Performance Evaluation of the USAID KEA East Africa Region Environment Program

Elephants on Safari

Credit: Brittany Iskarpatyoti, AIR 2017

East Africa is home to some of the most spectacular wildlife and ecosystems in the world. These vast yet fragile environments contribute greatly to national and regional economies, producing between 7.5 and 10 percent of the regional gross domestic product. However, unplanned and unregulated land use and industrial development disrupt wildlife migratory corridors and lead to habitat shrinkage, biodiversity loss, illegal and unsustainable natural resource extraction, and wildlife poaching and trafficking. Together, these factors are creating major environmental and socio-economic threats to wildlife and its habitats in East Africa. 

The United States Agency for International Development Kenya and East Africa (USAID/KEA) Mission designed five Activities under the East Africa Regional Environment Project (EAEP) to address these threats. 

AIR was contracted to conduct a rapid, participatory, results-based mixed methods evaluation with a focus on evidence-based learning across five USAID EAEP activities occurring since 2018. 

The evaluation was designed to:

  • Analyze the progress and effectiveness of the interventions to date; 
  • Assess the extent of resource cost effectiveness; and 
  • Document learning to inform design of future natural resource management project implementation strategies and adjust current programming.

The evaluation measured progress toward the USAID EAEP program’s sub-purposes, also referred to as intermediate results, within the theory of change and the extent to which EAEP activities have strategically, operationally, and sustainably progressed toward the following program objectives:

  • Improved biophysical conditions of key transboundary landscapes (e.g., the Great African Plains crossing Kenya and Tanzania and the Northern Savannas between Kenya and Uganda); 
  • Improved population trends of target species (e.g., elephant, rhinoceros, lions, endangered primates, and pangolins); and 
  • Improved conservation and management of natural capital in East Africa, such as rangeland and forested landscapes and biodiversity.