and universities or direct contracts with a handful of firms and NGOs) who have to report “progress” no matter how difficult the challenge or how far removed from existing evidence of root causes. This leads to the RFI you link to as well as any number of other, perhaps less egregious but no less flawed, programs getting funded to address every possible domain of development. One silver lining is that in food security, Feed the Future is shifting toward a “systems approach.” It is unclear if this is a branding exercise or something that recognizes the issues you raise but perhaps it could help shift the donor approach to addressing well-researched but poorly implemented programs.

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