March 8, 2023 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs Lester Munson, Larry Nowels and Tessie San Martin.
MFAN, the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network, congratulates Publish What You Fund (PWYF) on its important research into establishing an independent, credible, and replicable baseline to measure and track funding for Administrator Power’s pledge to commit 25% of USAID funding directly to local actors by 2025. MFAN was pleased to support this research because localization is a key reform needed to further strengthen the impact and sustainability of U.S. foreign assistance.
The findings of PWYF’s research show USAID’s methodology will overstate the percentage of funding counted as “local” by an amount that could total approximately $1.4 billion in funding each year. Employing a sharper definition of ‘local,’ and using a transparent and replicable baseline for measurement, is essential for shifting more USAID funding to local entities – a process that requires a culture shift within the agency and avoids the creation of adverse incentives. At a minimum, USAID should ensure that its methodology aligns with ADS 303. We also recommend that it use a larger funding pool that includes everything that has the potential to go to local entities (e.g., projectized funding to UN agencies).
MFAN applauds USAID's efforts to expand localization, and we appreciate the continued constructive dialogue with the agency on how best to achieve the important objectives laid out by Administrator Power. It is in this spirit that we believe PWYF’s analyses would strengthen the foundation of the agency’s work to make foreign assistance more accessible, equitable, and responsive.
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MFAN is a diverse coalition composed of international development practitioners, development institutions, think tanks, and the private sector that advocates for more effective U.S. foreign assistance. MFAN was created to build upon the bipartisan consensus that the U.S. should play a global leadership role to support effective U.S. development cooperation in achieving economic growth, more resilient societies, poverty reduction, and promoting locally-led development and democratic approaches, and that the U.S. can play that role more effectively, efficiently, and transparently. To learn more about MFAN, please visit: www.modernizeaid.net.