In response to USAID Administrator Samantha Power's 2021 announcement that 25% of the agency’s funding would go to local actors by 2025, Publish What You Fund with the support of MFAN, and its members undertook detailed research to establish an independent, credible, and replicable baseline to measure and track funding for the 25% funding target.
On March 1, 2023, the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network and Publish What You Fund co-hosted an event to discuss the findings of this research and its policy implications, underscoring why these metrics matter. The research findings showed that the differences in measurement approaches significantly change the funding amounts USAID will need to provide to local organizations to reach the 25% target. Moreover, the results of this research also underscored the need for USAID to clearly define the term 'local' in its localization strategy and confirmed some shortcomings with the agency’s interpretation.
When scaled up to account for all the countries in which USAID operates, the research found that local partners would be underfunded by $1.43 billion each year. Employing a sharper definition of ‘local,’ and using a transparent and replicable baseline for measurement, is essential for a meaningful shift of more USAID funding to local entities.
In addition to opening remarks from MFAN co-chair Tessie San Martin (CEO of FHI 360), the event included a presentation of the research by PWYF followed by an insightful panel discussion into the policy implications of this research. The panel - moderated by Publish What You Fund’s U.S. Representative, Sally Paxton – was comprised of MFAN members Denise Namburete (CEO, N’weti) and Meghan Armistead (Senior Research and Policy Advisor, Catholic Relief Services), as well as Adam Philips (Executive Director, USAID’s Local, Faith, and Transformative Partnerships Hub) and Alix Masson (Senior Advocacy Advisor, Network for Empowered Aid Response (NEAR).
MFAN will continue to advocate for #LocallyLedDevelopment and its ability to deliver effective and sustainable foreign assistance.