USAID cites “zero tolerance for mismanagement of American taxpayer funds,” but HIV contracts followed years of reports of contractor’s high salaries, dubious results
The nonprofit contractor that USAID announced Monday it had suspended after investigations revealed “serious misconduct [in its] performance, management, internal controls and present responsibility,” saw its fortunes leap from $1.2 million a year to $706 million, after the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with programs intended to rebuild the countries’ infrastructures, and weaken insurgent recruitment, according to Washington Post reports. But programs managed by USAID’s largest contractor were so mismanaged that they appeared to do the opposite, funneling money to the insurgency in Iraq, according to the Post, which also cites a 2010 Nation article.
International Relief and Development, where salaries more than doubled those at comparable nonprofits, and where executives received bonuses unheard of at other nonprofit contractors, according to the Post reports, boasts on its web site that it also “is making a world of difference for communities affected by HIV/AIDS.” According to the Post, the United Church of Christ minister and his wife who founded the organization collected $4.4 million in salary and bonuses between 2008 and 2012. Former USAID acting director Alonzo Fulgham, who made $199,418 in his position at the agency, got $330,000 when he became vice president of IRD, according to the Post.
According to the contractor’s web site, as well as Country Operational Plans for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the organization received contracts from USAID to carry out health-infrastructure building, poverty-reduction and communications programs targeting HIV epidemics in Ukraine, Mozambique and Ethiopia. It is listed as a prime partner in the PEPFAR 2013 Country Operational Plan for Ethiopia, and a sub-partner in PEPFAR’s 2013 Country Operational Plan for Mozambique. Those are the most recent country operational plans posted on PEPFAR’s site. PEPFAR Country Operational Plans are typically submitted during the spring or summer of their calendar year, approved by the fall of that year, and implemented the following fiscal year. Start and end dates for the PEPFAR programs are redacted on the publicly available documents. Information on the costs of the programs were not available from USAID, IRD or PEPFAR this morning, and will be added here when they become available.
In Ukraine, home to one of the most severe HIV epidemics in Europe, where the epidemic has been exacerbated by an epidemic of tuberculosis, where drug and supply mismanagement has challenged treatment, and where programs targeting the most marginalized populations, including people who inject drugs are lacking, according to PEPFAR’s 2013 Country Operational Plan, IRD led a USAID-funded program called “Reducing the Stigma and Discrimination Associated with HIV and AIDS” that the organization described in a press release leading up to the 2012 International AIDS Conference. The program, according to IRD, used “a peer education methodology to build the knowledge and capacity of over 15,000 peer educators to conduct culturally appropriate community-based education sessions.”
In Mozambique, where HIV rates are estimated at nearly 12 percent, and where more than half the population has to walk for more than an hour to reach the nearest health facility, according to the 2013 PEPFAR Country Operational Plan, IRD led a USAID-funded program called Women First. That program was designed, according to the organization’s release, to “increase knowledge of healthy behaviors, strengthen women’s economic power, and create opportunities for private sector partners to expand their markets.”
In Ethiopia, “Addressing HIV and Poverty,” according to the organization’s web site, “IRD is building the capacity of six national implementing partners and 230 civil society organizations to implement development programs that reduce HIV transmission and barriers to HIV care for 90,000 households in 269 towns.” PEPFAR’s 2013 Country Operational Plan describes an “Indefinite Quantity Contract” for a “Health Infrastructure Construction Program” to enlist services to build and renovate government health facilities and infrastructures.
Information on the costs, duration, and outcomes of the programs will be added as it becomes available.