In mid-September, USAID Administrator Raj Shah joined MFAN Principal and then President and CEO of ONE David Lane as part of the State Department’s “Conversations with America” series. The discussion, which aired just days before the Millennium Development Goals summit, centered on the development challenges and opportunities facing the US today. Still, Shah used the conversation as an opportunity to list the internal reforms USAID would be undertaking to help reform the overall aid structure.
At one point Shah said, “We have spent a lot of time listening and learning about how we can do this work better, more effectively. And the number one thing we’ve learned is we need to be more capable of supporting country-owned efforts and building real capacity through our investments around the world. So there are three good examples of this. One is in Feed the Future in our Global Health Initiative, frankly, across all the rest of the things we’re doing. We are moving much more towards a model a little bit pioneered by the Millennium Challenge Corporation where we’re saying, “We want to see strong country plans, we want to be supportive of those plans, and we don’t want to do things in parallel in a way that’s not visible to and in partnership with country governments, civil society organizations, private sector organizations.”