Colleen Allen is the Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Bureau for Management.
Big things are happening these days at USAID’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., and at our Missions around the world—and many of them have to do with localization.
Just two weeks ago, on October 19, the Agency launched our first-ever Local Capacity Strengthening (LCS) Policy, which encapsulates USAID’s approach to engaging with local partners in the countries where we work. Sitting in the audience for that event, I was reminded of another important localization event, held one year ago today at Georgetown University.
In her speech entitled “A New Vision for Global Development,” Administrator Samantha Power outlined her localization priorities and announced the launch of WorkwithUSAID.org—a free, global one-stop shop for partnership tools and resources.
The site, which is celebrating its one-year anniversary today, has changed the way organizations engage with the Agency.
The site lowers barriers to partnership for new and nontraditional partners by proactively offering tools and resources designed to be welcoming, approachable, and understandable. And it brings USAID together with both new and established partners to share knowledge and enhance transparency. Finally, it provides a common platform for raising visibility so that partnership can be about “what you know” not about “who you know.”
Over the past year, the site’s performance has been wonderful to watch:
- More than 3,100 organizations from over 140 countries have registered in the Partner Directory, and more than 60 percent of these are local partners;
- More than 2,000 organizations have taken the site’s Pre-Engagement Assessment to help them understand their partnership readiness; and
- More than 90 pieces of content have been shared on the News & Insights blog, ensuring a steady supply of fresh guidance and encouragement, from inspirational success stories to insightful Q&A-style interviews with USAID staff.
Even better, the WorkwithUSAID.org website is a key pillar of USAID’s designation as a federal High-Impact Service Provider (HISP). The site’s focus on the customer experience represents a new approach to engaging with the partner ecosystem and the public overall. I am proud of how, as a HISP, USAID is demonstrating its leadership among federal agencies in “doing business differently” in order to become more open, responsive, and streamlined.
So, on this one-year anniversary of WorkwithUSAID.org, I am feeling encouraged by the progress we have made in fostering a shared localization mindset at USAID and taking real steps to work hand-in-hand with local partners to find solutions to the world’s pressing development challenges. I look forward to the upcoming year and all the progress we will make now that both the policies, like the LCS Policy, and the tools, like WorkwithUSAID.org, are in place and gaining momentum.