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Archive for July, 2012

Women Thrive’s IPR Fact Sheet

Monday, July 30th, 2012
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Back in May, our partner Women Thrive Worldwide hosted a gender roundtable on the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) implementation and procurement reform (IPR) agenda. What came out of that meeting is a smart one-pager—or fact sheet—that explains why IPR is central to building capacity and ensuring development solutions are country-led. “All Development is Local: Making U.S. Assistance Work for Women” provides recommendations about how these reform efforts can meet the needs and garner the expertise of local communities, both women and men, around the world.

Thrive’s recommendations include:

  • Work with a broad range of local actors. Specifically, Thrive hopes that USAID “conducts meaningful consultations with a variety of stakeholders before project planning begins.”
  • Facilitate an enabling environment for local NGOs to engage in development.
  • Offer alternative grant models, such as multi-year grants, small grants for small organizations, and umbrella grant models.
  • Improve transparency by identifying all implementing partners, grant and sub-grant recipients, as appropriate, and making selection processes competitive and transparent.
  • Do no harm. Thrive writes, “It is critical that development interventions are informed by the local context and avoid causing harm to the very people they are intended to protect.”

MFAN agrees that it is important to bring all stakeholders into the planning process early. To read more of MFAN’s recommendations to ensure sustainable, country-led development, click here.


Mark Your Calendars — Week of July 30

Friday, July 27th, 2012
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Every Thursday, MFAN will post a list of upcoming events for the following week. For more information about each event and to RSVP, click on the links below. If your organization is hosting an event next week and you don’t see yourself on the list, please email

See below for a list of MFAN Partner events:


Greater Business-Government Alignment is a Win-Win for Global Development

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
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See below for a guest post from MFAN Principal Jennifer Potter, CEO of the Initiative for Global Development.


Last October, USAID Administrator Raj Shah delivered a major speech, entitled “Embracing Enlightened Capitalism,” in which he did two important things. First, he described how the agency is implementing many of the big ideas President Obama rolled out in the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development in September 2010, especially related to elevating broad-based economic growth as a top priority and leveraging the private sector as part of a more comprehensive development strategy. Second, he took on squarely some of the challenges that exist for business and government to work together more strategically on development.

As he outlined, much has changed in the evolution of foreign assistance over the past 50 years and much has also changed with the corporate community – something the Initiative for Global Development (IGD) and our network of global business leaders see daily in our work to drive large-scale poverty reduction through vital business growth and investment in the developing world. Both companies and development agencies see the tremendous upside for driving increased business and social impact through greater alignment.

At a CSIS/Chevron Forum event on July 24, Business for Better Development, an IGD project co-chaired by Chevron and IBM, launched a working paper entitled “The Business Case for Development: How Companies Can Drive Sustainable Development – and How Governments and Donors Can Leverage Their Impact.”  The paper outlines a two-sided opportunity that offers a win-win for global development: the opportunity for companies to succeed in frontier markets by incorporating business models that deliver development impact, and the opportunity for donors and governments to leverage the power of business to achieve large-scale, long-term impact.

For example, PepsiCo has partnered with USAID, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Ethiopian government to increase the volume and quality of chickpeas produced by local farmers. WFP, in turn, is developing a chickpea-based ready-to-use nutrition supplement that is essential for early childhood development and can be used in WFP feeding programs. Through the Enterprise EthioPEA program, PepsiCo will establish a local source of chickpeas, Ethiopian farmers will gain new markets for their products, USAID will secure a business partner that can help build out a Feed the Future value chain, and WFP will add a new supplemental food to their child nutrition programs.

Donors can increase effectiveness and extend their resources by identifying how to leverage corporate strategies that are well aligned with development priorities. The paper makes the following recommendations to help development agencies tip the balance to induce more business investment with greater development impact.

  • Identify high-potential corporate partners and integrate sustainable outcomes from the outset
  • Provide meaningful opportunities for companies to engage throughout the project lifespan
  • Address investment constraints with targeted tools, such as capacity building, development finance, and procurement
  • Create incentives that encourage and reward engagement with business

The good news is that much of this work is underway. USAID is deploying its first group of Field Investment Officers this year to help drive increased engagement with the private sector in key missions, including several in Africa. And several “next generation” development opportunities – such as the MCC’s second compact with Ghana, which is focused on increasing investment in the power sector, the administration’s Partnership for Growth initiative, which seeks to provide a more coordinated, government-wide approach to addressing growth and investment constraints in four countries, and Feed the Future, with its newly identified priority value chains in Africa – provide the occasion to apply new approaches that acknowledge the potential for governments and businesses to generate the ingredients of sustainable growth together that neither are likely to accomplish alone. We look forward to working with our colleagues in business and in government to further this important evolution and to catalyze increased investment and development impact.

Jennifer Potter is CEO of the Initiative for Global Development (IGD). IGD engages global business leaders to reduce poverty through strategic, catalytic investment in the developing world, with a current focus on Africa. The IGD  network is comprised of CEOs and other business leaders from African, South Asian, U.S., and European companies who are recognized sector leaders and share a commitment to poverty reduction.


Moving local organizations into the driver’s seat

Thursday, July 19th, 2012
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See below for a guest post from Carlos Cardenas, Country Director in Guatemala Save the Children. This is the second post in our field feedback series and part of a new blog series launched by Save the Children as part of its commitment to support effective U.S. foreign assistance.  The series documents recent aid reform efforts drawing upon interviews in 2012 with Save the Children staff working in fifteen countries.  By focusing on one change in one country over time, the stories provide insight into how policies intended to modernize U.S. foreign assistance can result in meaningful change on the ground. This post originally appeared on the Save the Children website.


Sometimes the best way to serve families over the long haul is to step back.  Recent policy changes to U.S. foreign assistance programs are putting more local organizations in the lead on development projects around the world.
In Guatemala, chronic malnutrition keeps half the country’s children from developing properly.  That fuels a vicious cycle of poverty that hurts children in rural, indigenous communities the most.   U.S. investments to break this cycle have helped countless children and families, but new reforms mean Guatemalans will play a bigger, more sustainable role in fighting the worst rate of chronic malnutrition in the Western hemisphere.

Save the Children has worked in Guatemala for 14 years with a variety of public and private funding to help poor populations overcome the impact of poverty and three decades of civil conflict.  As an international nonprofit humanitarian and development agency, we work alongside communities to implement integrated programs that improve health, nutrition, economic opportunities, disaster risk reduction, and democracy and governance. We know that improving farmers’ access to markets leads to greater, steadier income through the year and, critically for children, to improved nutrition for their own families.

For the last five years, Save the Children was the prime recipient of funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to run a major food security project.  In tandem, a local consortium created by Guatemala’s largest export corporations called AGEXPORT was running small scale projects with USAID funds opening up markets for poor rural farmers.

As a result of USAID’s policy called Implementation and Procurement Reform, AGEXPORT is about to move into the driver’s seat.   In a new Feed the Future project called “Rural Value Chains,” USAID required that a local Guatemalan organization be the prime funding recipient.  AGEXPORT has asked Save the Children to play a supportive role by providing key technical support and institutional capacity.

If the project moves ahead as planned, this local Guatemalan organization will bring its expertise with domestic markets to the partnership, while we will bring our experience improving children’s nutrition and food security.

AGEXPORT’s selection as the prime grantee will give the organization the opportunity to build capacity and institutional expertise to lead increasingly large-scale projects.

That bodes well for the future.

In the next grant cycle, I suspect that AGEXPORT may not need Save the Children or any other international NGO to improve conditions for Guatemalan farmers and their children.   And Save the Children can move on to another area where our technical expertise and services are still truly needed.

Working ourselves out of a job is a development success.



Mark Your Calendars — Week of July 23, 2012

Thursday, July 19th, 2012
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Every Thursday, MFAN will post a list of upcoming events for the following week. For more information about each event and to RSVP, click on the links below. If your organization is hosting an event next week and you don’t see yourself on the list, please email

See below for a list of MFAN Partner events: