USAID PANEL MEMBERS PRESENT:
HILDA "BAMBI" ARELLANO, Counselor
ARI ALEXANDER, Senior Advisor to the Administrator for NGO Partnerships and Global Engagement
NANCY LINDBORG, Assistant Administrator
MAURA O'NEILL, Chief Innovation Officer
SUSAN REICHLE, Assistant to the Administrator for Policy, Planning and Learning
RAJIV SHAH, Administrator
MAUREEN SHAUKET, Chief Acquisition Officer
ACVFA MEMBERS PRESENT:
PATRICK AWUAH, Founder and President, Ashesi University College
ABED AYOUB, CEO, Islamic Relief USA
DAVID BECKMANN, President, Bread for the World
CATHERINE BERTINI, Professor of Public Administration, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, Chicago Council of Global Affairs
RALPH CICERONE, President, National Academy of Sciences
LORNE W. CRANER, President, International Republican Institute
ASIM KHWAJA, Professor of Public Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
CHARITO KRUVANT, President and CEO, Creative Associates International
JACK LESLIE, Chairman, Weber Shandwick, African Development Foundation
NDIDI NWUNELI, Founder/Director, LEAP Africa
SUNIL SANGHVI, Director, Global Economic Development Practice, McKinsey and Company
LIZ SCHRAYER, Executive Director, U.S. Global Leadership Campaign
CAMERON SINCLAIR, Executive Director, Architecture for Humanity
KATIE TAYLOR, Executive Director, Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty
KENNETH WOLLACK, President, National Democratic Institute
SAMUEL A. WORTHINGTON, President and CEO, InterAction
MR. ALEXANDER: If everyone could please take their seats. We're going to get started.
Well welcome everyone. Good morning. It's really wonderful to have you here at the National Press Club this morning for the first meeting in 2011 of the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid. We are thrilled that you could all join us.
My name is Ari Alexander. And I have the distinct honor this morning of introducing to you our MC and moderator, Ms. Hilda Arellano.
Ms. Arellano is the Counselor to the Unites States Agency for International Development. She has served as a leader in the Agency for more than 20 years. Including most recently as the USAID Mission Director in Cairo, Egypt. She has also served as a Regional Mission Director in Budapest, Hungary. As well as USAID's Director in Iraq. And earlier in her career, she held the position of Mission Director in Ecuador and Peru as well as serving in Guatemala. So she's had a wide range of experience in USAID leadership positions.
And it was based on the breadth of her experience, her deep knowledge of USAID, her passionate commitment to development, and the respect she has earned from all of her colleagues, that Dr. Shah wisely asked Ms. Arellano to co-lead the implementation of USAID Forward. Which you will hear more about in a few minutes.
So without further ado, I would like to turn things over to the Counselor of the United States Agency for International Development, Hilda Arellano.
MS. ARELLANO: Good morning. Welcome to you all. I would especially like to welcome those of you that have come from far and wide. We have people with us this morning who have come from as far as Africa and Europe. And we have people who have battled the Washington traffic. So really I think welcome is in order.
We're going to start this morning before we get in to the open public session of the Advisory Committee for Foreign Aid, we're going to do a presentation of the Advisory Committee.
And we would like all of you to know who they are and the organizations that they are currently affiliated with. So we're going to pass a microphone so all of the audience has that opportunity.
If you would just stand up and say your name and organization.
MR. AWUAH: I'm Patrick Awuah. I'm the founder of Ashesi University in Ghana.
MR. AYOUB: I'm Abed Ayoub. I'm the CEO of Islamic Relief USA.
MS. BERTINI: I'm Catherine Bertini with the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and the Chicago Council of Global Affairs.
MR. CICERONE: I'm Ralph Cicerone. President of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. It's a private non-governmental organization although it was chartered by Congress under President Lincoln in 1863. We do a lot of work with the government. But we're not part of the government.
MR. CRANER: Lorne Craner. President of the International Republican Institute, a democracy assistance organization.
MR. KHWAJA: Asim Khwaja at the Harvard Kennedy School.
MS. KRUVANT: Charito Kruvant with Creative Associates.
MR. LESLIE: Jack Leslie. I'm Chairman of Weber Shandwick. And Chairman of the United States African Development Foundation.
MS. NWUNELI: Ndidi Nwuneli. I'm the founder of LEAP Africa based in Lagos, Nigeria.
MR. SANGHVI: I'm Sunil Sanghvi. I'm a partner with McKinsey and Company. And I lead our non-profit economic development practice.
MS. SCHRAYER: I am Liz Schrayer. I'm the Executive Director of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.
MS. TAYLOR: Hi. I'm Katie Taylor. Executive Director of the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty.
MR. WOLLACK: Good morning. I'm Ken Wollack. I'm President of the National Democratic Institute.
MR. WORTHINGTON: And at the end of the alphabet, I'm Sam Worthington. President of InterAction.
MS. ARELLANO: Thank you. And again, welcome to all of you.
This morning we are going to have the opportunity to talk with you about a number of the reform initiatives that are currently ongoing under Dr. Shah's initiative. We really hope that this will be more than anything a dialogue with you. And hopefully, some of the comments that are made will cause you to think about questions you have. And clarifications you hope to obtain in the course of the morning.
The structure is going to be the following; I will present Dr. Shah who will give some brief remarks. He will following that take your questions, and from the floor, we will do things that way. Then we will go in to a very brief panel discussion about the major concepts that are guiding USAID Forward. Which is a collection of seven reform initiatives.
We hope to have at least 45 minutes for your questions following that panel. We've left that amount of time because we really do hope that will be a dialogue.
I, it is my pleasure this morning to introduce Dr. Rajiv Shah who is the Administrator of the Agency for International Development.
In introducing him I just would like to comment that I first had the pleasure of working with Dr. Shah when I returned from Cairo last July. But since he had been in his position, since January, I can tell you the reverberations were felt in January. As soon as he assumed that position in Cairo. As we tried to figure out, as I think all mission directors throughout the world and many of them working with your organizations and the partners, how do we move forward in the very best way to deliver our best work, achieve results and really contribute to the transparency and the accountability of our efforts in a world that we all have recognized is increasingly complex? And with USAID's role increasing in scope and in breadth.
Over the last decade, as many of you know, we have more than doubled our budget responsibility, annually. What this has meant for an agency that is really pretty much been stable in terms of human resources has been a challenge. And for this, in this regard, we really needed to look at things in a different way. And there really, we think, is no better person to guide us through this than Dr. Shah. Raj.
DR. SHAH: Thank you. Good morning. And thanks everybody for coming today. And a special thank you to the ACVFA Board Members for taking the time to be with us through today.
We're very enthusiastic about today. And the opportunity to learn from you. And to bring your insights, both board members, but also everybody who is participating.
So thank you very much for joining us.
I thought I'd start just by highlighting a few trends that I think define the moment we're in right now. And why we are all ears today in terms of hearing your reactions to various set of ideas, and reforms, and results, that we're seeking to deliver.
The first trend is, I believe now more than ever before, there is a core recognition that the work that we do in development is a critical part of our national security. It's a critical part of our foreign policy. And as a basic expression of our moral values it very much defines who we are around the world as the world is coming together in a far more interconnected manner. And in that context, development today is more visible. It's more serious. It's more important than it ever has been before.
So that's the first trend.
The second trend is, I think right alongside with that. We have never had so much technology, insight, knowledge, experience, and the diversity of sectors, in our society engaged in development today as it is so much more than ever before.
And in that sense, we have more energy, human capacity, intellect, and innovation, that we can assign against development challenges than we did ten years ago. And certainly than we did 50 years ago. So in that context there's such huge potential. And I think it gets us jumping out of our bed every morning to get in to work and figure out how to harness and leverage that great potential to create the kinds of results we all seek.
And the final one is perhaps a more Washington-centric observation but one that certainly has occupied a great deal of our time and energy. But it's been a long time since this town has had the kind of deep conversation we're currently having about what we can afford to do as a country. Both parties are committed to serious deficit reduction. And in that context, there is an active debate that we saw play out in the fiscal year 11 discussion, and is certainly going to play out in 12, about whether we can afford to be a super power around the world. And whether we can afford to project our values, our aspirations, a more pro-active strategy, for addressing our security and our economic opportunities.
And I wanted to just highlight those trends up front. Because I think that's the milieu in which we're operating. Huge promise and potential. Some real conversations that may limit our capacities. Huge interest and recognition of the importance of our work. With a concomitant priority to reform it and demonstrate that we're generating better results for every dollar we spend.
And it's in that context that right in this room last year I had the chance to launch an initiative that we call USAID Forward. And that is our effort to reform development. And reform the way USAID pursues its work to be as modern, as comprehensive, and as efficient, as is possible.
We'll talk more about USAID Forward as our panel comes up and describes the specifics of our reform agenda.
But at its core it's about creating a platform at USAID that is able to engage a much broader range of partners, innovators, problem solvers, in addressing poor development challenges.
We recognize that the development community today includes; entrepreneurs at universities or around the world that are creating cheap cell phone attachments that can diagnose malaria in a community at a low cost and literally change what's possible in terms of saving kids' lives from that terrible disease.
It includes banks, private equity funds, and hedge funds, that we met with just last week in South Africa at the World Economic Forum that are actively investing in some of the fastest growing economies in the world that happen to be in Sub-Saharan Africa and happen to be economies where you are also seeing a direct current increase in the number of kids who go to bed hungry every night. And in the increase in food insecurity that we are experiencing given current food and fuel prices.
And it includes many of you in the audience from communities of faith, from the United States military, and military communities around the world, that I think recognize that this is a sector that has a lot to contribute to our national security, to our expression of our moral values and morality. But communities that we haven't always, if we're being honest, figured out how to work with as effectively and as efficiently as we'd like to.
So it was in that context that we launched USAID Forward.
And I give a huge amount of credit, you know, a lot of people said when I started, "You should bring in all kinds of consulting teams and construct a reform agenda." And I came from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which has an appropriate and strong reputation. They said, "Bring a lot of those folks in."
But actually this reform agenda that you are going to hear about today was to, in each component, designed and is implemented by USAID staff and personnel. It's our Foreign Service officers, our Foreign Service nationals in missions around the world, and our Civil Service here in, mostly based on Washington, that actually sat together and looked at our procurement systems and created a reform agenda in procurement.
Our Human Resource Division, together with all of the different components of our staff, crafted a new approach to how we manage talent, recruit talent, and promote talent, in order to help us be more efficient and more effective.
And I'll go through some of the major components.
But that's why the panel discussion will be important to articulate the specifics of these reforms.
Let me just highlight a few that I think are particularly relevant to today's discussion.
First and foremost is procurement reform. We've developed a range of new mechanisms that allow us to work with a broader range of partners. And hopefully in a manner that's more efficient, labor saving, and result oriented, than ever before. We've created new contracting tools that have complex names but they're basically designed to allow us to do performance or milestone based funding in a more efficient manner. And designed to allow us to work more directly with the local institutions, local government agencies, that are often the long term exit strategy for U.S. assistance.
And just one example, we worked, there's an Ethiopian Global Health NGO that we've been working as a subcontractor for 12 years. With our new mechanisms we can now directly partner with them at a lower cost and in a manner that's designed to help them improve their own financial management capability, and procurement, and financial tracking systems. So that over time, they can be a vibrant independent organization.
We've been able to break down large contracts in to smaller more manageable pieces.
In Afghanistan, we've broken up certain large billion dollar plus contracts in to multi-year contracts that we've awarded in 12 individual components. That allows us to have better data, better oversight, better monitoring. And work in a more engaged way with our partners and subcontractors.
In human resources we've made some tough reallocations of our limited human resources. We've eliminated positions in Western Europe and Japan in order to save resources and reinvest those resources in other parts of the world.
We've reallocated our staff to fill what was a 40 percent staffing gap in our Sub-Saharan African missions which is just not excusable in a context where so many of our priority initiatives in food security, global health, and climate change, prioritize performance and results in precisely those places.
And we've dramatically expanded our staffing base in Haiti, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sudan in order to manage our largest programs. In fact, we have more people outside of Kabul today in Afghanistan than we had in all of Afghanistan just two years ago.
In addition to this, we've launched a set of monitoring and evaluation reforms that I think are perhaps the most important in terms of changing the mind set of development. We've, together with Ruth Levine, who just left USAID, spent time with us and led this process.
But we had a, we've put out a rigorous new evaluation policy that really focuses on impact evaluation. So we can use insights about what the actual results of programs are studied against real counter-factuals and with real baseline data. So we can say definitively whether projects and programs are generating the results we seek. Or we can make changes to the ones that are not.
In doing so, we've decided that we will make, within three months of project completion, all of these program evaluations publically accessible. No matter what the results are. So that we can have an increasingly transparent basis of learning and results reporting for all of the programs that take place at USAID.
And we've significantly expanded our own internal capacity to conduct these types of evaluations.
And I very much hope this will move us away from the process reporting that I know has been so burdensome to so many of our partners in an effort to account for every sandwich served at a meeting or every teacher trained. And if we can make the shift to saying, what are the projects actually resulting in, are the kids learning, perhaps we can be less focused on tracking every specific input in to the process.
The final part of the reform agenda I want to highlight, because I hope we do get a chance to talk about today, is science technology and innovation. You know, whether, we've seen generationally and time and time again some of the biggest breakthroughs in generating large scale development results are motivated, in part, by breakthroughs in science and technology.
In that context, we're worked aggressively to sort of recapture USAID's strong historic leadership in this space. And do it in a way that engages as many partners as is possible.
We've recruited more than a hundred scientists and fellows to join USAID. And that's very exciting. Because it happened very very quickly. And it gives us the capacity to be a great scientific partner to so many federal science agencies.
We've expanded a set of partnerships that we call the "Grand Challenges in Global Development". Where we actually want to define specific scientific and technical challenges. And then motivate the world's invention community to address them.
Our first example of that is a program we call "Saving Lives at Birth". Which about 1.6 million children die in the first 48 hours of life and nearly 200,000 women die often of postpartum hemorrhage just after childbirth.
And in that context, we partnered with the Gates Foundation, Norway, Canada and the World Bank, to put out a call for proposals for people who can invent solutions that will specifically save lives in that critical 48 hour period. And solutions that would work in under-resourced community based settings in so many parts of the developing world.
Just two days ago we closed the proposal round. And we received nearly 600 applications. And just as exciting as the huge number, more than half of those were from the developing world. Nearly 30 percent were from the private sector.
And I think that's a wonderful example of how when we define development as a series of potentially solvable problems we can really unlock the imagination and creativity of so many different communities around the world against that task.
And in many ways those types of programs feel very much like our future.
All of this reform, of course, is for the purpose of generating very concrete results. And the area that we have focused on in that regard is our Feed the Future Program. This is the President's top development priority. It is a major initiative to address global hunger and food security. And USAID is leading in inter-agency response to that key challenge around the world.
We all know that it's far cheaper and much more efficient to create and to enable real food security in countries than it is to deal with the food riots, failed states, and famines, that result when we ignore this problem.
We also know that it's more efficient to invest in agricultural development than to provide continual food aid when agricultural development has failed.
And so we've embarked on an aggressive approach in this space. And we think in 20 select countries, countries selected based on a series of criteria, they're increasing their own investments, they're making the right changes to their policy framework to enable private sector investment, and they're making the tough leadership calls, in those 20 countries we think we can reach 18 million people in the next five years and help them move out of poverty and hunger.
And what's critical about that is 7.2 million of them are children. And children who are stunted. And I think everyone in this room knows about stunting. Because everyone in this room has been part of the fight against it.
But for decades we've all thought of stunting as children who are smaller than they should otherwise be.
Five or ten years ago we started getting the economic data that said populations with large levels of child stunting have lower educational attainment, lower macroeconomic growth. And we said, "Boy that's really important."
But just this year we started doing brain scans. And we started actually physically looking at the brain development of a child who is stunted and a child who is not. And if you have not seen this picture I encourage you to get this. It's on the World Food Program website. And did you know the brains just look so different? Stunted kids have larger ventricles less meaningful brain matter. And just, you can look at it and you can see the lost human potential that 600 million kids suffer from around the world. And that we can prevent.
So because of that we've made some tough changes in our food assistance programs. Our DCHA Administrator Nancy Lindborg has embraced the findings of a new nutrition study about how to improve stunting outcomes. And we started to see real results already with our new approach that focuses on the thousand most critical days of pregnancy and the first two years of life.
And where we put that approach in place, like in Western Guatemala, we've already seen a 28 percent reduction in stunting and wasting as a result of that program.
So we're very enthusiastic about what we're going to be able to do in food security and global hunger. We're also enthusiastic about global health, economic growth, democratic governance, all of the other areas where USAID works. Education.
And as we go through today I'd like for us to have the opportunity to hear your ideas on how we can do an increasingly effective job at transforming our approach in those sectors to make sure we're generating the very best results.
You know, when I started I laid out some of the trends that I think define our current moment in time.
And I have spent, we counted, I have spent a lot of time on Capitol Hill these past few months. More than a hundred meetings with members of Congress and members of the Senate. And I've been amazed by what I learned. What I learned is that, despite the challenges of the current budget environment, the core interest and support for this work is deep and strong.
It's deep and strong in both parties. And it's deep and strong in both houses. So we're going to have to get through this period of time. But I'm very optimistic about our future.
And I'll just tell you one anecdote that gives me, that I have to remind myself of whenever times get tough. So that we can remain optimistic.
I had the chance to be at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation when Warren Buffet made a 45 or 50 billion dollar gift to the foundation. Most of his wealth. And he made that gift because he felt that, doing that, with the focus on development and global health would really be the way that you could use such a significant amount of wealth to have the most positive impact in the world. He had done his analysis and made the decision that this was the most efficient way to buy core improvements in the basic human condition.
After he made that gift I think people from all over this country and all walks of life noticed. And I started getting phone calls. Vice presidents of companies. CEOs of major corporations. Other foundations. Families with wealth. All that wanted to either work with us, for us, or provide resources in some context. And we kept saying, you know, "No, we're really a family foundation. We're not going to take every contribution that potentially would come our way."
And then we got an envelope from a second grade class in Utah. And the envelope had something like $14.00 in it. Because they wanted to be part of the transformation that they were seeing. And we, of course, couldn't turn that down. So we accepted that.
And I, my joke is that I think we spend $800.00 or $900.00 in legal fees processing the $14.00.
But I would just ask you to reflect on that as we kind of engage in this conversation.
And I want to close with that to say, thank you, to our ACVFA Board Members. If you all can help us get this right, and if you can help us become the most efficient, most modern development enterprise out there, if you can help us connect to all of these different communities including those second graders, that want to learn about and have impact in the world, we would be, we'll be a better institution, and our country will have a stronger capacity to express its values around the world.
And whenever times get tough here in Washington I'm reminded that out there in the United States there's a tremendous amount of potential support for the mission that we carry out.
So I look forward to learning from you today. I look forward to taking a few questions now. And I just want to say thank you for participating.
So I think we're going to take a few questions or comments. And then we'll go to our panel.
Please just put your hand up and everyone is welcome to participate. This is not normally a quiet group. It's a little early. There we go. And please if you could just introduce yourself.
DR. DUALE: Duale Sambe. Tulane University.
You said you take one big contract and break it to ten so you can have more results. Doesn't breaking one contract in to 10 increase the management burden?
DR. SHAH: Absolutely. Thank you for asking that question.
Partly to deal with that we've been continuing what we call the Development Leadership Initiative. Which has been our effort to rebuild the Foreign Service Corps at USAID.
Over the last three years we've brought in and integrated 650 new DLI officers. We're on path to continuing that process.
And you know, I just came back from Southern Sudan and South Africa where I saw some of the work of our first tour officers and our second tour officers who have been hired through that program. And it's extraordinary.
So we are in the process of building the capacity to be able to do, to address the challenge you just highlighted. Thank you.
MS. GRAHAM: Hi. My name is Robin Roizman Graham. I'm with Millennium Promise. Thank you very much for your comments.
And I just want to address the funding limitations that USAID is facing right now in Congress and the impact on some of the, the two major initiatives that have been announced by the administration. Particularly Global Health Initiative and Feed the Future. How do you intend to address some of the funding limitations?
Yesterday the three OTB allocations in the House were released. And they were more optimistic than I think a lot in this community had hoped. But there are cuts from both fiscal year 2010 and fiscal year 2011.
So how do you intend to address the two major initiatives given perspective cuts?
DR. SHAH: Well you know, I, first I would, I appreciate the comment. But I'd take a little bit of an issue with the characterization of optimism around the numbers I saw yesterday or the day before.
The reality is that our entire foreign assistance is far less than 1 percent of the national budget. It is not going to meaningfully contribute to serious deficit reduction. And at the end of the day, our, these expenditures save lives, improve our national security, and are critical to our future.
So I think we have to, and part of what I hope I will learn today, are ideas for how we do make as strong a case as is possible for what is a limited and focused investment that saves us significant resources in aggregate.
I just point out one thing. If you look at our Iraq program and parts of our Afghanistan and Pakistan programs, we've created a funding account called "Overseas Contingency Operations" which mimics the DoD funding account. And we've projected that in the President's budget a 4 billion dollar increase in that OCO account for the State Department and USAID would allow for a 40 billion dollar decrease in OCO on the other side of the ledger at DoD.
And so you know, we can, I just, I want to make sure we're stepping back and looking at the bigger budget realties before we pass judgement on, you know, the current numbers we're seeing.
MR. MILLER: Tom Miller from International Executive Service Corps. My question is about the people side of USAID.
I was a Foreign Service Officer for 30 years. And we went through the 90s which was devastating on the people side. And I know for the last 10 years we've been trying to pick up and make up for some of that devastation.
As we look at the perspective budget for 2012, I know how difficult it is with programs, but once you start hiring you've got ambitious goals to try to ramp up on the people side, once you hire these people it's really really hard to get rid of them. And it's devastating to the organization.
Can you say a few words about, in this period of uncertainty, how this impacts your hiring projections and your fairly ambitious efforts to make up for the deficits of the 90s?
DR. SHAH: Yes. Well first I would just say, every single position for which we're requesting growth in our staffing is tied to a specific initiative that is, that includes the specific results that I discussed. Like Feed the Future. Or is tied to our reform agenda such as in the area of procurement.
And procurement is a good example. We've asked for the capacity to hire 70 civil servants who have very specific technical procurement contract oversight skills.
You know, the ability to transfer from cost reimbursement to fixed price or fixed cost contracting, when appropriate, will save millions of dollars a year. And I'm convinced that every one of those procurement officers will help us save significant resources, improve our oversight, help us generate better results.
So I, you know, it's hard to have the conversation in general. I think you have to look at the specific request for positions. And what I've been encouraged by is that I think there's real support when we can credibly demonstrate how these investments help us get more efficient, more effective, more results oriented. And help us save money, or especially on the program side, that's appealing.
And it's important that we all have that conversation.
I think this will probably be the last question I'll take and then we'll go to the panel.
MS. THOMAS-LAKE: Is it on? Oh sorry.
I'm Hillary Thomas Lake from LTL Strategies. And thanks so much for your remarks.
I have a question that may be for you or may be for discussion with the panel. I'm not sure.
But when you were talking about the very exciting news of USAID really trying to broaden its engagement, particularly with local organizations and local companies etcetera, my question, I was excited about that because I've been on the ground in Haiti for the past three months. So it's nice to be back here. But we can see, you know, how there is, there is a lot of local potential. My question is, what plans do you have at USAID for either working with your implementing partners or working directly with these group to be sure that enough capacity is built? So that USAID is engaged with the broadest possible spectrum of the local groups. So you don't end up with simply, you know, a handful of the same local characters or local organizations as your partners on the ground.
DR. SHAH: Well thanks for the question.
Yes, I come back to the principle that how we do development and the core discipline of development is all about using resources, and partnership skills, and cooperation, to build meaningful lasting local capacity and institutional capability. So that's the driving motivation for the procurement reform.
Maureen and others can talk to more of the details.
But you know, we have six specific objectives within the reform agenda. We've built local capacity development teams. And what we call "host country contracting teams". We've built tools like assessments that allow us to assess both NGOs, local NGOs and local governments. And understand what the risks are in engaging with them. And also what type of capacity and support we should provide those partners as we try to use them more directly as implementation partners for some of these projects and programs.
But I will just say, it can be done. If you look at Afghanistan and the Ministry of Public Health over the past seven or eight years, you know, they made a very bold decision seven or eight years ago to say, "We want to build out a primary and community based health system for Afghanistan." In a very difficult environment. And instead of doing it outside of the government, they did it using implementing partners and NGOs but with a contracting mechanism that was set up at the Ministry of Public Health.
And over time, and it has taken seven or eight years, over time that Ministry has exerted more and more capacity, influence, strategic leadership, in setting the ground rules in that sector.
And I just saw some of the early, not early results, but I saw some of the results. And if you look at the reduction in maternal mortality, the reduction in infant mortality, 22 percent I believe in infant mortality, 50 percent in maternal mortality, the longevity of life expectancy, 10 or 12 additional years of life expectancy, we have very concrete real results that are a result of that engagement.
So you know, it can be done. It takes time, patience, and focus. And we have to build the systems that allow us to do it effectively.
Good. Well I will let Bambi come up. And bring our panel up here. But we are very excited to hear from them and to continue this conversation.
So thank you.
DR. SHAH: This is gender balanced?
MS. ARELLANO: Right. We realized this morning that we needed the Administrator here if only for gender balance. So thank you Raj.
We'll get started with the panel. I think the questions that were asked of the Administrator really reflect the level of depth of interest and also the depth of the questions. So the sooner we get started the better.
We have here this morning really what is a critical group related to USAID Forward.
I mentioned at the beginning that this is an area that the Administrator drew together under the umbrella of USAID Forward, a series of reform initiatives that were actually only put in place formally last July. So what we are talking about is the initial phase. Really the getting started phase.
But since we are an agency that focuses on field delivery that has been the focus from the outset. We have spent a lot of time engaging with the missions with all levels of staff to make sure that what we were talking about here in Washington really did resonate at that level. And that those changes were viable over a period of time.
I'll present the panel. Then I will ask them a couple of questions so they can just pique your interest in the specific things they've been working on. And then hopefully we'll have a extended dialogue, with you, related to your specific questions.
On my right Maura O'Neill who is the Senior Counselor to the Agency and has the Leadership on Innovation.
The gentleman to her right I will not introduce again.
Nancy Lindborg who is the Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance.
Maureen Shauket who is the Director of the Office of Acquisition and Assistance.
And finally, Susan Reichle who is the Assistant Administrator of the new Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning.
Each of them will respond to a couple of questions from me. And I think I will start with Susan.
Susan, given the new Policy, Planning and Learning Bureau has three of the seven initiatives, if you could just talk a little bit about those objectives. And then give us some specific examples of the work your team has done and how it relates to the field as we push those issues out.
MS. REICHLE: Thank you. Well first, I want to thank all of you for being here today.
It's just a wonderful opportunity as the Administrator said to reach out to all of you. And to hear from you, not just in this context, but in a continual, on a continual basis.
And as I was thinking back upon, you know, as we work to establish USAID Forward it really goes back 18 months ago. If you just think about that that's a very short amount of time. Our Administrator was not even confirmed at that point.
When the senior leadership came together, mission directors from all over the world, and we talked about what we wanted as a, to really encapsulate the premier development agency. What was absolutely critical for the core competencies of the Agency. And we talked about bringing policy, and strategic planning, and evaluation, and project design, the core competencies, back in the Agency.
And as our Administrator was getting ready to be confirmed and he said, "That's great." And as he highlighted today he really looked to us to bring that back working with all of you.
And I have to honestly say, we could not have accomplished as much as we have accomplished, and we will not be able to confront as many of the challenges that we have ahead of us, without all of you who really worked with us, who counseled us, who helped us as we started upon this incredibly ambitious project under very short time frame to launch USAID Forward.
And as Bambi mentioned, three of the seven initiatives under USAID Forward being in the Policy, Planning Learning Bureau. So just to highlight a couple of the highlights. And the Administrator mentioned a few this morning. So I won't go back over what I think we've been able to do in this short period of time under evaluation and science and technology in launching this. But really just talk about, as I mentioned, bringing policy back to USAID, why that is important. Because absolutely critical as we're working around the world that there are policies that are actually guiding our implementation in the field. As Bambi mentioned, if we do not have an impact on the ground then we are not succeeding.
And so one of the first elements was creating a policy making process in the Agency. And very rapidly putting that together. Working on policies that many of you had contributed to. The Administrator mentioned our Evaluation Policy.
Our Education Strategy, and I hope everyone will pick up a copy of our Education Strategy which is just out front, which really for the first time, through our policy making process which drew on the expertise in the Agency as well as our expertise overseas, FSNs, as well as stakeholders. Many of you contributed not just to the Evaluation Policy but the Education Strategy to help us focus our goals for the very first time.
And being very strategic, being very ambitious, talking about the first goal of improving the reading skills of 100 million primary school children by 2015. By improving tertiary and work force planning with, that are tied to the country development goals and increasing access to education in crisis environments, and conflict environments, of 15 million learners by 2015.
This is just one example of how USAID is changing. As you know, we've worked in education for years, for decades. But for now, we finally have a strategy that is focusing on us to achieve specific goals. And many of you contributed to that.
So the policy making process is one that now we're undertaking in many areas. We have a Climate Change Strategy, Jule Kunen is here the lead of our climate change group.
We have Democracy Human Rights and Governance Policy that will be getting off the ground under Nancy's leadership.
We have an Economic Growth Strategy that will be coming online.
We are working in many different areas, water, and other sectoral areas that finally we have a policy making process to guide us.
So that's just one example of the USAID reforms. And very specifically focusing on results.
I think the other area I would like to highlight is just the strategic planning. Bringing that back to the Agency. Many of you I know felt that there was a real gap there in 2005 when our strategic planning capacity left the Agency. And as partners, I know often you look to see what is USAID's strategy in those countries. And all of a sudden there wasn't a strategy that you could turn to except strategies from the past or perhaps amendments.
We've launched the Country Development Cooperation Strategy. And the Administrator has challenged us to have all countries under strategies by FY13. That will undergo a very rigorous process focusing on two to three development goals, no more. Which really links us very much to the President's Policy Directive of focus, selectivity, division of labor, we do not have to do it all. All of you are out there in many different realms working in these areas. And really drawing on your expertise and looking at when you can take on a sector and USAID perhaps can be focusing on another sector.
So achieving that goal of having what we call CDCSs, and I hope you hear more about that, back that our transparent involved consultation with our stakeholders is just another example of how USAID is changing.
So I will stop here. So you can go to some of the others.
MS. ARELLANO: Excellent Susan. Thank you.
Maureen, I would like you to talk a little bit about what is definitely the most multifaceted and perhaps complicated area we're dealing with which is implementation and procurement reform. If you could just give us an idea of some of the tools that are being developed in that area.
MS. SHAUKET: Thank you. Well, and first thanks to the Administrator for picking implementation and procurement reform as one of his main objectives. And I am sure that you all share that thanks.
Because I have heard from all of you when I took over my position and the frustrations that everyone had with our procurement process.
And we had tried to make changes prior to the Administrator coming on. But it was tough. It was around the margins. It was really hard to get in there with the regulations that we had.
So when we had this opportunity we got together our wish list and your wish list, which we had heard loudly, and thought, what do we really want to do here? And so we didn't want to make more changes at the margin. We really wanted to delve right in. And so we recognized that we have to make fundamental changes in the way that we are delivering assistance.
Through that we're focusing on a variety of tools. Not just procurement tools that my office focuses on. But how we really implement programs. When the conditions are right, are we working with the host governments? Are we working with that ministry that's that golden nugget that if they just get support can be a shining sample for the rest of the country. Are we working with local organizations? We're trying to work ourselves out of a job. What's going to be left behind when we leave? We have to engage the local organizations. We have to make sure they have the capacity. What kind of tools do they need? What are the barriers to us doing that?
In the past, we only relied on our partners to do capacity building. Because we didn't have the resources. We've devoted more resources so we can do some directly. But we recognize that we need different tools.
So what do we do? We do have our fixed obligation grants which are basically milestone achievement and results oriented awards that we can give to a local organization that is doing good work. Because in the past, if they didn't have accounting systems that were exactly mirroring what our organizations in the United States have, then we couldn't work with them. We needed to break that model.
And so we did. And now we've found a way to work with them directly. And that's been hugely successful around the world.
The Administrator mentioned one award in Ethiopia.
We've got hundreds of examples where we have benefitted already from the capacity building that our partners have done to date. And given direct awards. Whether it's in Cambodia, or the Philippines, or Ethiopia, South Africa, Peru, we have examples of these all over the world.
And we're really changing. Okay. How do we want to implement this program? Rather than just going to the IQC that we used to go to.
Then when we're looking at our programs we're looking at how we're going to build competition. What are the barriers to competition that we have? And how can we break those down? We've established a Board for acquisition and assistance review that looks at every large procurement that we have. And we figure out, are there barriers here? First of all, should we do be doing a contract? Should we be doing assistance for this activity? If so, what are the barriers to competition and how do we break those down? We've looked at 29 major awards of which we have restructured 27. 16 billion dollars worth of awards have been completely restructured. We've identified many opportunities for small businesses. We've had over 45 set asides for small businesses. One program, over 300 million dollars, is a complete set aside for small business competitions. So that's been very successful for us.
We've also been looking at how we can be more efficient in our programs. In Afghanistan, we're going to be doing 100 percent audit of all of our locally incurred costs. That takes staff. And so we have increased the number of contracting officers we have there from three in 2007 to ten today. And we already have a plan for administrative contracting officers which is the first time the Agency has ever used that model. And we have already begun staffing those out to the field so that we can engage more locally in monitoring our effectiveness of our programs. And then we also have, we are working with our tools for dealing with donor, other donors and public international organizations. We're developing templates that are streamlined so it's not a difficult negotiation every single time we try to do that work. That we have a common understanding of how we're going to approach this. And you will receive the same understanding mission-by-mission rather than having to renegotiate every time.
And then finally we're looking at our work force. I already mentioned some issues that we've had with the contracting officers and how we're addressing that to meet the goals of implementation and procurement reform.
We're also, we have given expanded warrant authority to mission directors. So they can enter in to some of these grants with local organizations directly. And we totally revamped the way that we're giving out warrants to our contracting officers. As well as empowering our foreign service nationals. And we are about to roll out a warrant program for them as well.
So those are just a few quick snapshots.
I have to say it's an incredibly exciting time to be working in this field.
MS. ARELLANO: Thanks Maureen. Excellent.
I'll turn to Maura now. What has been clear to, I think everybody in this room, is the Agency has worked increasingly in high threat environments while maintaining its presence in over 80 countries in the world with programs in over 100.
There has not been a lot of time set aside for new ways of thinking. And it is Maura's job, this is the other 12 hours of the day in addition to her many other functions, to think about ways to introduce and expand our outreach and opportunities to really bring the very best thinking to the work of USAID. So Maura, I'll ask you to talk a little bit about how you've seen your work so far.
MS. O'NEILL: Okay. Great.
Well I think that's whether it's in our own personal lives or whether it's in our companies or governments, times change. And that requires that we rethink. We think about what's really working and how do we need to adapt to a new set of realities. And how we, and partly how we might do business differently.
So let me just talk about two things quickly. And then would love to get the audience in this conversation.
One is that one of the real innovations that USAID did was we pioneered in the world the idea of partnering with the private sector and others in what we call our "global development alliance".
This year we will celebrate our 10th anniversary. We have done a thousand of them. Which is really quite amazing all over the world.
And that has really allowed us to say, "All great ideas don't reside in the Ronald Reagan Building and in one of our missions. We would like you to come forward with small concept papers about how we might partner together."
So we've done a thousand of them. We're really proud. There's a couple of them, GAVI and others, that we've been instrumental in, in pioneering, they've really been game changers.
As we look forward we see a few things changing. One is that many of the corporations came to us with their corporate social responsibility hats on. And that was the nature of our development.
Now, as HSBC, one of the world's largest banking company said, "In the next few decades two thirds of all economic growth worldwide will be in the emerging economies." And so increasingly businesses are coming to us as P&L responsibility and saying, "How can we partner in a long term sustainable way to double the amount of cocoa that's produced? Because we haven't given up our love of chocolate. And how can that play for Ghana and Indonesia and improve income there?"
And so what that's required of us is that our staff hasn't really thought in a P&L way. We haven't thought about integrated supply chains perhaps as much as the private sector has. So we believe in this new re-imagining that we have much to listen and learn from the private sector. And so that our investments are really catalytic. And go to a long sustainable exit strategy that the President has called on us to imagine the conditions where AID isn't needed. And so that's one.
The other way that we have tried to pioneer is a new procurement mechanism called "Development Innovation Ventures" which is a knock off of the venture capital model. Silicon Valley has been best in world at vetting ideas that came from all sorts of places. Who would have imagined that Facebook would have been, you know, so widely taken up across the world? But it was obviously some kid in a dorm room in Harvard that figured out that we needed to connect in new ways.
So we have launched the Development Innovation Ventures which uses staged financing based on mitigating risks but using small investments. We tell everybody that, "Part of the strategy is, we're not going to get it right the first time. But what we want to do is mitigate risk." We want to make some small bets. Get evidence. And understand which of those really need to scale to 75 million people all over the world.
That's a couple of ways in which we are both taking mechanisms that we pioneered like partnerships and re-imagining how they can be more effective, both for the private sector, for the developing countries, and for us. As well as new procurement mechanisms that allow us to be easier to do business. And mitigate a risk for feathering out one of those really extraordinary ideas that we want to make big bets on.
So thanks, Bambi.
MS. ARELLANO: And look forward to questions for Maura on these really really exciting ideas that are moving forward.
Nancy Lindborg again heads up the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance.
It is, of course, one of our more challenged and high profile bureaus. And one of the things we have tried to do is make sure that there is a connection between the USAID Forward efforts and the areas where we are asked to do the immediate and the short term response but then, inevitably, will transition to a medium to long term response.
So Nancy I'd like to hear from you a little bit about how you have seen the connection with USAID Forward in your bureau.
MS. LINDBORG: Great. Thanks Bambi. And it's a pleasure to be here. Thank you everybody for coming.
The last time I was at an ACVFA meeting I was sitting in the front row. And I was co-chair in a working group on The Missing Middle: the Relief to Recovery. So now I have the great pleasure of having that be one of the premier challenges that we're looking at in the Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance Bureau.
And I am enormously enthusiastic about the USAID Forward agenda. I think all of the key tenets will serve us very well as we seek to address all the sources of fragility. And shore up stronger, more inclusive, democratic governments. Have better responses when shocks, either disaster or conflict, overwhelm a country. And foster that faster and more durable recovery.
So there are lots of ways as we look at that work where the principles of innovation and of taking risks that will lead to greater more innovative responses. And working in partnership will extraordinarily well serve that, those sets of challenges.
I want to talk about one in particular. Where we've already really seized, I think, some momentum. And Raj mentioned earlier the challenge of 600 million kids who are hungry, who are malnourished, who suffer from stunting, that has long term consequences for the health of the individual. And fundamentally for the health of community and the country's ability to fully develop. In my Bureau is Food for Peace. And something that Americans do extraordinarily well is feed the world. And a number of you are very engaged in that. And have been instrumental in ensuring that we have an enduring legacy around the world of feeding people in need.
We know that it's not just the quantity of the food and the ability to reach the communities around the world. But it's also the quality of the food that reaches them. And a number of you have been very involved with this conversation of how to do that better.
So we took that challenge up with great vigor. And have been working with Tufts University, with a number of other universities, with many of the partners who are in this room, a host of experts, UN agencies, to develop a study that's enabled us to identify some key recommendations of how to really move forward on an agenda based on rigorous science, based on the partnership of so many, of how to improve the quality of the food that we provide to those who are most in need. As well as how to target more appropriately. So we really ensure that food gets to the most vulnerable, to those who can, who most need it.
So we are moving forward with the results of that study. That Food Aid Quality Review. We launched it two weeks ago. And will next have a mini-evidence summit in Kansas City at our annual event there. The International Food Aid and Development Conference.
Look forward to the continued conversation. In particular, we're looking to partner with industry and with other partners to come up with now the innovative products that will enable us to move forward with this agenda.
So that's one instance in which we've really taken up the opportunity of emphasizing partnership of rigorous evidence based approaches to come up with innovative solutions for some of the critical challenges that face us today.
MS. ARELLANO: Okay. Thank you. All right.
Well we now would, based on some of the ideas that have been put forth here, like to throw this open for your questions. And we will try our best to respond.
I would just like to lay down a marker on the two areas of USAID Forward that we have not gone in to in great depth today but the Administrator eluded to both.
One of them is the strengthening of our budget capacity. And the other is the broad area of talent management which is simply being able to have the human resources that really are at a level that they can undertake these challenges and sustain them in time as we move forward.
So we'd like to hear from you. Why don't we, we will pass the mic to you. So raise your hand please. Why don't we start over here?
MR. NOWELS: Thank you. I'm Larry Nowels with the Hewlett Foundation. And thanks for everyone for really exciting work and comments on the USAID Forward. And when I've been hanging around this issue for a long time. It's a long time coming so thank you.
But I do want to bring up another matter that I was a little surprised you didn't at least mention. And it's the Partnership for Growth Initiative. That I know very little about and I emphasize 'little'. There doesn't, there's not a lot of information out there.
And I wondered if some of you could comment on how USAID is going to play a role in this. It looks like it's a very promising effort to really give traction to the President's Global Policy Directive. How you view it. How, what role you will play. When we will learn more specifics about the framework.
And just one last comment. I think it looks, it seems like it will be very, could be potentially valuable in making your case about what's different, what's new. How you are doing things differently. And it could be a very good message to have out there as you continue to go through very difficult budget challenges.
MS. REICHLE: You could start and then I'll finish on why we haven't talked so much about it. Go ahead.
DR. SHAH: Good. Well thank you Larry.
You know, I think it's a very important initiative. We didn't get a chance to talk through each of our initiatives.
But that, what Larry was referring to is this is an opportunity to really look at the entire federal government and to figure out what we can do in an intensified partnership, with a handful of countries, to improve the growth opportunities for those countries.
And the ones we've prioritized are Ghana, Tanzania, Indonesia and the Philippines. We've sent teams out under Susan, and Steve Radelet, our Chief Economist, under their leadership to do the Constraints to Growth Analysis. Those are broad inter-agency teams. And they are now coming in with a set of recommendations on how to take that forward.
I will just say two things and will let Susan build on it.
One is, it is a new model of development in the sense that it's not entirely focused. Which is very important on assistance as the vehicle for improvement and change. There are often times where trade policy, or vital sanitary engagements, or other types of things we can do on the science and technology types of partnerships might actually be the key to helping certain countries achieve more dynamic growth oriented economic profile in the future. And this brings all of those tools to the table to do that.
The second is that it is a little but experimental. Because it is new I think we're going to learn a lot as we lead the coordination of this process. And so I think it's a very important initiative.
And I'm glad you highlighted it.
MS. REICHLE: Yes. No, thanks Larry for highlighting it. It was actually something I wanted to talk about.
But in the time constraint and also because this is something that the Partnership for Growth coming out of the Presidential Policy Directive we recognize we really needed to manage expectations. As the Administrator mentioned, this is something that is really new. How to use assistance, non-assistance instruments, all of our partners. How to really think about a country's development. And that country thinking about their development differently than we have in the past.
So as the Administrator mentioned we just completed a Constraints to Growth Analysis in the Philippines, El Salvador and Ghana. And Tanzania will be coming in next week.
And what we hope to do within about a months time as the inter-agency comes together and host countries come together and we identify very specifically those constraints to growth that we really can tackle in a very different and a very unique way. Then working with all of you bringing in the expertise, hearing your ideas, as we're moving forward. And really developing a very aggressive plan. That helps not just the country but all of us tackle these constraints in a very different way.
So sort of the motto for this has been to really under-promise on this. To really just stay focused on the objective for all of us to work. So you haven't heard a whole lot about it. We'll be going up, and as a matter of fact, briefing members of Congress before the end of the month.
And I think you'll see in early June us reaching out to you to really have your expertise as we move forward in the planning effort.
MS. SENE: Hi. My name is Soce Sene. I work for IBI International which is a small owned, which is a woman owned small business in Arlington. And I wanted, and I was wondering if you can elaborate more on USAID's utilization of small businesses? I know there's been a push for it recently. And so we've been very excited about that. Wanted to know if there's more that can be done especially at the mission level to better inform about the utilization of small businesses. I was wondering if there's ever talk about perhaps including it as one of the performance indicators or other such mechanisms that are used.
MS. SHAUKET: Sure. I'd be happy to talk about that.
We work very closely, my office, the Office of Procurement works very closely with our Small Business Office to be identifying opportunities for small business. And in fact, we're going to be having a conference, I believe it's in early June, for small businesses.
And we are doing training with our missions about utilization of small businesses.
One area that we have found, as it relates to the past performance, is that there has been a frustration in the small business community when they partner with the larger businesses and then do not receive the work. So we have heard you on this.
And we are about to launch something I'm very excited about. We're tying what the promises are to the past performance. So if a large organization tells us they're going to partner with a small business and give them a percentage of the work, and that's evaluated as part of their technical approach, we're going to hold them accountable for that. And so in our past performance we're asking them, how they, what they promised and how they delivered on that promise for future awards. So that will be part of the past performance evaluation for future awards. So we're just getting ready to launch that. It's very exciting.
MS. ARELLANO: Sam. And then please any members who have questions as well.
MR. WORTHINGTON: Sam Worthington from InterAction.
There are a few things I think we should applaud that you haven't mentioned.
One has been the dashboard, the Transparency Initiative. I think is a tremendous initiative. It's actually, been interesting in terms of how that's thrown down a gauntlet to other parts of other funders in terms of their transparency.
The second is the work that you are doing on gender has been also, I guess, you know, looking at the panel itself, at the broader approach towards gender within USAID in institutionalizing its approaches there.
And the overall USAID Forward as a means to do what ACVFA is about. Which is the relationship between private actors and the U.S. Government goes across this.
I guess there are sort of two questions that relate to this.
And the first one is, one of the lessons on kind of sort of the PVO side of things, that resources mean power, resources mean influence over local actors. As you fund local actors are you worrying to what extent are they becoming extensions of yourselves? I know that as large PVOs we've had that worry of, you put a lot of resources in, they adopt your systems, their approach, they eventually mirror you. And to what extent are they actually local and become or an extension of a donor? And I know that's a problem in the PVO sector.
The second question is more, and this is something that I mentioned to the Administrator yesterday is, the Hudson Institute released yesterday its philanthropy report. Which it had 39 billion dollars of private resources leaving in 2011. 12 billion from the PVO community. Nine corporate. Seven religious. Five billion from foundations. I think it's three billion universities and so forth. And sort of from the PVO side of this is to what extent, in terms of your strategy, your procurement reform, are you looking or considering looking at the leveraging of these other resources? Because I could see this sort of corporate side being leveraged through different mechanisms. I know in ACFVA we're talking about university leveraging. To what extent are you looking at -- because this is many ways, this 39 billion dollars, is a projection of the American people in to the world.
And it's a complicated thing to leverage. Because all of them start from different places. All of them easier or harder to work with.
But is this something that you are looking at longer term to deal with?
DR. SHAH: I can start on that last one. I would just say I think, Sam, that's a very important point.
And we've tried. And we actually have efforts underway that I hope we're able to make public later this year to restructure how we connect with faith communities, with the corporate sector, which is probably where we're the most advanced in terms of the global development alliance is more, was talking about. With universities, where we actually provide a lot of support through various partners and programs to universities but we don't have a structured portal for universities, scientists, researchers, to connect with us.
And to, I would say young communities around the country that, when I go to college campuses or young professional organizations that kind of commitment to development is frankly just off the charts. And I don't think we're tapping that. And tapping in to that as effectively as we need to be.
So I'm hoping we'll get some ideas from the Board members today in some of those things.
But a big part of it, as Maura was talking about, is creating venues for connection that are, that lower dramatically the transaction cost of doing business with USAID, and a partnering with us, and being creative with us, and all of that. So we're working on it. But we have a ways to go.
MS. O'NEILL: Let me add something.
We actually completely agree with you Sam. That there's tremendous opportunity for leverage in ways that we perhaps want to get better at working on. Not just money. But also talent and resources.
So the Administrator was out at Saddleback Church. There's 14,000 people working around the world. That is a tremendous boots on the ground that if we can figure out how to hook up with in a new way could be tremendously catalytic in terms of their efforts as well as ours.
The second one is, in addition to resources, is talent and expertise.
So one of the things that is really the tragedy of the world is how much post harvest loss there is in agriculture. And in large part because there's not the kind of food processing capability and expertise that we have in the U.S.
So there was an employee at General Mills in Minneapolis who started packaging food for Malawi when they were having a famine. And then she said, "Wow this is nuts for us to be packaging and sending it over. Why don't we actually figure out how to help African's food processors and small farmers become better at that?
And so the CEO took this on as his major, one of his major efforts to really transform Africa. And collectively, they've committed to providing a quarter of a million hours of volunteer time and technical philanthropy by their employees. This is all he said, "Listen, I still got shareholders. I still got quarterly returns. This is going to be on your time. But we are going to give you the resources and the assets of General Mills."
We funded TechnoServe in Africa to be the connectors. And so they take pictures and have live cams of the food processing problems. The General Mills employees run tests and they figure out how to solve the problem.
Those are assets that African countries and food processors could never ever afford in the near term. And are having dramatic differences.
So we want to re-imagine, not just in a money way, but in a people way with faith based, and in corporate assets, how we can leverage in a much broader, deeper, more effective way.
MR. BECKMANN: I'm David Beckmann from Bread for the World. Just to pick up on this.
Foreignassistance.gov is a very powerful way for people to connect with USAID/USAID Forward, the whole reform process. Because other things you got to describe it to people that this thing is happening some place. But anybody in the world can go to foreignassistance.gov and see that something new is happening. And if, you know, and look to see how they can connect with what is USAID doing in agriculture in Tanzania. It's just, it's very specific, very powerful, it's accessible to anybody in the world.
My question is to Nancy. Could you talk more about what is the innovation you are doing in Food for Peace? Is it written up someplace? Is it connected to the innovations that are going on at World Food Program?
MS. LINDBORG: Sure. And there is a study that I urge people to, well we'll make available to everybody, it's called the Food Aid Quality Review Delivering Improved Nutrition. We worked very closely with the World Food Program. And you know, literally hundreds of experts and partners from industry, from UN, from USDA from a number of those of you here in the room, from our partners.
And the innovation is really about reformulating the products to deliver improved nutrition, better micro-nutrients, that will serve the nutritional needs in those critical first thousand days.
And the challenge is to, now that we've done the review, the science, and the analytics of what do we have and what do we need, is to work jointly to come up with the actual products that we can jointly deliver.
So the Kansas City meeting will be an opportunity to bring everybody together to really brainstorm and set in motion the process of identifying those specific products the enhanced grains, the additives that we need to put in to the products that we feed infants and children in that first thousand days.
A part of the program is -- thank you for those questions. It's not just the product. But it's how you do it. And having improved targeting. So that you are really working with those who most need it.
And what Raj is talking about is the other part of the program in Food for Peace which is really graduating families in to longer term more sustainable processes. So that we are not, we're helping people not stay on food aid for generations.
But the idea is that, first of all, you give that power punch of nutrition early in life. And then you help move families in to the kinds of programs that enable them to have a more sustainable livelihood. You don't, the goal is not to endlessly provide food aid. But to give people the boost that they need, the children that they need so that they can then go on and be a part of a productive economy.
DR. SHAH: And I'd just add, in Guatemala it was just shifting to the first two years of life. I think there it was the first three years of life in terms of doing the targeting. And it was graduating families in to agricultural development programs. Some of which were then connected to a larger project we had with WalMart where they are buying food and vegetables, in particular, from that region. And selling in to their, you know, for their stores in their global supply chain.
So those two things were pretty powerful.
And the Guatemala team has really taken that on as part of Feed the Future.
MR. ROBERTS: Good morning. My name is Pete Roberts. And I'm with FLAG International. And I'd like to offer a quick observation and question. Probably for Maureen or the Administrator.
And the question originates from the field, if you will, in particular Afghanistan.
As your ideas, and your innovations, and your commitment to implement them proceed, first off, I salute you and they're certainly welcome to anywhere I work at the other end of the food chain, so to speak.
And as we look up that food chain from any province in Afghanistan to here in D.C. one of the things that we notice is, going back to your earlier remarks, is the opportunity to integrate AID along with other development agencies or other government sent, department of state, ministries of states, if you will. But down here where we are there's a finite number of Afghanis, if you will, an infinite amount of money and implementors and programs.
And I'm curious as you implement these changes within the organization if there will be an articulated set of goals or requirements for the bureaus, and for the directors, and for the COTRs, and so on, to actually leverage your programs and your designs? So that, it would seem to me, that if there's not a, if there's not a clear path for the internal staff it will be very, I guess, potentially quickly be to create a better stovepipe as opposed to actually spreading the knowledge and that sort of thing around.
So my question is, Maureen, will there be articulated in the next couple of years strategies, if you will, for the various different levels within AID, some integrator or leveraging or multiplier type objectives, hard objective?
And if I'm a little vague on that what I mean is, we work for DFID, World Bank, AFD, CIDA, and GTZ and those sort of things. And they're not very good at this either. Okay. And we're just interested down here as a perennial to some of the large guys that work directly for you, is if there is going to be a requirement for, not requirement, at least an expectation that the mission's programs actually integrate and are connected to others on the ground?
DR. SHAH: Do you mean by others on the ground by other donors? Or do you mean the larger contractors partnering with the on the ground subcontractors and local partners?
MR. ROBERTS: Both. Whether it's Ag, to energy you need, to health, within your own mission or outside of the U.S. tent.
DR. SHAH: Okay. Let me start and maybe Maureen can build on to that.
I would say they absolutely.
And this is this is the challenge. And frankly I think we have constructed a unique type of Board for ACVFA to help us get this right. So maybe I would ask our Board members to think about this and provide guidance later in the day.
But, you know, there is some truth to the reality that when donors come in with a high level of intensity, raise labor prices, it sucks talent out of ministries of local institutions in to donor funded projects and programs.
We just have to be acutely aware of the implications of our footprint in these environments. And we have to do things in a way, and all of the tools Maureen talked through, were tools that will enable our teams on the ground to do things in a way that minimize those distortion effects. And I think that's the first step.
But you know, the next step has to be doing to in a far deeper more coordinated manner in a way that actually achieves the goal of building that local capacity.
So I just came from Southern Sudan where we agreed with the UK and Norway that we would do a really serious donor coordination. And that will mean USAID will step back from leading in some sectors. So that we can focus on other sectors. UK will step back in some sectors so they can do leadership in other sectors. And Norway will do the same. In that case, the U.S. will be the leader on the coordination. But you know, that, we're doing something similar in Haiti.
I think that's the kind of very real nuts and bolts division of labor that we need to start to put out there.
In Afghanistan, in the Ministry of Public Health, they're struggling right now trying to set common salary standards across a broad range of NGO and implementing partners. So that, you know, if they're funding a similar clinic in two different parts of the country the salary structure is the same. And it avoids the competition. It's hard to do.
And I think the eight years of our work building the capacity of that ministry to even start to try that is very important. But we need to get, stand behind them as they're doing it.
Although I know some of our partners here are on the receiving end of that policy aspiration. It's not easy. And it's very controversial. But I think we have to give them the tools to put those kinds of policies in place.
MS. SHAUKET: And I'd just like to add to your comments.
As the Administrator has noted, in some countries we're very successful at donor coordination.
In Afghanistan, in particular, our focus on coordination has been inter-government coordination. Because there's a different dynamic there. So that has, up until now, been a major focus. That's not to say that we aren't coordinating with other donors. But our primary focus has been coordinating with the state department and the military. And we are actually just launching some systems and tools to help with that coordination. So then we can focus on the other donor coordination as well.
But I think on the ground a lot of that is happening. That there is a lot of conversations going on. But what we need to do is raise it up more to the policy level I think is part of your point.
So thank you.
MS. ARELLANO: Yes. I'm going to take advantage of having the bully pulpit here to answer this one also.
One of the things that we have insisted from the very beginning of USAID Forward and the Administrator has sent out several notices on this, is the concept of inclusive leadership. And it is something that is going to be increasingly integrated in to the way we train, not just senior leadership in the Agency, but also all officers including incoming, the new incoming officers, of whom to date there are 783 new officers who have been hired over the last three years.
But that concept of inclusive leadership, to be very clear, that it is not just about USAID doing development. But it is about doing a better job in an environment of multiple actors and be equally effective doing that job as doing the USAID job.
So I just wanted to build on the management side of your question.
I think what we'll do now to take it, because there aren't many hands up, we'll take maybe three questions in a row and then go to the panel for the answers.
MR. SINCLAIR: Cameron Sinclair. Architecture for Humanity. Another one of the new members.
My question is two part.
One is a lot of the government agencies are adopting kind of open .gov approaches using technology to distribute information about what they're doing.
One of the things about USAID is you have to work at a very fast speed. You saw this with Haiti and some other places. How do you create a kind of dynamically fluid monitoring evaluation system? Not only for you here to understand what's happening on the ground.
And I think the second part question is your byline, which is from the America people, is how do you convince the American people to become ambassadors of USAID to kind of take all the good work that's happening and understand it?
Because at the moment I think the conversations I'm having with a lot of our donors who are individuals across the United States is, you guys are a little bit like the tortoise and everybody else is the hare. And no one understands what the tortoise does.
So how do you take this information and use whether it's data visualization or communication tools that allow a 22 year old who wants to change the world to understand that USAID is already doing it?
MS. COSGROVE: Hi. My name is Leslie Cosgrove. I'm with Amarant.
And I'm currently on an implementation phase of a project that you're implementing in Bangladesh for protecting human rights.
The issue that I have is basically your role in terms of foreign policy versus development. What do you do in politically volatile situations that weren't considered at the time that the project was initiated nor contracted? And all of a sudden a situation begins to occur.
Now there we are working very, hand-in-hand with your contract officers and the embassy because of the situation.
But I don't get the sense that there's necessarily a policy in place on how to deal with these issues. I mean we know about Afghanistan. We know about Iraq. We know about Haiti.
But in a place like Bangladesh where you just don't expect it, and it starts to rise up, and it's rising up over issues that have global significance. And are receiving assistance from outside the country as well. And are politically motivated.
So that's my question.
MS. ARELLANO: We'll take one more. And then go to the panel.
MS. WINTERHOFF: Hi. Jodee Winterhoff with CARE.
A lot of folks have commented on the great things you are doing with the reforms.
But the Feed the Future, in particular, thinking about the great comprehensive nature of the policy, its links to global health in terms of the thousand days, nutrition, I'm particularly interested in your comments about how you think it's going in the implementation phase with the country led plans. And engagement of civil society.
In addition to that, also the work around gender. Women's empowerment. Gender equity. And how that development is coming through in that particular effort.
MS. ARELLANO: Why don't we then start.
Cameron, your question had two parts to it if I understand it.
And, Susan, I think I'll turn to you for both the how do you project and how do you make available dynamic information related to monitoring evaluation in a much quickly changing environment. You talked about open government.
And then the second one, and I think Raj this would be interesting for you to take, related to how do we convince the American people that we are a hare and not a tortoise, I guess if that's the question.
But anyway we'll take that.
MS. REICHLE: Yes. No, thank you very much.
Because as some of you may know I was actually working very closely with the Administrator during the Haiti response as the Acting Assistant Administrator before Nancy was confirmed.
And that was one of the challenges we really faced is we were gathering data about what was happening on the ground and, you know, in the field in a lot of remote areas. As well as very urban areas. But how do we get that out there? And then how do we monitor change?
And so one of the things I know that Nancy and the Bureau are working on very closely right now is, how do we actually do that in a time of crisis? Gathering that data, being able to get it to policy makers. Because again, returning to the President's Policy Directive about making evidence based policy decision. And that is so important. It is something we hear every single day as we are in the situation room or working these really difficult challenging programs. Where is the evidence? Where is the data? Show us that. So we're developing those systems.
Just on the transparency part. And I was really appreciative that David and others have mentioned the USAID or the U.S. foreignassistance.gov dashboard. Because the transparency is really important. And thanks Sam for mentioning that. That is just the first step.
I mean this administration is very committed not just as I think the Administrator mentioned in our Evaluation Policy that all evaluations will be available to everybody on the internet within three months. That is simply revolutionary as you know. But really being able to get data and information out there.
What's fascinating about the foreign assistance dashboard is actually information that's in our Congressional budget justification but you almost have to be here in Washington or connected to the community to have access to those big books that come out. And what's beautiful about it is, you mentioned David, is it's available no matter where you sit. You could be in a small village who can link up and really start to dig down and understand how much U.S. foreign assistance is going in to a community. And then using that as advocacy tool to really promote change.
So I'll stop there and allow the Administrator to take the second part.
DR. SHAH: Well, no, I was just, I would build on that and say, Cameron, I think, today in particular, I want to hear from ACVFA about what are the ways, what are the prioritized opportunities to do data visualization in the way that would be most helpful? What Susan is talking about is budget data made visual. And we've had a strong positive response. I'd like to see if, and we're working aggressively to build a broad GIS platform that would do that for projects and programs. And I think actually showing Americans the school that was constructed or the or, you know, any other program where it is, those types of tools make a huge difference.
And the reality though is there are a hundred different ideas out there. And one area of the group could be very helpful as to help us say, "Okay this is the priority. Just get this done. And you'll unlock the way young people think about connecting to development."
On how we convince the American people, I think part of it is becoming more open and transparent.
I, you know, I felt this way when I wasn't at USAID. But a student at MIT that I was talking to said, you know, "We're all so eager to be engaged in this work. And then we turn to the federal government and we hit this wall that, you know, essentially keeps us out."
And they're not necessarily looking for jobs. You know, they're looking for ways to plug in. And we have a 24 billion dollar project platform in 97 countries around the world. And if we can come up with ways to connect American youth to that platform I'm convinced we will unlock, you know, huge amounts of support, and creativity, and problem solving, that we frankly don't even have to pay for.
And so I've talked to some of you about a construct in my mind called USAID Connect. Which is just some effort to solve that disconnect that exists.
And I don't know the answer to it. But I'm looking forward to your ideas.
MS. ARELLANO: Related to the question of foreign policy, and operating development programs on the ground, and changing foreign policy environments, I think I'll take that. Because it's the job description of a mission director.
I think the inclusive leadership concept I mentioned in the field has increasingly meant inter-agency inclusive leadership.
Because USAID as it has become much more of a presence and a partner in the inter-agency environment in a place like Bangladesh, but places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq ever more so, we have had to develop those flexibility skills.
What hasn't caught up yet, and I think you're right on this, are the mechanisms we use to do our programs. So that we have that level of built in flexibility. So that if one day you need to be in one province and your scope of work says that province, tomorrow you have to shut that province down and move somewhere else, very often there is a rigorous process you have to go through to have that bandwidth, as we say.
One thing I think you need to know is that under USAID Forward, for that very reason, we're targeting some of the most difficult environments and difficult country environments to execute these reforms as the priority countries. Because we realized just that fact. That if we are going to become more flexible the best place to test the limits of our flexibility are in the toughest places.
I can speak from very personal experience from what we were able to do and not able to do in Iraq as a result of some of our limitations.
But your question is an excellent one. And it is, I say it is one we're really trying to do a better job at.
DR. SHAH: And on the Feed the Future question I would just, first I think it's a comment and an important one. And we are trying to talk about and showcase in Feed the Future a new way of working.
And I would just highlight because I appreciate guidance from this community and our Board on this because, you know, we took 16 months, 12 to 18 months, on the ground country by country to be part of a consultation, a planning process. So that every country that we are investing in now has an investment plan that they have consulted with the private sector, with civil society and with other partners.
And that's a time consuming process. You know and in Washington everybody wants to know, "Did you get the money out the door yet?" And we made the very conscious decision, I think modeled a little bit after MCC Compact Development to say, "Look let's be serious consultative. Let's take the time. Develop really focused strategies." And then we've been building implementation against those strategies.
And on implementation what's been tough has been to say, "Look we already are spending money in these places." So in many cases we have to close down certain projects and programs to reallocate resources to the new Feed the Future plans. In other cases, we have to engage a broader range of local partners to implement the Feed the Future plans.
And in, you know, and that's tough. I mean that has proven to be challenging. But by staying very focused on it in 20 countries that are a part of the program we're trying to demonstrate that it's a new of doing business.
I'd say one other thing there that has helped implementation a great deal. And she's not here but Tjada McKenna leads the private sector outreach portfolio for that program.
And you know, the importance of having a single point of implementation contact for private companies that want to engage in this program has been very, very important.
And it has allowed PepsiCo to structure an investment in Ethiopia that will reach 30,000 smallholder farmers to grow chickpeas. It has allowed the World Food Program to purchase foods specifically from the farmers we're trying to support in certain countries. And to create that market demand. And it's allowed a number of other innovations and projects to take place.
And USAID is a distributed decentralized organization. So it's not always easy to create that single point of entry.
But there was a question earlier about how we're going to connect with all these other communities. And I think we took a real lessons learned that that worked. And we need those types of really conscientious efforts to lower the transactions cost of working with us.
Is there a microphone for Catherine?
MS. BERTINI: Thank you. Catherine Bertini is my name.
When Dan Glickman and I, on behalf of the Chicago Council, recently went to Africa -- and I wanted to underline what Raj just said about the interaction. Because especially in Mozambique we were really impressed with the way that USAID was working with the other organizations. Some that it funded. And some that it did not.
But it was to us a new development method. Because instead of having USAID here, and WFB here, and in this case World Vision and AGRA, everybody was working together in a coordinated way. And we just could see even by that brief visit on the ground not only the potential but for the future but the success to date even with fairly new, fairly new working relationships.
So I want to applaud you for that. And hope that it can spread out. And maybe it is in a lot of other places. But spread out everywhere. Because it certainly was a good way to go.
MS. ARELLANO: Why don't we take three more questions. Because our time is running out. Let's go over here.
MS. GROSSMAN: Hi. I'm Allison Grossman with Save the Children.
And thank you so much for your comments today and the amazing work that you are doing on these reforms. And I especially want to thank Susan for talking about the strategic planning and the CDCS process.
And I would love to hear a little bit more about where we are in that process. How it's working in-country with local partners. And coordinating with national priorities. And also coordinating with GHI and Feed the Future strategies that are happening at the same time.
MS. ARELLANO: Another question in the back.
MS. AHLUWALIA: Thanks. My name is Indira Ahluwalia. I'm with DTS. I'm also the Chairperson of the Small Business International, I should say this properly, SBAIC. It's the small business trade association that works with USAID.
Two comments and possibly a question.
The comment first I want to second you Sam on the work the Agency is doing on gender. The appointment with, of Carla and Karen is very important. Because it signals your interest from a policy to implementation and post conflict. It also addresses the broad sectors you're intending to touch upon. They have the respect of the community. And I am, I can say safely, they'll have the full support.
Secondly on monitoring and evaluation. The level of transparency and accountability is interesting not just from an evaluation perspective but also from a performance management perspective.
The question I have is about compliance and accountability both on the assistance and acquisition side as one looks at the policy. But also how the data as we gather it is useful once you get it. There's a whole lot of change that will have to happen internally. So as we are doing these evaluations, it's not just about providing the data and training, but the time it's going to take to actually have the reforms take hold. From an SBAIC perspective, and I appreciate that my colleague from IDS bringing this up, and Maureen's heard me say this about a year ago and it's too bad Maureen has just left the room, you've almost fulfilled all our asks which unfortunately puts me in a difficult position to come up with more right now. But the bottom line is, you have done a tremendous job in an agency where you have multiple partners. You brought us to the table. And I really want to acknowledge Maureen especially through this shutdown. Where we were brought to the table just as much as everybody else.
The questions really are about getting a pass grade now. And what we need to do to pass this year. And how we need to create funding through thresholds for small businesses or small business contracting plans that will help us do that.
MS. ARELLANO: And we'll take one more.
MR. REESE: My name is Bill Reese with the International Youth Foundation.
Raj and your panel I just want to thank you.
I used to chair this committee. And it's fun now to sit in the audience and have no responsibilities and watch this new committee and you do all the work.
I'd like to take you to another part of the world we haven't talked much about today. And ask your opinion about the Arab Spring.
You talk about unlocking the spirit and the energy of Americans who are young and want to get involved in development. And I think there's a generation out there in the Middle East that wants to do the same.
I could ask you then a question that may be two of my Board members would put to you. One is Queen Rania, sort of a household word of a person, who talks about the hope gap. That gap that a young person has if he or she doesn't have any one in their family with a job in the real economy. Or has never been a citizen and has voted in their lifetime.
But I actually would put it from another Board member of mine who is a 30 year old Egyptian. She's a social entrepreneur. Founded her own volunteer led organization in Egypt. And teaches corporate social responsibility as a 30 year old at a major business school. And the day that -- and she's 30 years old. The day that Mubarak fell I called her and congratulated her. And just wanted to make sure that everything was all right that I had been doing about every day because she was on the streets.
And I said, "Ragda, isn't this amazing? You're 30 years old. Now you're going to get a chance for the first time in your life to participate in building your future, your nation's future." And she said, "Bill you're wrong. It's not 30 years. It's 6,000 that we haven't had the opportunity in Egypt."
But my question would be then what is the Arab Spring doing to encourage aid to think differently about its development strategies in this region? And how to use it, part of the solution, it's not the total one for sure, but how do you unlock the talent of these young people who want to be engaged in the politics, in the nation building, and the civil society building but also want to be engaged economically? Because for a person sustainable development is a job.
MS. ARELLANO: All right. Excellent way to end on that last question.
Susan, why don't we hear from you on the CDCS?
MS. REICHLE: Great. I'll start with the country development cooperation strategies. And a little more detail on where we are with them. And how we really integrate the Feed the Future, the GHI.
But also I really want to highlight while these are USAID development strategies these are strategies that are done with the entire country team.
And I'll give you a concrete example. Uganda was our first CDCS that was approved. And it wasn't just the mission director who came up with, the program officer maybe an MSM, it was the Ambassador who participated in this as well. And as Dave Eckerson, our mission director there, said, "We call this the week of the trifecta. Because we were also doing our Feed the Future defense of our strategy as well as looking at our PEPFAR Program and the integrated nature of how we're trying to achieve larger development goals." And the Ambassador was clearly very involved in every step of the way.
That's what we want for every single one of our countries.
We have 22 CDCSs in process right now. So as you can imagine it's an incredibly busy time. They take about six to nine months of development. Working again, as I try to emphasize in my remarks, not just with USAID staff here in Washington, working with USAID staff on the ground is actually involving the partners. Working with the host country. You know, host country representatives. Not just in the government but also within civil society.
One of the things that we require in our guidance that has gone out in the CDCS is really, how are we achieving USAID Forward through the CDCS? So the initiatives that you heard about today whether it's procurement reform, or innovation, or SNT or an evaluation, those are the things that are really integrated there.
And as I mentioned, our goal is really to have all of our countries under strategies by the start of FY13.
The other thing I just would want to highlight on the CDCS which is, you know, again, truly revolutionary for USAID, and I could say this after being in USAID for 20 years, one of our greatest frustrations is that we would develop and write these beautiful strategies that were completely divorced from the budget reality.
And so we talked a lot about the policy and strategy design phase today. And maybe not so much on the budget. The head of our Budget Resource Management Office, Mike Corsello, who was also a critical component of USAID Forward, we are literally tied at the hips.
So as strategies are being developed, and we don't wait just till a strategy comes in, but from that those first initial discussions establishing the parameters and the results frameworks, Mike and his team are at the table. So we can say, "Okay the ambition is this large. But if our budget is only this, how do we achieve that?" How do we, again, become more focused, selective, look at the division of labor, we do not need to do everything, and how we partner and work differently.
So I think that addresses the first question. Maybe just going a little bit in to the second.
And I appreciate the focus on gender. And it was just mentioned on because one thing I didn't mention about policies that are being developed right now are, it's our first Gender Policy since 1983. And it will be our first Youth Policy. So those are both under development now.
And again, as I mentioned, the policy making process is not just using USAID resources. But again to reach out to the community. Because most of the best ideas are really out there. That you can help us really cultivate internally.
And then on the monitoring and evaluation, and performance management in particular, this is really critical. As the Administrator mentioned about impact evaluations. But also performance evaluations.
And I'll give you a concrete example. My most recent post was in Colombia. And when I arrived in 2005 as you know Plan Colombia we had invested large sums of dollars. Close to a billion dollars in development assistance. And not one evaluation had been done as for the first tranche of Plan Colombia when I arrived in 2005.
And so the team really coming together. And as we're working on the next the next stage of Plan Colombia at that time really again taking pause, putting in performance evaluations.
And then systems for monitoring, are we on track benchmarks. Holding mission portfolio reviews so that then we can make really transitions that then effect our contracts and our grants on the ground based upon the information that we are receiving.
MS. ARELLANO: Maureen.
MS. SHAUKET: If I could just build on that.
Not only are holding ourselves accountable but we are holding our partners accountable as well. We have launched May as 'Past Performance Month'.
Traditionally we have not done so great at past performance. And we are going to change that. So we have, I have had a number of communications with the missions around th world so that they can start to monitor how we are doing. Not only at the program, the strategic level, but down to the implementation of our programs.
MS. ARELLANO: Maureen, do you also want to take the past grade question on small business?
MS. SHAUKET: Yes. Okay. So what we're, we're doing a lot to get our numbers up. And it is important -- Maurcio is no longer here. Because we've been working very, very closely together.
We just went to the White House to be brainstorming with other agencies on what they were doing and how they were having success. So we could take some of those ideas back home. And we're going to be implementing those.
I think this year you will really see a shift. We talked about the gradual shift of the big ship. I think on this one we're having an absolute pivot. Where we are having our fees that are coming out that are having thresholds for small businesses. Under which, all that work will go to small businesses. And we've been very aggressive in that regard. So I think that you will see a major change.
MS. ARELLANO: Excellent. So I think what we'll do now is close on the Arab Spring question.
And Nancy I don't know whether you have a comment on that.
MS. LINDBORG: Well quickly because it's a big conversation. But thank you for the comment Bill.
Because it is really one of the more extraordinary events that I think most of us have lived through. And it's inspiring. And the opportunity that converges with our commitment to really elevate democracy human rights and governance within USAID. And I know that with this ACVFA group will have an opportunity to think more deeply about it. And there are several events coming up that we will welcome people's additional thoughts and energies as we look at both short term and longer term how we really support the hopes and the aspirations that have been expressed so vividly throughout the Middle East.
We are working quickly to provide that kind of support. Particularly in places like Tunisia and Egypt. And a number of our partners are a part of that process. And we look forward to being able to do see in greater swaths of that region.
Thank you. And thank you for all your good work there.
DR. SHAH: I'll just add to that and close with a reminder that in the President's Policy Directive on Development he really did ask us to make sure that the way we engage in developing partnerships with countries and peoples around the world reflect our values and the unique attributes of America that we can build these partnerships on.
And in that context they highlighted four. All of which I think are very relevant to the Arab Spring question.
Economic growth and the recognition of the private sector as the driver of wealth creation that underpins development.
Democratic governance. Democratic governance. And we've done a number of things already. And we'll be accelerating them to engage civil society and some of our key partners that are able to put the mechanics in place to enable the energy that you see to result in that outcome.
Science, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. And if you think about, not just in the Arab world but around our missions everywhere we work, we want that to be a real defining characteristic of what we do. That's why in Feed the Future you'll see a very significant set of programs and investments that are all about science, and technology, and innovation, in small holder agriculture. And you'll see the same thing in global health and in other areas where we work.
And finally mutual accountability. And the idea that we're going to hold partners to account. We're going to focus on corruption. We're going to reallocate resources to those partners that have demonstrated performance and the ability to take on tough issues. But we're also going to hold ourselves to account.
And I think a lot of the comments we heard about the foreignassistance.gov and our transparency plans I take away from this an even stronger desire to build on that. Let's make our country's strategies transparent. Let's make our results and evaluations as readable and transparent as possible. And let's pursue some data visualization efforts whether it's GIS mapping or otherwise. That really do, that really does help a much broader set of interested parties get a feel for how exciting this mission can be. How difficult it can be at times. But when you achieve great results, how rewarding that can be. And I know everybody in this room has had that experience.
So I just want to thank you all for participating.
And I certainly take away a lot of insights from the conversations. So thank you.
- Remarks by Thomas Staal, Acting Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, at the Beyond the Headlines in the Sahel: Population, Environment, and Security
- Video Remarks by Thomas Staal, Acting Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, at the 2015 Regional STIP Conference
- Remarks by Thomas Staal, Acting Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction
Last updated: May 14, 2015