Per ADS 201, USAID Operating Units (OU) should devote approximately 1 to 3 percent of total program funding to external evaluation on average. This does not mean that every project or activity should be evaluated or that 1 to 3 percent of the budget of every project, activity or implementing mechanism be set aside for evaluation. The actual costs of M&E may vary depending on the operating environment and the specific types of evaluations the OU plans to undertake.
The Program Office should calculate on an annual basis a budget estimate for the external evaluations to be undertaken during the following fiscal year. This estimate does not include implementing partners’ internal M&E operations. Most likely, this exercise is best done during the Operational Plan (OP) preparation time. As many external evaluations will also be implementing mechanisms, much of the needed information will need to be prepared as part of the OP.