June 22, 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 USAID on the agency’s continued progress in supporting more locally led development. As detailed in its recently released Localization Progress Report, Moving Toward a Model of Locally Led Development: FY 2022 Localization Progress Report, USAID is advancing towards Administrator Power’s important goals of 25% of USAID funding being provided directly to local actors by 2025 and 50% of programming to put local actors in the lead by 2030.
Localization is unquestionably a key reform needed to further strengthen the efficiency and impact of U.S. foreign assistance. Providing more assistance directly to local actors will strengthen local institutions and, therefore, sustain U.S. assistance over time. Especially now, given the political and fiscal challenges in Washington and the acute needs for assistance for development and humanitarian relief, locally led development is essential to maximize impact, boost the return on investment for U.S. taxpayers, and accelerate countries’ transitions from aid to broader forms of partnership with the U.S.
USAID’s release of the underlying data that accompanied the 25% direct funding was also commendable and helpful to better understand how USAID is measuring that metric, although it raised questions about the extent to which international actors are included in the 25% and the adverse incentives that might create. The data also especially highlighted the success of PEPFAR’s transition to local actors and the importance of learning from its localization model to expand these transitions beyond global health. Finally, MFAN believes that there are additional funding opportunities that can drive the shift to local entities on which USAID should focus, such as projects funded through UN entities.
MFAN appreciates the continued constructive dialogue with the agency on how best to achieve the important localization objectives laid out by Administrator Power. We look forward to continuing to work with USAID to boldly and transparently advance this important work.”