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Archive for the ‘USAID’ Category

QDDR Fact Sheet

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010
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The Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) Fact Sheet is now up on Of note is a helpful sidebar that lists key outcomes of the report. These include:

  • Build America’s civilian power, bringing together the unique contributions of civilians across the federal government to advance U.S. interests.
  • Elevate and transform development to deliver results by focusing our investments, supporting innovation, and measuring results.
  • Build a civilian capacity to prevent and respond to crisis and conflict and give our military the partner it needs and deserves.
  • Change the way we do business by working smarter to save money, planning and budgeting to accomplish our priorities, and measuring the results of our investments.

Check back here for more updates on the QDDR rollout.

Sec. Clinton’s Prepared Remarks on QDDR Rollout

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010
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See below for some highlights from Secretary Clinton’s remarks at today’s Town Hall meeting on the QDDR:

I am proud today to unveil the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review – the QDDR. This is a sweeping effort that asks a simple question: How can we do better? How can we adapt to a world of rising powers, changing global architecture, evolving threats, and new opportunities? How can we look ahead, prepare for, and help shape the world of tomorrow?

The QDDR is a blueprint for how we can make the State Department and USAID more nimble, more effective, and more accountable. A blueprint for how our country can lead in a changing world through the use of what I call “civilian power” – the combined force of all of the civilians across the U.S. government who practice diplomacy, carry out development projects, and act to prevent and respond to crisis and conflict.

Leading through civilian power saves lives and money. With the right tools, training, and leadership, our diplomats and development experts can defuse crises before they explode and create new opportunities for economic growth. We can find new partners to share burdens and find new solutions to problems that might otherwise require military action. And where we must work side by side, in Afghanistan and Iraq but also in many fragile states around the world, we can give our military the partner it needs and deserves.

Through the QDDR, we have tried to minimize costs and maximize impacts, avoid overlap and duplication, and focus on delivering results. Across our programs, we are redefining success based on results achieved rather than dollars spent. And this will help us make the case that bolstering U.S. civilian power is a wise investment for American taxpayers that will pay off by averting conflicts, opening markets, and reducing threats.


CGD Gets in the Holiday Spirit

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010
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See below for a clever and reform-focused take on a holiday classic, courtesy of MFAN’s Partners at the Rethinking US Foreign Assistance blog at the Center for Global Development:

Holiday garland

“Twas the Night Before the QDDR”

Twas two weeks before Christmas, when all through the town

Breaths were held expectantly, in the midst of a countdown.

With their keyboards ready, the bloggers abandoned all care,

Hoping that Secretary Clinton soon would be there.


The NGOs were nestled all snug in their beds,

Knowing the QDDR soon would be read.

And the Senate and House, with a sharp rap,

Had just left town for a long winter’s nap.


When out on the Mall there arose such a clatter,

Aid analysts sprang from their cubicles to see what was the matter.

Away to their Inboxes they flew like a flash,

Tore open their emails and emptied the cache.



Chairman Berman Says It’s Time to Finish Foreign Aid Reform

Thursday, December 9th, 2010
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In a new piece in The Washington Times, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) calls for Congress and the Administration to complete and institutionalize their work to make foreign aid programs “more effective, more efficient and more accountable.”

HCFA_April 222009_042209 Hillary and BermanBerman applauds the initiative of the Obama Administration in pursuing two separate reviews of foreign assistance – the Presidential Study Directive that produced America’s first-ever government-wide global development policy, and the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) led by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development that is due out next week.  He cautions, however, that the “real challenge…will be to use the results of this review to implement meaningful reforms with lasting impact.” He goes on to say, “That’s where Congress comes in.”

The authorizing committee chairman points to his own efforts this Congress to rewrite the outdated, now 50-year old Foreign Assistance Act, and urges the both the Executive and Legislative branches of government to come together to enact “common-sense reforms.”

Here are the excerpted principles Berman lays out to ensure durable reform:

“Foreign assistance programs not only reflect American values and principles but serve as essential means for protecting U.S. economic, foreign-policy and security interests,” Berman concludes. “Only by mandating the new structures and processes in law can we establish the level of bipartisan support and executive-legislative consensus that will guard against backsliding and retrogression.”

To read the full article, click here.

USAID Forward: You asked, USAID is delivering

Thursday, December 9th, 2010
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A Guest Post by Porter McConnell, policy advisor for aid effectiveness, Oxfam America

Remember when I told you about the sexy procurement reforms to our foreign assistance that put poor people and their governments in charge of fighting poverty?

Vendors in Juba’s Konyokonyo market have benefitted  from USAID’s microfinance program in southern Sudan. Photo: Omar Ortez/Oxfam America

Vendors in Juba’s Konyokonyo market have benefitted from USAID’s microfinance program in southern Sudan. Photo: Omar Ortez/Oxfam America

The procurement reform just got some company. Recently, USAID formally announced USAID Forward, a bundle of reforms to make USAID more effective.

The reforms are a direct result of demands from US development professionals, citizens of countries where we provide assistance, and governments trying to do right by their people. When we visited Afghanistan, Cambodia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, and southern Sudan, here’s what people told us:

1.     Building capacity of countries to lead in their own development (“Implementation and Procurement Reform”)

We heard in Kenya:  A malaria control official explained to us that the Ministry of Health trains local teams to do indoor residual spraying of houses to prevent malaria. When the US lends a hand, they get US organizations to come in and spray then they leave. But since houses must be re-sprayed regularly to keep malaria at bay, and the US hasn’t trained the locals to take over, the Kenyan official worries that “Kenyans aren’t any better prepared to do it themselves next time.”

USAID is delivering:  “USAID’s Procurement Reform Group was charged with exploring ways to make significant changes in how USAID’s assistance is designed and delivered in order to build local leadership and capacity…In FY 2013 USAID will obligate no less than 14% of its program funds through partner country systems in 18 countries. In FY 2015 USAID will obligate no less than 20% of its program funds through partner country systems in 25 countries.”

2.     Getting the right people for the job, who know the country where they’re working (“Talent Management”)

We heard in Cambodia:  A USAID staff member reported that “when we have a planning meeting with Defense, there are five of them sitting across the table for every one person from USAID. The agency is completely understaffed, especially if we are expected to lead on development issues.”

USAID is delivering:  The agency will triple mid-level hiring by increasing the cap on mid-level Development Leadership Initiative hires from 30 to 95 per year to reverse the 38% decline in its workforce between 1990 and 2007. USAID will also now be able to officially classify the Foreign Service Nationals (FSNs) who do the lion’s share of USAID’s work as “experts”, which will lead to a more talented and nimble USAID.

3.     Restore USAID’s capacity to get creative in tackling poverty (New USAID Bureau of Policy, Planning and Learning)

We heard in southern Sudan: A USAID staff member told us that “we no longer have our intellectual tackle philosophical but also organizational and operational issues in development, to be more innovative, to be more adaptive…By losing our most experienced staff [over the years], we’ve also lost a lot of our historical institutional learning. Any change should restore our capacity to lead with ideas, and should respond to the question of how it will strengthen us.”

USAID is delivering:  “To make smart, informed decisions, USAID has created a new Bureau of Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL) that will serve as the intellectual nerve center for the Agency. PPL will promulgate cutting-edge creative and evidence-based development policies.”

These are just a few of the changes happening at USAID. To check out the new USAID Forward website, click here. To find out more about what Oxfam heard from people in the field, click here.