JACK LESLIE: Well, good morning, everyone, and welcome to the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid. I’m Jack Leslie. I am delighted to serve as chair for our proceedings today. I’ll try to keep things on track. I wanted to start by thanking Georgetown University. They’ve been very nice to provide their facilities all week long for so many activities, and this big tent, which I guess gives new meaning to the word open meeting. We certainly have an open meeting. We’re glad too, that all of you came to join us this morning.
As I said, it’s been a big week for USAID and Raj and I were just talking about some of the amazing activities that were going on yesterday, started at the beginning of the week with the Frontiers and Development conference, and continued yesterday with the initiative on child survival. So, this help is kind of a capper to what has, I know, been a very, very productive week.
I wanted to just start by introducing Carol Lancaster, who’s the dean of the School of Foreign Service here at Georgetown. Carol is well known, I think, to this group. She served as vice chair of ACVFA and she also was the Deputy Administrator of USAID. I also was here -- I was telling her a few weeks ago on this very lawn, watching my son graduate from the School of Foreign Service, so I’m forever indebted to her to have getting him out on time, and well employed, at least at this point. So, Carol, the floor or the tent is yours. Thank you very much.
CAROL LANCASTER: Well thank you, Jack, for that introduction. Welcome, everybody. It’s been a really exciting week for us here at Georgetown, to be able to host these conferences, these major, major conferences, Frontiers and Development, child survival. Now, there was a little GAVI action yesterday as well, so this is number four, and for all I know, there’s a five and a six, but I don’t -- I haven’t been informed about it yet.
Anyway, it’s been our pleasure to host so many wonderful people from the development community, broadly defined, and it’s certainly been a special pleasure for me, since I’ve been a part of that community for so long, and as Jack mentioned, not just deputy administrator of USAID a number of years ago, but I then graduated to become vice chair of ACVFA, and so it’s really been a wonderful experience for all of us.
My only regret is that our students are not here to hear some of these discussions, but then if they were here, we’d probably not have the room to do all of this. So, we look forward to future opportunities with the perfect weather, and unfortunately with the students somewhere else.
I just wanted to say also Georgetown, I think, has been very pleased to host this for another reason. We are rapidly building our capacity in the area of what we’re calling global human development. Both our training and education for the future leaders in this area, and also the activities that we look forward to initiating or continuing over coming years, and I hope all of you will be part of those activities as we go forward.
So, let me just say, again, wonderful to be here. Thank you for being at Georgetown. We’re delighted you’re here, and I wish you all a very productive and profitable meeting. Thank you, again.
JACK LESLIE: Thanks, Carol. Let me just start off by saying a few words about how the meeting will work, and then make the introductions. This is a public meeting, of course. So, you see there are some microphones out there, and we hope to hear from anyone who’d like to contribute.
The meeting this morning is going to broken into two parts. The first one is where we’ll explore how we can improve the effectiveness of foreign assistance, and then we’ll open it up for open discussion, and have a quick break, come back to a second session, where we will explore some of the amazing innovations that are taking place in the scientific and academic communities, and we’ll have a discussion about that. We’ll have to keep -- I hope you -- I’ll apologize in advance for every once in a while kind of keeping things on track. I’ve got someone back there, is it Mary, who’s got her little time cards that she’s alerting me to. So, if you get cut off, please don’t take offense.
So, let me start by introducing Rajiv Shah. I think it was the last time that I was with Raj, President Obama introduced him by remarking that Raj made him feel like an underachiever. I don’t know whether that was the president, or that was Bono, or -- I’m forgetting who that was, but he makes all of us feel like underachievers. He’s a force of nature. He’s made, I think, just a tremendous impact in his time at USAID, and so it’s with great pleasure that I introduce Raj Shah to open up our meeting.
RAJIV SHAH: Thank you. Thank you, Jack, and I want to thank Carol Lancaster for not just opening up Georgetown for the week and hosting us, but for really helping to craft this whole week as a thought partner, and someone who brings, of course, a lot of her own USAID leadership, having served as a deputy administrator of the USAID to her current role as dean.
I know President DeGioia is not here, but I do want to also thank him. It’s really an extraordinary thing for a University to allow us in for a whole week, in this manner, and it’s been exciting to see the commitment that they have had personally and institutionally to development and to our institution.
Thank you, Jack, for taking on the role of chairman of this Committee. We’re very excited about that and for your very kind introduction. I think it comes at a very critical time when this particular group is, in many ways, more necessary and we seek out its guidance more than ever, because if we’re really going to follow up on the promise that’s been articulated in these last few days on this campus, and in these settings, we’re going to have to it as a team, and we’re going to have to do it with a -- I think this is appropriate, a big tent approach that really has room for everyone to be successful and excited, going forward in a way that’s inclusive and really does make a difference, and I know Paloma Adams-Allen is here. She’s our executive director for ACVFA and, Paloma, if you’re visible, just put your hand up, so folks can see you. She just stepped out. Okay. All right.
JACK LESLIE: She’s on the phone, I think --
RAJIV SHAH: Okay, yes. She’s outside on the phone. So, this has been an extraordinary week, and I’d like to keep my comments brief, because I just want to hear really from other board members, and from many of you that have assembled here. It’s been an extraordinary week because we had the opportunity, through the frontiers in development conference, to showcase many of the concepts that we hope take us forward, as we do try to transform the way we work, and as we try to create a new model of partnership and engagement that allows us to carry out our development mission effectively.
We heard from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Joyce Banda, President Jahjaga of Kosovo. Each of them, as female heads of state, talked about their own priorities and where they needed us to be supportive of them, where we could help push them and their political systems, and how we needed to rethink some of the things we do in this field in order to be truly effective cutting edge development partners.
And so for us, we had CEOs like Vikram Pandit of Citibank, and Andrew Witty of GSK, where we launched some exciting new partnerships. What I took away from their participation was that they were pushing us really, to think about a bigger scale of impact, that it’s not just about the unique projects and programs we implement, but if we can find partners that are capable of delivering scale, 40 million doses of new vaccines that are being distributed this year to 40 million kids around the world; you know, that’s an example of scale, working with partners like Citi and a whole range of mobile operators that could reach a billion people who have cellphones, but don’t have bank accounts, and bring them into a modern financial economy.
Those are examples of scale and sometimes we all know that we have to do things differently to find the partnerships, and work effectively with the kinds of partners that can deliver unique scale and technology.
We also have the chance, through this effort, to launch a grand challenge in global development on powering agriculture, our first energy Grand Challenge. We’ve now completed three Grand Challenges in development, each of them, one in health, one in education, one in energy. Each has brought together a novel set of partners and each so far has reached hundreds and hundreds of new innovators that we have not traditionally had access to. Some are in the United States, but more than half are abroad. Some are in the public sector in the university community, but more than half have come from the private sector, and I think we’ve found as -- we’ve learned as we’ve been doing those efforts that our role as a convener, our capacity to identify specific technical and operational challenges, and our desire to bring together hundreds of different types of organizations to really solve that problem can be really profound if we use it well.
I’d like to really just cover a few additional issues and describe some of the challenges we face, so that we can frame this discussion in the context of listening and learning to how we might overcome those challenges.
A year ago we launched USAID Forward, our aggressive institutional reform agenda. Without going into all of the details of how we’ve been implementing that, I will thank everyone in this room for their commitment to helping us be successful there. It starts with Congress that has provided the resources through very difficult times, to pursue this agenda and to actually grow our staff. We’ve added more than 1,100 USAID employees to the rolls, which is nearly 25 percent of our direct hire workforce at a period of time when nearly every other federal entity has taken reductions, and that’s a testament to support, bipartisan support for this mission, and this work, and this agenda.
But I think we’ve learned that as we’re doing this work in trying to in source more analysis, do a better job of writing contracts and proposals, implementing our procurement reforms, and seeking out local institutions, so that we can partner directly with those local institutions, and help them build more direct capacity. We have also seen pockets of resistance, and we know that we need to learn and adapt our own way forward, to make sure that we are successful. So I hope, as we’ve set ambitious targets, moving to 30 percent of our total foreign assistance delivered through local mechanisms, and the private sector, the public sector, and civil society, as we try to implement an approach that allows us to be more transparent and accessible to the outside world, as we continue to put public data out there, our new website, for those of you who haven’t seen it, now has a searchable geographic database. You can click on every country and see all of our projects, who the implementers are, how much the award is for, and what expected results we hope to see. It’s what I call a first generation product, and I hope it gets more sophisticated and more effective over time, but it’s an effort to open the veil; but regardless, I hope that this conversation will help us tackle some of the difficult challenges of implementing this approach in an honest and creative way.
The next major area of work has been Feed the Future, and a year ago we were thinking through how we would take on the mantle and responsibility of implementing that effort. Paul Weisenfeld, our assistant administrator for the Bureau of Food Security, is here. We’ve, I think, made tremendous progress in that area, and we’re eager to talk more about that progress. It was -- much of it was showcased in this new alliance for food security and nutrition that was launched at the G8, by President Obama and his fellow G8 leaders.
Our capacity to be successful at really seeing through this new model, working in a fundamentally different way with the private sector here in the United States and around the world, bringing our diplomatic capacity to push countries to make the kinds of policy reforms that open themselves up to the right kinds of foreign investment, and insisting on and holding ourselves, and other development partners to account for a new way of working will be critical to achieve our goal of moving 50 million people out of poverty and hunger over a 10-year period.
The Global Health Initiative has been featured in prominence yesterday. So I won’t speak about it in much detail, but I think if we’re being honest, and my honest assessment would be that as a early administration -- early in this administration, we put forth a many of the right concepts, and many of the right targets, in terms of the outcomes we wanted to achieve, and the concepts we talked about were country ownership, partnership, engagement with local institutions, integration across different disease areas, and in doing that, I personally don’t feel we did a good enough job of describing the core results we seek to achieve, and we now, I believe after yesterday, have a global health initiative that seeks to achieve three basic results: to end HIV AIDS in a generation, or to have an AIDS free generation, to end preventable child death in a generation, and to save mothers or reduce maternal mortality as aggressively as possible; and against those three goals, we’ve realized that we don’t just have to organize ourselves against those goals, we have to work to convene global partners, and countries, and local institutions, institutions of faith, and support them in a different way to achieve those goals, and that’s what yesterday’s call to action was just so exciting, because it gave us the sense that that’s possible, and that in fact, when we speak with one voice, that voice really does carry tremendous breath around the world.
And the final area of focus for us has been on a topic we call Resilience. For a long, long time, USAID has been the world’s top provider of humanitarian relief at times of disasters, and when you actually look at where we work and where the disasters tend to be, there’s an amazing amount of consistency. We’re in the horn of Africa a lot with food aid. We’re in the Sahel a lot with food aid. We know which Asian cities are most prone to climate related events that then cause destruction and challenge, and we know now that there’s a whole field of resilience that we could be promoting, so that the consequences of these expected natural disasters are mitigated, and we’re helping people build assets, and move out of poverty, as opposed to be stuck in this cycle of every three or four years, as a drought or a disaster, and we all act surprised, and rush in, and do what we’ve been doing in the same way for the last three decades.
And I want to thank very much Nancy Lindborg and our Resilience team at USAID. We were proud to put together a major conference in Nairobi, to really address the challenge coming out of the famine in Somalia, and in that region, with a new approach, an approach that invests in dry land communities, which helps build resilience, in which prepares for the next drought, which we know will come with greater severity and greater frequency.
And so those are some of the things we are trying to do. In that context, it was very difficult, because our money, of course, comes with flavors attached, but frankly, I’ve learned that when we make the effort to go to the American people, or Congress, to explain that we want to do things in a more creative way. They have tended to give us the flexibility to be successful, and I’m proud of our teams for sort of going and having that conversation, and for our partners in Congress for giving us the flexibility to do that.
I’d like to conclude just by highlighting a few areas of what I think are going to be real challenges as we go forward. One is that together, and not just us, but with all of our partners, I think we are implementing a new model of development, as we apply with genuine sincerity, these principals of country ownership, of local capacity development, of integrating science and technology, of doing things differently, of using more data and evidence, and in doing so, we’re going to hit lots of barriers along the way. We’re going to learn a lot, and I just hope that we can all work together, to learn in a shared and common manner, but to stay focused on the overall goal and objective.
I do worry that if we make mistakes in the future we can lose a lot of steam against this agenda, and there’s no business enterprise on the planet that has grown successfully, I think, without making mistakes and learning from them. So I would love to hear how this community and this board would suggest that we learn from our mistakes, we’re transparent about risks we take, but we stay committed to our overall path, and we do that with clarity and purpose.
Second, I think -- and this I’m very concerned about, which is we are in a different era from a fiscal perspective, in pursuing the G8 project, or even this call to action, it is quite clear that, you know, endlessly growing development budgets in Europe and in North America are not to be taken for granted, and yet we don’t want to set our sights too low in this space. We continue to be an enterprise that produces a tremendous amount of value and results for less than 1 percent of the federal budget. We continue to save lives in the most cost effective way possible, and we continue to be a very efficient investment to keep our country secure and prosperous in the long term, but I do think we have to find new and more effective ways to connect to the American people, to connect to the American Congress, to give us the confidence that even in a time of very clear fiscal constraint and austerity, we are making the case effectively for this body of work, and we’re doing it with all of the transparency, and efficiency, and businesslike drive to deliver results that would be expected of a part of this government that is seeking additional resources.
So with that, I thank you for having me here. I am eager to hear thoughts from the board and the community, and I just want to say thank you. This has been an energizing, somewhat exhausting week, and it’s somewhat, in many ways, been emblematic of a few years, but I’m proud of what this agency has achieved. I’m proud of what this administration is able to do, and I’m proud to be part of what I think of as a bipartisan legacy of commitment, for now, more than 60 years that America will be the world’s premier partner in global development in promoting democracy, and global health, and in putting forth a set of shared values as a core part of our foreign policy and national security strategy. So, thank you.
JACK LESLIE: Well, thank you, Raj. That was an enormous amount of ground to cover in ten minutes, and we thank you for your leadership, and for your advocacy, and in fact, the first of the three things you mentioned in conclusion is really going to be the topic of this next part of the meeting. You talked about the new model for development, and those of you who have the agenda will see that the five topics that will be -- or the themes really that we’ll be discussing now in this first session, were all ones that were raised at the high level forum in Busan, and Rio 20 is coming up next week, and we’ll continue to wrestle with these. We’ve got, on this committee folks who are real experts in each of these areas, and so we wanted to give them an opportunity to speak to this, and as we do we’ll hopefully have a conversation too, among the committee, and then we’ll open it up to the public.
We thought that what might make sense is to have Sam Worthington sort of introduce the -- make some remarks and introduce the overall session. Sam, as many of you know, is president and CEO of InterAction, and InterAction is, of course, the umbrella organization that represents so many of the partners, implementing partners of USAID. So, he certainly has a perspective on all this. Sam, can you start us off?
SAM WORTHINGTON: Sure, and thank you, Jack, and thank you Raj, for your framing comments, and I think one thing is clear to everybody, and it’s been clear for a while, is that we are operating in a fundamentally different ecosystem. The number of players, the roles of the players, where the value added of individual actors, how the different actors relate to each other, and ultimately how do we drive results within this different ecosystem is the challenge that is shaping all of our behaviors, and in many ways this ecosystem and change is accelerating. It’s accelerating because you’ve got demand at the country level, at the local level, by civil society, different actors accelerating because of the fiscal constraints that we see out there, and it’s accelerating because in an interconnected world, the nature of what is effective development is transforming.
So, I think that the challenge, as we look at this, is how do the actors begin to more effectively leverage each other? Global ODAs at about $128 billion, we will fight hard, obviously, to maintain U.S. foreign assistance, but there is a cap. There is a level of slowing of momentum, if anything.
Private development assistance right now runs around $54 billion, 36 of it from the U.S. Remittances are 190 billion. You know the size of corporations. You get the sense of private capital flows have risen basically to 87 percent of the resources flowing into the developing world. It’s a change flow of resources.
As NGOs, as our PVO community right now raises about $14 billion from the American people. This is not counting the $4 billion relationship that there is of the private sector, as well as engagement of foundations. The question to what extent these partners leverage each other will be critical.
And stepping back from this, the nice thing is that we have a framework that seems to make sense. The Busan partnership for effective development was an attempt by the world, within this change ecosystem, to create a new framework that would enable the different actors to do their best, and there’s some core principles that have come out of that, but I think guide not only AID, but all its partners.
AID was involved in a broad consultation of the private sector, with PVOs and other actors, and a six month period leading up to Busan, and interaction through its [unintelligible] aid effectiveness working group was part of this dialogue, and we found a lot of common ground, on the concept of country ownership, as beyond ownership by a state, but also ownership by a society, and inclusive if an enabling environment for civil society.
The concept of fragile states and the role that you could play in a new deal around there, the critical role of the private sector as an actor that can be leveraged, and needs to be part at multiple levels, of the development efforts. The need of all actors, including PVOs, of transparency, the pushing forward of USAID’s dashboard, the ability to enable participants in the development enterprise to know who is doing what, where, with what resources is now critical, ultimately, all driving to this area of results and accountability, and how can we drive these results in a way that enable with fewer resources and more leverage partners to get a better change on the ground.
This is a common vision. I think we all share this vision, this sense that we need to bring together these multiple, different parts of the broader Busan agenda, but we know development cannot happen without capable government. It’s not sustainable if we don’t have the private sector actively involved, and ultimately, will not be inclusive if we do not work with empowered populous, or particularly women, organized within civil society.
How rapidly we change our standard practice to those sort of frontiers of development will depend upon, in my view, how we align and understand the different motivations of these different actors coming together, and how their different roles and competencies complement each other, and enable greater collective results than the individual parts. We all have very worthy reasons to engage in this different development ecosystem, and figuring out how better to leverage each other is a key here. It’s interesting to know, as I said, sort of the PVO community is about $14 billion. USAID’s funding in 2009 was about 8 to 12 percent going to the PVO community. It seems to be going perhaps to half of that. The question becomes what is the leveraging that will happen and how does that leveraging best utilize the multiple actors coming into the room. We all have different strengths. We all want to deliver results. We all want to operate within this frame, but we do need to spend some time on figuring out how we best do this together. Thank you.
JACK LESLIE: Thanks, Sam. Well, the first -- and that’s a great lead in into the first theme, which is how do we create environments that really enable civil society, and the two folks on the committee that we thought could lead this part of the discussion, Katie Taylor, who is the executive director of the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty, and David Beckmann, who’s the president of Bread for the World.
And maybe, Katie, you could start off. You obviously work with faith-based groups across the world, and so from your perspective, how do you think we can best enable them?
KATIE TAYLOR: So, I think there are two questions for me. One is it’s clearly a very complex topic, and I think Raj and Sam have framed it beautifully, and there is one of the things I love about USAID’s direction is the willingness to work with everyone of good will, and civil society, for me, by definition is anyone who’s not in government, not in the private sector, who is in good faith attempting to organize themselves to do good of some kind.
So, within that space, I look at the U.S. civil society as well as the civil society organizations in country, and when we talk about the faith communities that my organization works with across religions, across religious traditions, there’s tremendous commonality and a tremendous ability to try and leverage that good will, and that willingness across borders.
So -- and one of the beauties of faith communities is that they are everywhere. So, you have a reach, and a depth, and a longstanding presence that can be taken advantage of in the most positive ways, from both an international perspective, U.S. good will, mission trips, you name it, as well as from a local one, and bringing the faith sector to the table in a cohesive manner, so that everyone can have a voice, I think is absolutely significant, and I applaud the way I think yesterday’s call for child survival was a wonderful representation of that ability.
Certainly Sam’s InterAction has done some tremendous work on focusing on human rights, on creating a good legal environment, but I think also providing a space for how people are already organizing themselves, and ensuring that they have a seat at the table is significant, and important, and I think it also tracks the other direction that USAID seems to be taking, which is it’s not about the money. It’s about the ideas. It’s about unleashing the potential of people. It’s not about investing millions to save thousands. It’s about investing thousands to save millions, by leveraging what everyone else can bring to the table. So, those are my thoughts.
JACK LESLIE: David, I don’t think there’s been a stronger leader against hunger than you, David, and now you’ve written in your own book about lack of political will as being also one of the key obstacles, but talk to us about your perspective on this.
DAVID BECKMANN: I wanted to make three specific suggestions about the enabling environment for CSOs. Let me first say that I’m a huge fan of AID under Raj’s leadership. First, I want to talk about strengthening the partnership between AID and the USPDO community. Bread for the World doesn’t have -- we’re an advocacy organization. We don’t have operations in the developing countries. We don’t get any AID money, but I think it’s fair to say that for maybe 10 years, the USPDO community has felt that its partnership with AID has been deteriorating. Some of that was driven by the lack of staffing and the need to go to big contracts, but as Katie -- I’m impressed by what, say for example, Church World Service or Catholic relief services have done over decades to strengthen their partner institutions in developing countries, and the way that those institutions, in fact, do development work at the village level all over the developing world, and how organizations like that mobilize millions of Americans to be directly engaged in development, and that long term partnership between AID and U.S. non-profits that do development work, relief and development work, is just really important.
I’m super impressed by the fact that InterAction has come out in favor of procurement reform, even though in the short term it might mean that grants that would otherwise go to InterAction members are going to developing country NGOs, but I think -- so, it shows that the concern in the PVO community about their partnership with USAID, and with the U.S. government is not mainly about money. It’s about the partnership and how these two -- how the U.S. government and this family of institutions can together strengthen civil society in the developing countries, and reduce poverty. So, that’s one specific suggestion. I just think now’s a good time to have that conversation.
Second, I’m thrilled about the New Alliance for Food, Security, and Nutrition. The democratically elected leadership of African countries, as for a number of years actually, been saying that their highest priority in their conversations with the U.S. government is that they want help in attracting investment, commercial investment from the industrialized countries to Africa, and this new alliance, what’s new in it is that the G8 and some African governments are planning to cooperate, to facilitate the rapid expansion of U.S. commercial investment in African agriculture and nutrition. I think civil society has a huge role to play in that, if it’s going to be effective. It’s a bit of a gold rush, because there’s a big expansion in demand for food all over the world. Most of the unfarmed, arable land in the world is in Africa. So, already without the help of the G8, a lot of agribusinesses are moving to Africa, and that could be very good news for Africa. It could also do a lot of harm.
So I think organizations, private organizations that have been working with African farmers, directly with African farmers for decades, have a role to play in helping companies like Wal-Mart get into African agricultural extension in Africa. I mean what do they know about agricultural extension? But there are PVOs that know a lot about how to do that, and I also think that there’s an important role in advocacy for developing country groups, African groups in this case, and groups in the U.S., and Europe. We need to monitor what’s going on. We need to be advocates for a kind of development that really results in the reduction of poverty in Africa, out of the new alliance.
And then third, I wasn’t planning to say this, but I really appreciate, Raj, your comment at the end about working together to connect with -- basically, I think it was connect with the American people to make sure we get more and more money for international development. That’s what Bread for the World does, and I mean he didn’t say it quite that way, but that’s the idea.
No, they can’t do -- there’s a limit on what government institutions can do along those lines, but there are, in fact, some things that they can do that would powerfully help those of us who are trying to do exactly that, and part of that would be to move the website to the second and third generations, to make it a place where all Americans who are concerned about international development, can come and find out how they can get more involved.
JACK LESLIE: Great, thank you, David. We’ll obviously come back to a lot of these conversations as we get into the discussion portion, but I’d like to just sort of touch on these themes first, and the second one is country ownership, which Raj mentioned, is obviously a key part of the new development model, and Helene Gayle, who as you all know, president and CEO of CARE, we thought we’d listen to a few of your comments first, on the issue of country ownership.
HELENE GAYLE: Thanks, and I will probably echo some of the things that others have said, but in keeping with the new format that AID started earlier this week of three minute, short talks, I will try to be as brief as possible in my comments. First, I think this whole issue of country ownership is one that we all know we’ve been talking about for a long time. I think this administration has clearly demonstrated their commitment to this issue of country ownership, and frankly, I think the previous administration as well, started down that line, and, you know, I think looking at how PEPFAR was developed, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, et cetera, and now continuing on, whether it’s continuing with Global Health Initiative, Feed the Future, PEPFAR, et cetera, that I think everything that USAID has done, and your commitment, Raj, the secretary and president has really shown that this notion of country ownership is core to your strategy, and I think core in terms of thinking.
And as several of the previous speakers have mentioned, I think that it’s something that within the NGO community, we have talked about in a variety of ways for a long time, looking at more participatory ways of doing our work, making sure that there’s true ownership in the communities that we work in, and I guess I would say if I cut to the chase, a lot of the challenges around the issue of country ownership is then how do we define this and how do we use this as a way that brings us together, and not tears us apart, because, you know, what I hear often in the debates is that everybody is calling something country ownership to support what they most want to do. And we’re looking at this as kind of a zero sum game, so, you know, we tend to accuse governments, i.e., our own, to saying country ownership is all about giving money to other governments, and cutting the NGO community out. If it’s the NGO community, we tend to say, you know, people don’t understand. This is about strengthening civil society. We’re core to that, so give us the money. You know, I think if we kind of get past that tension and really start defining what we’re talking about, and that it really is, you know, the whole being greater the sum of the parts, and not an either or, that I think we can really get to a real, honest dialogue about what country ownership means. You know, it is clearly that the country, and that means just like we insist on public sector, private sector, civil society being part of the dialogue, that that’s also what we’re expecting, if we talk about country ownership. Yes, the government has the overall broad role of making sure that its citizens, just like in our country, has, you know, that there is an overall architecture to what is done to advance a society, but that that is only done when you have active participation from all parts, and therefore, we all have roles to play. So the role that civil society plays in helping to strengthen the voices of civil society within countries, the roles that governments have in making sure that resources are used in a way that actually leads to equitable growth, and, you know, I think where we have fallen short sometimes in, you know, in the -- I’m talking more about from the government side, I think where we have sometimes fallen short is in not holding other governments accountable for the greater participation of whole societies, and thinking that the job is done when governments show that they have a nice development plan, and have this concept that yes, we have now developed a plan that all actors can participate in, but not that holding governments accountable for making sure that that participation happens.
So, I think again, you know, we’re all for, you know, "rah, rah," country ownership. We all believe in it, but I think it is making sure that we are having this not be an either/or, but truly an inclusive discussion, recognizing the role that all actors play within a society, and holding governments accountable for that, and not just for developing a plan.
And I think finally, and we’ll talk about this a little bit more, the notion of the different stages that different countries are in is very important too, because there’s a very different dialog when it is a fragile state, or a state in conflict, or a state that doesn’t have a government that represents its people, than when you’re talking about a government that really has taken that journey to develop a truly democratic society that engages with its own civil society, and that does things in a way that is truly inclusive. So, I think there needs to be some nuance thinking about what country ownership means, depending on where countries fall in that spectrum, and us being better about holding countries accountable when we do inter into that partnership. So, those are just some thoughts.
RAJ SHAH: Helene, I just wanted to ask a follow-up question, which is do you have -- I mean this is something this group could do, but do you have examples where you would say, “This is a good example of moving towards that direction,” and examples that are bad examples, and the reason I ask is, you know, I agree with everything you said. I think there is a perception that we use country ownership and people feel oh, the money is going to move to the country. When you look statistically, that’s actually not true. We’ve been on a consistent, 20 year trend of not doing that. So, what would you say are the examples that we ought to study and say, “Okay, this is kind of how to do country ownership well in a way that’s inclusive, in a way that brings everyone along?"
HELENE GAYLE: Yeah, and I would have to be real specific, and there’s some countries that I’d probably rather not call out right now, but, you know, I think there are good examples. I think it would be worthwhile for us collecting it. You know, just slightly on another point, I think that the other thing that we, you know, collectively need to think about is how do we make sure that global agendas and local agendas somehow merge, and so, you know, this week we had GAVI [spelled phonetically], for instance, which people have often been critical that GAVI is so top down, and that, you know, you can go into some countries and say, you know, “If it was my choice, the hepatitis vaccine wouldn’t be the highest on my agenda, but from a global perspective, you know, we feel that it is important to get those technologies out,” I mean just using hepatitis as an example.
So, I think there is another dialogue also to talk about in terms of: How do you harmonize global agendas while thinking about what the greatest country needs? You know, again, people have been critical about PEPFAR. You can go into a country where their greatest flow of resources from the U.S. government is for PEPFAR funds, and their greatest problem is maternal mortality. How do we square some of those sorts of things, so that our global agendas are not in some way skewing what’s important, most important at the local level?
JACK LESLIE: Well, that’s a good lead to the next theme. It’s very much related and Helene talked about how transparency, and accountability, and all of that is obviously all wound up in country ownership. Nancy Boswell is a former CEO of Transparency International, and been working in this field for years. Could you talk a little bit about that?
NANCY BOSWELL: Is this on automatically?
JACK LESLIE: It will come on as soon as you talk, I think.
NANCY BOSWELL: I know it’s hard to hear with the air conditioning going here. First of all, thank you for inviting me, and I’d like to recognize that while I have spent a long time looking at these issues, there are many experts in this audience, and at AID. So, my comments are said with some humility.
I’d also like to reflect on when Senator Cardin opened his lunch remarks earlier this week. The first thing he did was to say, “Thank you.” Thank you to USAID for all of the work that you do, and I say that because I think when we’re talking about transparency and accountability, particularly in the anti-corruption context, sometimes we’re looked at as the skunk at the party, raining on the development parade, and thus my comments are not meant in that context, but rather to make things more effective in the process.
Let me start with two introductory comments. The first one being that whether we’re talking about feeding the future, or conserving natural resources, or child survival, we have to think more about mainstreaming transparency and accountability into those issues, and I would call it the infrastructure on which those issues needs to rest. It, too often, is put over in another category. There’s a governance agenda, rather than mainstreaming, and I say this based on experience, working with TI chapters in over 100 countries who’ve seen the real damage that corruption can do, and what a struggle it is to get their governments to be more transparent so that citizens can hold them to account.
The central role of this issue is underscored, I think, this week at the conference. I was struck that all three presidents, Kosovo, Liberia, and Malawi, as well as the two senators, Senator Lugar and Senator Cardin, mentioned the issue of corruption as one of the greatest threats to development, and the increasing need for greater efforts in the transparency and accountability space. So I think we need to look more closely at that.
Second, these issues are integrally related, the ones we were talking about this morning. So, as I listen to country ownership, you know, we’re talking about having an enabling environment for civil society. That includes transparency and enabling citizens to hold their governments to account, and the same kind of environment is needed to engage the private sector. The private sector equally wants a transparent operating environment, and they want to have a voice as well. So, I think these issues need to be looked at together.
When I thought about transparency and accountability, I think I came out sort of where InterAction did, in a very excellent paper that they did on the issue, and that is we need to look at donor transparency, and accountability, and that or our partner governments.
Significant progress on the donor side, USAID’s dashboard, certainly the International Aid Transparency Initiative, and particularly, the U.S. deciding to join, brought the number of signatories to countries representing three quarters of development assistance. That’s a major step forward.
The World Bank’s policy on accessed information with a presumption of transparency, thanks to Paul Volcker, is a terribly important shift in the bank, and leadership in terms of other multilateral donors. Its open data initiative is also very significant, providing access to project information, information about board meetings. I see a one minute sign. There’s no way I’m going to make it, so I warn you, two minutes.
JACK LESLIE: Two minutes.
NANCY BOSWELL: Okay. Donor transparency is clearly a critical first step. There is no way citizens can hold their governments to account without information, and the donors to the extent they represent significant flows, this is an important area.
I'd like to talk about -- there's also another kind of donor, which I think Sam referenced, and that is the private sector. Significant flow is going into the developing world from the private sector, so their transparency is equally important, and Dodd-Frank, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and other ways of getting multinationals in particular to be more transparent can be very helpful.
Turning quickly to partner government transparency, I think this is about accountability; this is where the rubber meets the road and it impacts country ownership, it impacts a whole lot of issues, and while I think there has been some progress, I think this is where we really need to focus far more attention and be responsive to civil society and the private sector in terms of their view of what's working and what isn't.
The other issue is there is an explosion of initiatives. The Open Government Partnership Initiative, terrific one launched by the U.S. and Brazil, bringing lots of countries together, still very much a work in progress. At the same time running parallel, a number of anti-corruption conventions that have significant transparency provisions requirements in them and even our trade agenda, APEC, free trade agreements, have significant transparency in them. The question really is implementation and integration. We don't even know to what extent some of these agreements are being implemented, but based on my conversations with people on the ground, we have a long way to go, and the formal review processes move at a glacial pace. So, we need to put more capital into those processes.
At the same time, we need to integrate these various initiatives. I know for myself working in this particular space there are so many initiatives that I can hardly keep track of them. So, I think more -- doing more so that we can truly leverage all the good efforts to get the kind of outcome that we want is critical.
One final point going back to some of what others have said and that is enabling environment for civil society, and that is the need for protection. It's very clear from our organization and perhaps others who work, you know, in this room, that while there are some leaders who embrace civil society, and I think this week our leaders that we had here certainly are great examples, there is an increasing tide of resistance to civil society, and it comes in the form of harassment, legal requirements, physical threats of violence, jail terms, and unless we really look at that honestly, I think we are missing something that needs to be tended to.
JACK LESLIE: All right. Thanks very much, Nancy. As most of you know, probably well over a third of U.S. development assistance goes to countries that are either in the midst of or teetering or recovering from crisis. Charito Kruvant, who is the president of Creative Associates International, whose group is doing an awful lot of work in this area. I know about your work in northern Uganda and in other places. Charito, can you comment on how all of this is working and fragile in conflict-affected states?
CHARITO KRUVANT: I'd be happy to at least attempt to be helpful in the process. I'm going to speak from the perspective of a practitioner who's been in the field doing the work and knowing that the policies and the directions come from somewhere else. There are about a million and a half -- one billion and a half to two billion people in conflict. And that's the area. And that being the area where children and women and those that are disadvantaged become even more disadvantaged. So, the need for us in the development community and the need for us in AID to really organize ourselves to be not only ready in some countries, but to be ready all the time, because the conflict goes on.
And there has been known, or we do know that conflict in some places goes on for 20 to 30 years, so that there has to be an organized way in which we function. There is a place for all of us in development, the NGOs, the country ownership, the practitioners, all of us, to really work through the process.
It does take about 20 years for good governance -- the transformation of good governance, even under the best conditions of peace, even under the best wonderful planning, to go from one place to another. We do know with research it takes us about 15 to 20 years. So, to do all of that and to attempt to do it in conflict is really one of those uphill battles that I'm just so honored to be part of. I also know that it is not something that it just happens. It requires a huge amount of skills and commitment from a variety of really professionals that are devoted to that.
I think the Busan conference gave us one of the most enlightening visions for how to support fragile states, and they really pretty much narrow it down to five goals, which from my practitioner's perspective, they are a vision, aspiration, and they will be very, very hard goals to achieve in the immediate future, but I think they are very important to have them. It is very important to know them, and they are very important as we go in through the process of making -- allocating resources, that we keep that in mind.
One was fostering inclusive political settlements in conflict resolution. That really is terrific idea. What I've found myself quite frequently is that most of our work that we do for AID is not -- we're not value free. A war is a war and there are two sides. A conflict is a conflict. There are frequently more than two sides. To spend enough time analyzing, organizing ourselves to figure out how are we going to do at the very least do no harm, and at the most support this process of conflict resolution, very complex, but I think really worthwhile keeping it.
Establishing and strengthening people's security: critical. If we don't look after the children, the women, and the most disadvantaged while the conflict goes on, we're losing not only the opportunity -- the moral opportunity to do well, but we're also quite frequently losing generations. We have seen and we are working in places like Uganda and Sudan where children were part of horrible experiences. There is not enough funding. There is not enough resources that will heal those children. We must prevent those experiences in the future and AID and the civil society has the opportunity to be part of that.
Addressing the injustices, increasing people's access to justice: wonderful. What I have found myself is that issue requires very good analysis of time. We need to know when to do what, because quite frequently if we do it too soon we might be exposing people to greater harm. Generating employment and improving people's livelihoods, it's a must. How to do it requires a huge amount of support way beyond the AID and that's why I think AID's partnerships become of great value and importance.
And then managing revenues and building capacity for accountable and fair services: easy to say, hard to do, but we shouldn't give up. Thank you again.
JACK LESLIE: Thank you. Thanks, Charito. Well, I don't want to give -- we want to get into the public discussion in just about five or six minutes. I don't want to give short shrift to the private sector, since that's where I hail from as well, but we have two folks that we'd like to talk about the role of the private sector in development. Sunil Sanghvi, who is the director at McKinsey, has done a lot of work particularly working with African governments to transform their agricultural sectors, and Liz Schrayer, who is the executive director of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and works with many of these private sector organizations. Maybe we could start with you, Sunil, and talk a little bit about the role of the private sector, and then we'll get into the public discussion.
SUNIL SANGHVI: It's a pleasure. It's a pleasure to be here and to make some comments on the role of private sector in development. I think the private sector is where a lot of the investment dollars and the change agents for development are going to come from, so it's a critical actor, and it includes many flavors. There are the citizens, such as farmers and service providers. There are the SME's and other local and regional businesses and co-ops and international private sector. There are many flavors of private sector, and I thought I'd talk about a couple of them.
First, the role of private sector entrepreneurs as change agents in delivering development, and I'll use maybe the Morocco experience around agriculture as an example, because I think it ties together many of the new eco-system that Sam talked about. How do different players work together to deliver development?
And in Morocco, it really started with a view amongst leaders that they were growing the wrong crops, that they had spent a lot of money on irrigated land and they were growing wheat on it, and they came to the conclusion that they could help farmers, small farmers, one or two hectors of land, double their yields and it still wouldn't get them out of poverty, whereas they had the good fortune of being close to Europe and being able to grow high-value crops, which could get people out of poverty. And that was a big mindset shift that many of the leaders in Morocco had, but then they had a problem, which was how would you do that? How would you get relatively unsophisticated farmers who were growing wheat and their parents are growing wheat and their grandparents are growing wheat, to grow tomatoes, or olives, or other crops, which are much more technically intensive in terms of the genetics and the need for quality and finding markets and the investments and conditioning equipment. And they came to the idea of using private sector entrepreneurs, in this case nucleus farmers, as the key change agent.
And they did something I think, which is really the core idea here. It is replicable. It can have scale and sustainability, which is why I'll spend a couple of minutes to describe it. They said, we the government will help private businessmen, these could be Moroccan farmers or Spanish farmers, or Moroccan business people who have nothing to do with agriculture, get going with the nucleus farm. We'll give you a long-term lease on 50 hectors of land. We'll build roads. We'll help get credit guarantees. That's part of the bargain. The rest of the bargain is you need to be the change agents to help all the small farmers in your vicinity, hundreds, thousands of small farmers also do the same thing, move from wheat to tomatoes or olives, and that this model is a good way of changing lots and lots of farmers. That was the basic idea. And it's working real well. It's got -- the core change agent is a private sector player with some capital, with some sophistication, and with the right incentives, and then the government's role and civil society's role, becomes getting this going and making sure that things stay fair, because you've got the potential for power imbalances.
And so they spent a lot of time thinking about what were the right contracts? How do we make sure that prices in the markets are transparent so everybody has them on their cellphones and they have some knowledge going into negotiations about prices? And performance -- managing this so that both groups of partners stay to their commitments. And if you take that apart -- and basically you need 700 of these nucleus farms to cover all of Morocco's commercial agriculture. So, the other nice thing about this model is it's easy to implement. It's relatively easy to implement. You're not dealing with hundreds of thousands of farmers. You're trying to get 700 individual transactions to work. And so it's an idea. It gets the private sector and government and civil society working in a different way, and it's being tried in many other places in Ghana and the northern region. Instead of nucleus farms, the private sector's change agent is a warehouse aggregator at a smaller scale. But the same idea of a limited number of change agents, role of government in civil society is replicable and scalable.
The second quick story is around this new alliance that happened last month, and how international private sector can also play an important role. In that case, several billion dollars of international and local and regional private investment were mobilized and it just shows, as somebody was mentioning earlier, there's a huge interest in private sector to go invest in Africa and Asia and Latin America, but the investment is impeded because of perceived risks. What the new alliance, and Grow Africa in this case did, was help companies de-risk their investments by getting many companies to work together by creating an international platform to work on policy changes, to get donor money and government money working together.
Again, a different model of how the different actors can work together. In this case, you know, there's the promise of technology and investment coming in. There's also going to be a continued need to make sure that this does serve development objectives and that's where the government and civil society play a very important role.
But these are both ideas which are different. There hasn't been that much of this in the past in development, and they're both -- you can get the sense that if they can get these to work they're scalable, and that there's something about getting the private sector to be the doer and the government and civil society to get things going, to make sure things stay fair, and to work on capacity building. That's one change model that has some headroom in it.
JACK LESLIE: Great. Thank you, Sunil. Liz, you work closely with the administration on the new alliance. Do you have a thought? I’m sorry to bring you in last here before we go to the conversation, but --
LIZ SCHRAYER: I'm honored.
JACK LESLIE: -- but you have a few minutes.
LIZ SCHRAYER: A few quick points. I spent a lot of time, as some of you know, with many people sitting on this panel advocating for the work of USAID and I have to say, especially as we get into the private sector, the vision and the implementation, Raj, that you laid out at the beginning, makes my job a lot easier. And just last evening I hosted dinner with a lot of people who were in government and in state in USAID in the last administration, and when I walked through some of these changes in terms of the eco-system and the procurement reform and the transparency, they're very impressed and where their eyes really light up is when you start talking about the leveraging the private sector.
I think we are -- I'm a big believer in the tipping point and I think we're somewhere in that cusp of it where the line that I've been using is we are seeing the shift from corporations participating from the CSR to P&L. And we're -- even five years ago we could be sitting here and talking about how corporations and the business sector are looking through a philanthropic lens at development. Today you know better than most of us how much that is shifting and they're really looking at how to align their business model, their supply chain, to both do good and do well.
And so what I want to mention is a couple of things that I think we need to be doing, all of the vision that you've laid out, all the work you're doing is absolutely in the right direction, but I think there is a hunger and a growing interest to do more and more as Sunil just said.
What the businesses continue to tell me is they absolutely see 95 percent of the world consumers outside the U.S., where the fastest growing markets are in the developing world where many of the NGOs and contractors are working, and what they realize as these markets are growing is that they're running into some real challenges, that there are poor procurement operations in infrastructure, regulatory frameworks that are really challenging for a corporate model. They also recognize the human challenges of poverty, illiteracy, health issues, and all the issues that have been discussed all week. I still remember Bill Lane, who is the chair of our coalition, saying to me -- he works with Caterpillar -- when Africa is ravaged by HIV/AIDS, we're not going to be selling Cat's. And so the corporations really get that there is an alignment here.
And the question that we're asking and I think that Raj started with is: what is the role of government? What is the role of USAID to create these enabling environments to spur on greater engagement from the private sector? And how do we help USAID be the best it can be -- lead or be lead in this shift and this transformation?
So I would throw out three ideas to consider in terms of all things that you are doing, all of which I think need to be accelerated, and I don't think you'll disagree with any of them.
The first is shifting to as much as we can to a strategic framework of the relationship with the private sector. And USAID has done a phenomenal job at accelerating public/private partnerships, particularly with the corporate America. We heard a lot of it this week. But how do you do it so they're not one-offs and there's a strategic comprehensive framework, whether that's country by country or sector by sector in a broader thought.
Second is, I think we have to -- and I think Raj, you started to do this, but define the role of government, of what government can do that the private sector won't do. I talked to a lot of people and they said oh, well, development that's great that you're talking about the private sector. Private sector should be doing it. Well, we all know there are things like enabling environment, infrastructure, investment, and technology and risk sharing -- a range of things – that need to be addressed. And how we articulate and define that, I think, will be very, very important for a whole range of reasons.
And the third and final one, which again, I know USAID is doing and I'd urge us to be even more accelerated, is really trying to understand how to help bring down the barriers that make it more difficult for the business community to partner with USAID and other parts of the government. Certainly they're encouraged and inspired to do so, but I think I've heard, and I know you've heard, about the structural, cultural, and legal barriers to doing so. Everything from simple things like: who's the point person who I can talk to? Bring me in early in the planning process. And I look at some of the newer public-private partnerships that you've done with the Wal-Marts, and the Pepsis, and the Cokes, and Citi that have done just that, and I think those are the models that we need to figure out is how to bring them in so that they can share -- the corporations here -- what do their supply chain needs five years down the road, so, not that you have to respond to it, but you can at least bring that into the thinking.
So again, I don't think anything I'm saying are not things that you're doing, but if we want to capture this transformation of the business sector, the private sector, and I'm talking primarily of corporate sector, but I think this is transformative to NGOs, and foundations, academics, et cetera, is to accelerate these at a pace, which is hard to do, to meet the need and the interest that I think is absolutely there and just waiting to be brought in.
JACK LESLIE: Right, thanks Liz. Welcome, Megan. We're going to hear from -- Megan's from Google, we'll hear from her in the second session.
So, we are now at the point in the meeting where we'd like to open this up for discussion and questions from all of you. You'll note that there two microphones there in the aisles, and any of you who would like to make a comment or ask a question, please feel free to stand up and start to line up behind those mics.
I should add that there are a number of senior folks here from USAID, so we may also toss these out -- if there are questions to some of you. I'll let Raj figure out who gets to ask them, but, go ahead.
FEMALE SPEAKER: I guess I'll start since --
JACK LESLIE: Sure.
FEMALE SPEAKER: -- nobody's come up to the mic yet, I just wanted -- in terms of the private sector, I wanted to make sure that we don't leave out the local private sector. We've been talking about the international private sector, we've talked about American firms, but in our work, I'm at the International Youth Foundation, we've been working very closely with the local private sector and seen their engagement in terms of their interest in value chains, in terms of their interest in helping develop a strong work force, so just thinking as part of this conversation that we should be thinking about engaging them as well and strategies for them.
JACK LESLIE: Absolutely. Go ahead. Please, if you'd all introduce yourself, too, and tell us what organization you're from.
GREGORY ADAMS: Gregory Adams, with Oxfam America. I just wanted to speak to Nancy Boswell's comments, which I thought were very important, because corruption is such an important issue for us to be focused on, as well as the shrinking space that we're encountering in many contexts for civil society, and the roll that they play.
And that's why we're so encouraged at Oxfam by some of the work that USAID is doing to add more tools to its tool kit to be enable to engage and support local civil society. One of the things we often hear from a lot of our partners in country, is that they see that the United States, over a number of years now, has spent a lot of time avoiding corruption, and not enough time helping them fight corruption, and so -- these are people like John De Tongo [spelled phonetically] of Kenya, Natir Natary [spelled phonetically] in Afghanistan, or Orazio Bellettini in Ecuador, all people who are risking their lives to fight corruption and hold their governments more accountable, and they want to be able to work more directly with the U.S. government to do that.
They will also see the value of USAID having stronger direct relationships with their governments themselves as a tool for encouraging those governments to be more responsive to their own people. So we're hearing the feedback that the direction USAID is going in is actually helping these local change leaders to accomplish this, but we fear that the biggest political challenge we have here in the United States, is the idea that we can solve the challenge of corruption from here in Washington.
And ultimately, we believe it's going to be people in country demanding accountability from their own government, us as the United States giving them support to have their voices heard, and a multiplicity of partners, including local and global civil society being engaged in the conversation about how we strengthen these local voices in country.
So just -- both a word of support for the direction USAID is going in and a question about how we engage in the conversation about what the different role of all the actors is, and how they all fit into this puzzle. Thanks.
JACK LESLIE: Great, very good comments. Raj, I think you may have some thoughts on that, but I know some other things that were said here as well.
RAJIV SHAH: Well, let me say thank you, Greg, because we really appreciate the leadership you've shown on this issue, and the passion, and commitment, and it has been helpful, especially when times have been tough.
I'd like to react to three things that sort of came out earlier in this conversation, and from some of the comments from the group, and ask that others sort of just think about this. One is we really do hope that our website becomes the vehicle for extreme transparency, and just on Monday, we re-launched an entirely new site. I believe that some of the tools on there, the foreign assistance dash board, which obviously has been up for a while, the new tracking system, that allows you to literally click on every country, every district, pull up which projects are active, who's implementing those projects, how much is going into them, is an extraordinary tool.
It turns out, all of this has actually been publicly accessible for some time, but there's a big difference between publicly accessible and actually available, as Meg might be able to speak to in a more profound way.
The reason I say this is we need your help on this board, and in this community to use that tool as the vehicle to help us make it better. Let's make sure the next generation of that brings the kind of transparency so we can get over these conceptual debates about who gets what, and see what's actually happening and coordinate based on local visibility around what's happening there.
The second is, I do want to react a little bit to some of the numbers around our procurement reforms in particular, and Sam, I just really value that InterAction in particular has come out in support of the approach, I think that's just very inspiring to us, and your personal leadership is so important there, but I will also say that when I look at the numbers, I just disagree with the notion that we provide 8 percent of our resources to U.S. NGOs and PVOs and that that's getting cut in half.
In fact, if you look at the FY 2011 number, it's actually $4.5 billion, which is 31.2 percent of the resources we have direct management over that goes into that group. That over -- the five year average there is about 33.2 percent. So it's a) not a dramatic shift, b) if we actually do the right things, and grow the pie because we're doing the right things, I think you maybe could even expect growth over time, but it will require being more transparent, being willing to change, and I think the more we get into this mindset, that procurement reform is about excluding certain groups, that's just not born out in statistical practice, it's not -- the numbers don’t reflect that, and I don't think they will.
The final thing that I'd like to just sort of suggest on this, is the comment that Helene made earlier about country ownership and local ownership, I do think we need to see from this group and from others, what are the best models out there, so we can talk more about the models and less about who gets the grants and contracts. I mean, I look at -- I remember Meg when you showed us the mapping taking place in Pakistan that was very locally driven, you know, it just seems to me -- but it involved, if I recall correctly, you guys providing technology, and support, to local partners who were then doing that.
I just -- we need to have a different kind of conversation that's not about who's getting the money and that is more driven by what the models of success look like if we're all deeply committed to this idea of local engagement.
And the final thing is, I'll tie that into a comment Sunil and Liz made, which is, you know, in advance of the G8 effort, we canvassed, and had direct conversations on multiple levels with about 120 agricultural businesses around the world. What every one of them sought from us, every single one, including local companies, and farming enterprises, was connectivity with local institutions, NGOs, and a voice at the table with government. That was uniform across the board, so if we're going to be the world's best development agency, I think we need to have those relationships directly, and I look to this community to help us figure out how to build that into our core competency, because remember, 60 percent of our workforce, abroad, are local professionals, who have deep, local institutional relationships, connectivity, it's a tremendous asset that very few other partners have, and I just since we're still not leveraging that kind of deep, local connectivity as effectively as we could. Thanks.
HELENE GAYLE: Could I --
JACK LESLIE: Yeah, please, Helene.
HELENE GAYLE: Yeah, just a couple points in -- I think your point, Raj, is a good one around really mapping out some of the good examples and also some of the bad ones, because I think we learn as much from how some of these things aren’t working as from the ones that are working, and it clearly is -- it ought to be much more of a discussion around what works and not works and, "How do we do this better?" And clearly not just about the resources. But unfortunately, it keeps getting back to that, because it's in the absence of looking at some of those good models.
I just wanted to pick up, also, on the point that you made from International Youth around the local private sector, because in some ways I think there's a real parallel between this discussion that we have about local NGOs and the international NGOs with the private sector, and I don't think we've been as deliberate about looking at that relationship, too. And before we get too far down the line where there becomes the same sort of confusing dialogue between, "Is it local or global private sector?" Figuring out how we have that same sort of discussion about, "How do we both support the growth of local private sector, which is critical, and at the same time being better about how we engage with the global private sector actors?" So I think it's just a great point that you highlighted, because we're not there yet, and we will end up getting into this same sort of tension between local and global actors on the private sector, and that would be counterproductive. So I think we can get ahead of that, and that's kind of what you were saying too, Liz.
JACK LESLIE: Yes?
CHARLES CONCONI: Hi I'm Charles Conconi with the International Executive Service Corps. Given that this is the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Assistance, I wanted to draw the attention of the board and Administrator Shah to an important element of that, and that's volunteerism itself. And many of the organizations here utilize volunteers on a regular basis. We've noted that there's something in the range of about 74 million baby boomers who are going to be entering retirement in probably the next 15 years or so, and in addition, corporations are a lot more flexible than they've ever been historically. They're not just permitting their employees to go off and do sabbaticals or volunteer work; they're actually encouraging it.
So with that in mind, I really had two questions. One is, what are we doing, you know, as an organization -- this is a perfect area for public-private collaboration -- to ensure that this enormous resource, this enormous knowledge base doesn't go to waste? And in particular, Administrator Shah and the government agencies, what can they do to catalyze the use of more volunteers, both internationally and our, you know, Americans who are reaching retirement age or want something interesting to do from employment period?
And I'll note two quick items, is that there have actually been efforts on this. The Edward M. Kennedy Bill supported volunteerism to some extent, and Volunteers for Prosperity under the Bush Administration was designed to support volunteerism, but neither of those really got implemented. Thank you.
JACK LESLIE: Does anyone want to comment on the -- Meg?
MEGAN SMITH: Yeah. Megan. So one of these that we've been doing at Google, we have this idea of 20 percent time, and a lot of people are familiar with that, where we do innovation. Gmail came out of that, Google News, other things. We have an idea, also, of 1 percent time, and we call it Google Serve 20, so 20 hours a year equivalent of anything people want to do to volunteer. So just by way of example of one company -- and lots of companies are starting to do this across the board, as you mentioned -- making sure that our teams can use their skills in a volunteering context. So we have a lot of computer -- we have 15,000 computer scientists, great marketing teams, other folks who could help nonprofits.
So recently we've created a tool where we have an internal marketplace, and all kinds of nonprofits and NGOs are telling us things they need done, and then Googlers are signing up to do those. Like all ideas, they happen in parallel, so some Google alumni also made a tool, so there's a public tool. There's also a thing called Volunteer Match that many companies use.
So I think what's interesting is you're starting to see, you know, this is, like, the Model T or the crack in the dam of the beginnings of taking this extraordinary workforce from the developed world and making it available in a volunteer context, not only through the corporation context, which I'm talking about with Google Serve, but with, you know, sort of anybody, all comers. And there's amazing things that we can do with that group of people.
Similarly, in the developing world, there are many highly qualified people who can play into that. And so, to me, the biggest thing that's happening in volunteering is that 3 billion people are coming into the conversation, and, you know, the next wave of the next group of people, and we can think of them as a problem or a market or something, but who they really are, are teammates.
And so, as we think about all the things we're doing -- and the Agency's doing an amazing job of beginning to do this work with the universities and the transparency tools -- how do you actually think about crowdsourcing and teaming up for much more of the work that needs to be done? So we are more like smart routers, you know, if you think at a -- we're moving the information around about what needs to be done, but the actual work itself is done by many other entities who we match well, and that helps us with budget, and it helps us do, you know, 10x instead of 1x.
JACK LESLIE: Please, go ahead.
PAUL EHMER: Thank you. My name is Paul Ehmer, and I'm the U.S. representative for a U.K.-based health group called HLSP. But in this context, again, I'm a retired foreign service officer, worked with USAID as a health officer for a long time, almost 30 years, and the last five years was with a small NGO, and for the last year I've been now on the private sector, so I have kind of a perspective from different sides of the -- of this issue.
And I have kind of three comments to make, one based -- one to Administrator Shah and whoever else on the AID side. I don't think anyone who's been working in development would have any reason to fight against the idea of trying to give more attention to building local capacity. That certainly is what we all are here for and what needs to be done. I think the issue for AID, as I see it, and some -- and the initiatives that AID has taken, I think, are very useful and helpful, but one of the things that I think needs to be done is it has to be done in a kind of a phased manner. I mean, I think the issue is that we can't expect we're going to jump immediately from today where much of the money is coming directly from AID or through international NGOs to an issue where we've got it all now going to local NGOs or local organizations, because the capacity isn't there. And so what I think is there needs to be a phased approach in which partnerships between the international NGO community and local civil society and NGOs goes for a certain period of time in which the international NGOs are held responsible for actually building that capacity, and then later on there can be more capacity on the local side.
Second issue, which I don't know whether Helene might want to comment on, on country ownership, but I think a model -- we're talking about models. For me, a good model on country ownership is the way the Global Fund goes about this. And I had the wonderful opportunity to sit around a table when there was a lot of discussion about how the Global Fund was going to be created, and this concept of the country coordination mechanism came out of that discussion. And I won't -- I don't want to go into the detail about how well the country coordination mechanism works, but at least it's a model that brings various parties to the table to talk about trying to move together -- move together directly toward the goals that we're seeking, and I think that's a good model to follow.
There are issues around that, and Administrator Shah also said, you know, "Let's not fight about who's going to get the money." But, frankly, that has been one of the problems with the country coordination mechanisms, because many of the partners that sit around that table at the country level, behind the scene they are also interested in getting some of the money that comes from the global fund. So we have to think about how to deal with that.
And the third thing is on the private sector. I appreciated the comment about doing good and doing well. I had the opportunity my last three, five years working at this NGO in a partnership with Marathon Oil, and we'll give them some credit here for supporting a malaria control project in Equatorial Guinea in which they were doing good, and they were getting good communication, good feedback from the community that they were doing good things, but there were many people on the government side and in the NGO sector that thought, "We shouldn't be partnering with them, because they're the private sector, and all they're trying to do is make some money out of this." And I think that's really wrong, and I saw that you can actually do that model in which the private sector is doing good, in other words, helping malaria in Equatorial Guinea, and they do well by getting good publicity for the fact that they did it, so there's nothing wrong with that.
JACK LESLIE: Great. Thank you, Paul. I think we have time for one more. Why don't you go ahead?
LARRY HELLER: Great. Thank you. My name is Larry Heller [spelled phonetically], and I’m with the Professional Services Council, the trade association that represents many of AID's for-profit implementing partners. There was a discussion during the Frontiers Conference, extensive discussion, about the risks -- the risk profile, the risks imposed by the AID effectiveness agenda. And it's different: use of government systems, local institutions, local NGOs -- it's a different risk assessment, risk mitigation process than the old way. Development was never without risk; we're all aware of that.
But I'm wondering if the commission could address how those risks can best be assessed and mitigated going forward, to get from here to there, because as I think I heard Paul O'Brien from OXFAM point out recently, the headline about the leaky pipe is much more likely to come before the results for the end of the pipe. And it has been said in the conference that, you know, you can't -- you don't use a country system or a local system; you don't know how leaky it is until you use it. But, you know, your friends in Congress find that small comfort. And so how do we all participate in assessing and mitigating those risks to get to the AID effectiveness agenda that we all want to achieve.
JACK LESLIE: Maybe, Raj, you can answer that, and then we'll go for a break.
RAJIV SHAH: Okay. Well, thank you. Look, I think we're talking about the crux of the issue, and so I want to thank everybody for their very direct and clear points of view. You know, I'll just invite this community and the folks around this table to offer to us your best examples over 50 years of USAID being in business of how we built, collectively, local capacity and got to a place where there were strong local institutions that were capable of leading their countries, their economies, their health systems, their health outcomes, their democracies, their civil society forward.
I respect, Charito, your point that sometimes in conflict -- post-conflict environments, it's a 15-, 20-year process before there's a viable local capacity. You know, actually, I think, based in part due to your good work in Afghanistan, you've probably proven there's some models that maybe cut that timeframe in half. I would also note there are places where we have proudly worked for 40 or 50 years, and we still say to ourselves, "There's no local capacity; we can't work with them if we try." And, by the way, this dramatic reform effort that we're all talking about, so far, has gone from a five-year rolling average of 4.7 percent invested in local NGOs to a dramatic 2011 number of 6 percent. And, you know, when people say you need a phased approach, we have worked with every one of our missions around the world so that, based on the local knowledge and relationships in those missions, they can set targets that, in aggregate, take us from about 11 percent today spent on local institutions to about 30 percent in 2015.
I know there's a lot of fear that Congress won't be supportive of this. I've found just the opposite. I have sat with members. I've done 110 personal meetings with members of the Senate and the House. I've sat with leadership on both sides of the aisle, and I have found nothing but extraordinarily strong support for this. Though, we did run into a blip in the road when [unintelligible] sent, you know, a long letter asking how we intend to go about this work. I think their team came away impressed with the rigor and sophistication of David Ostermeyer, Lisa Gomer, and many of the others that are leading this process.
So I would just be -- I'd bring a little bit of pushback here to say, you know, I'd rather not -- I certainly won't be sitting here 40 years from now having this conversation. I would hope someone else is not. But, you know, if we're going to be serious about this, I think we should look to the Googles of the world, the Architectures for Humanity, the -- many of the InterAction members, some of the Bread members that have actually seemed to figure this out and have taken a little more risk than the federal government is normally associated with and tends to have some models of success, many of which have been highlighted over the past few days. So I thank everyone for the clarity of this conversation and would ask you to help us through this journey.
JACK LESLIE: Great. We'll take about a 10-minute break and reconvene here at 10:45. Thank you all.
JACK LESLIE: Can we get everyone seated, please, and the committee members back up to their seats, please? All right. We're ready. Are we all set here? Great. Well, thank you all very much. We're ready to start our second session.
Got everybody? Great. The second session is going to be on the very exciting work of unlocking innovation in development -- real breakthroughs. And we have about a half hour to devote to this. And we'll have the same -- we'll have the same format in that a number of committee members will comment and then we'll open it up for discussion.
But we'd like to start with Don Steinberg, who's the deputy administrator of USAID, who's going to introduce the session and then introduce Alex Dehgan, who has been working diligently on this at the Agency. And I'll, without further ado, turn it over to Don. Thanks.
DON STEINBERG: Thanks, Jack. Thanks, Jack. And I thought it would be useful to begin by, in a sense, providing a segue from the previous discussion to the one that we're going to have now. And I'm going to begin by saying what I've said probably every day to one audience or another in -- since I've been at USAID, and that is, as we look at the development landscape, we have to remember that no government agency, no civil society group, no international organization, no host government has a monopoly on financial or personal resources, on good ideas, on ground truth, or on moral authority. This is an area where we need to be working together for our common purpose of encouraging development around the world.
And I did want to pick up on the question of sustainable development and government-to-government exercises building host capacity. For those of you who are not aware, we're having a very extensive conference on Monday and Tuesday of next week where nongovernmental organizations, private contractors, et cetera, are coming to talk about the specific examples that they have had in building host country capacity in Egypt, Afghanistan, Namibia, Jamaica, Angola, Armenia, the Philippines, Nigeria, Ukraine, and Myanmar. And this is going to be a very exciting event. We're hoping that it not only highlights the areas of success but the areas where we're not doing so well.
And I also wanted to repeat the offer that I made at InterAction to their conference about two months ago, which was that we are prepared -- and Sam has taken us up on this -- to sit down on a regular basis with our NGO partners, our private contractor partners to discuss the procurement reform efforts, to put together a common understanding of where we're going in the development space, recognizing that we're all facing a new world out there, to look at where our procedures, as good as they might be in intention, are actually not having the effect that they're supposed to, and to ensure that there's full transparency in implementing the program. And so I want to reiterate that offer. We do it on an informal basis quite frequently, but we wanted to see whether a formalization of that process, including through the ACVFA, will help us.
As we look at who our partners are, this panel is talking about, in particular, where the good ideas come from, where the new technology is coming from, the innovation, et cetera. And I wanted to start out by just citing one set of cases that are particularly intriguing for me. A group of students in New York and a group of students in Bangladesh, instead of playing a computer game with each other, said, "Why don't we try to figure out how to get arsenic out of drinking water in Bangladesh?" And they had studied, you know, the effects of arsenic on child development all around the world, recognized how serious it was, and they decided to take, in effect, as a country project, how to practically do this. And they developed a technique that is now potentially going to be saving tens of thousands of lives by having iron and arsenic in water chemically combined, allowing water to emerge at the bottom of a pail.
Some kids at UCLA, which is my alma mater, as well as throughout the west coast said, "It is ridiculous that we take sometimes days to identify through a blood test who has malaria." And so they developed a lens that you can put on an average cellphone, and all you have to do is do the smear, look at it, take a picture of it, send it off to someone in a remote site who can, in the space of minutes, report back whether you have malaria or not.
There's a young girl, 17 years old, in Pennsylvania who was reading about landmines and the difficulty of identifying where they are. And she actually started when she was 14 and said, "This shouldn't be that tough." She came up with a system for remote sensing that I don't even understand, and I was the president's advisor for finding landmines. And it's going to work.
This is the kind of innovation that we have out there. This is the kind of excitement. And we at AID feel it every day. Sixty percent of our foreign staff have been on the job at USAID less than three years. They're coming to AID with excitement, innovation, new ideas, and they are revitalizing how we're doing development. We are trying to pick up on their innovation but also reaching out to our private sector partners, to our partners on university campuses, to our partners in the nongovernmental organization area, to our partners in the for-profit sector. And what we're saying is, "We have a variety of new tools that we're going to be using to bring your ideas into our system."
One of them is called the Development Innovations Ventures. Another is the Grand Challenges, and we had the pleasure of launching one of those today -- or earlier this week, revitalizing the use of energy in agricultural production. And there's one more technique that we're adopting, and that is reaching out to universities around the country to get their professors, their research institutes, their students, and having them reach out into broader communities to put together consortiums to address these issues. And the person who's driving that process is with us today, the chief scientist at USAID. And we've asked Alex Dehgan to talk a bit about that process. Alex.
ALEX DEHGAN: Thank you very much. I'd like to thank the members of the ACVFA board for your service. I'd like to thank the distinguished members in the audience for coming here today. I'm going to talk about just a quick overview of how we're thinking through the issues. And fundamentally, I think we all recognize -- I'm sort of facing the "no smoking" sign. That seems to be my primary audience, but I'll try to rotate around like a sprinkler.
But the basic idea is that development is fundamentally changing. You know, we've moved from a group or a handful of development agencies and multilateral institutions that sort of sorted out, "These are the problems, and these are the solutions," to many new actors. At the same time, we see a whole new set of transnational challenges that are no longer restricted to any single country, that are no longer respecting of political borders. And those are pandemics and environmental threats and challenges to water and shifts in climate change and human trafficking that we see emerging around the world. And new challenges as people move to different economic levels. I mean, what will happen when 700 million people in India who make less than $2 a day want air conditioning? What is the materials impact, the energy impact on that, on the world?
There's also some great new opportunities in terms of science and technology and engineering, and these things are fundamentally changing. There is a vast democratization of science. I mean, to say that the cell -- smartphone that you have in your hand is more technology that President Clinton had at the beginning of his administration and access to more data than has ever been known in human lifespans, in the lifespan of our species, is incredible.
There is an approach toward collaboration that is moving to how we actually solve many of these problems. And then, probably most importantly is the ability of all of us to be networked together, the communication technologies that not only serve as platforms for delivering information but as sensors for being able to take it in from all corners of the world.
And just one statistic -- or two statistics just to think about, you think about genetics and the human genome, and that took us 13 years and $2.8 billion to sequence the genome of a single species, our own. And now there are California companies that can do that in the course of a day for less than $1,000. You look at cellphones, and it took 20 years for the first 100 million cell phones to be spread in Africa, but to get to 300 million took three more years, and we're up around 600 million cellphones around the world. These are opportunities for us to take in.
And there has been sort of this growth of new approaches, like design thinking that I think we'll hear from Cameron, of open innovation and collaboration.
So, taking this into respect, we've developed sort of a new approach that is looking at -- at sort of five different areas, of, "How do we fundamentally use data?" And to better understand the problems, to use science and technology to characterize those problems, particular geospatial data, and we've set up a geo center within USAID that can look at the context in which problems happen, right, because problems don't happen by themselves. TB happens because -- and it is solved because there are government health clinics, there are roads, there are different population densities, there are different climatic variations. And we need to think about those things when we're making our development investments, and, more importantly, how those things are going to change in the future, how urbanization patterns are going to change in the future.
Second has -- and the data is something that we are just -- it's an amazing potential. The amount of data in the world doubles every two years. And how do we actually make use of these different streams of data to understand what the impacts are going to be? Open innovation is an area we've moved into. We launched the Grand Challenges for development. We have the DIV [Development Innovation Ventures]; we have prizes. Powering agriculture was the challenge we just launched this week. Transformational research that we can do in collaboration with other countries around the world, and this has been a partnership of the National Science Foundation, and leveraging universities and federal science agencies, and then finally building internal science capacity within the Agency has been critical to what we're trying to do. And USAID, this year, just implemented the first scientific integrity policy.
One of the most exciting things, I think, and sort of the last thing I want to talk about is -- as we're thinking about how we leverage federal science agencies, we've also been thinking about universities and the opportunities they present. How do we harness the incredible energy that is among university campuses? How do we actually harness the investments that faculty have made over a lifetime in studying particular questions?
And we launched something called an RFA that's underway called the Higher Education Solutions Network. To get universities to help us get data and analysis for development, solution analysis centers that allow us to test, incubate, and scale new technologies or help us better understand, “What cook stove do you use and where, and why?” Right?
And then finally, engaging in new multi-disciplinary approaches that get the global health person working if the engineer working, if the anthropologist working with a sociologist. And in particular, to incubate and bring in students into the development process, so Peace Corps is not the only way that people have as an opportunity to engage. And we as an agency can engage in that capacity.
What's really cool is we saw a robust response; one that's almost killing us, because we got 500 applications from 49 different states and 36 different countries around the world that sought -- and for each of those universities, they were limited in how many applications they had. We're now hearing that they had sometimes 15 to 20 applications within university and internal competitions, so we're looking forward to selecting a cross-section of what will be propulsion-type laboratories for development, and we're really excited about this.
JACK LESLIE: Great. Thanks very much Alex. By the way, what was the one state that didn't submit?
ALEX DEHGAN: Alaska.
JACK LESLIE: Alaska. Oh my God; if there's anyone here from Alaska -- though, is the RFA closed at this point?
ALEX DEHGAN: The RFA is closed.
JACK LESLIE: We can't get them in?
ALEX DEHGAN: The first round deadline already passed.
JACK LESLIE: The first round, okay. Thanks very much. Well, so the first theme that we wanted to talk about is promoting innovation, and I guess there's probably no better organization, I would suppose, than Google to talk about that. So, Megan Smith is here; she's the vice-president of New Business Development at Google, and I thought maybe you could kick that discussion off?
MEGAN SMITH: Sure, thanks. I think -- one of the things I would shift is maybe instead of saying innovation, I would say innovators. Because I think that one of the important things is about who is doing it, and it's a fundamental Silicon Valley principal, and I think sometimes I had the chance to lead Google.org for a couple of years as we transitioned to add more engineering and Google Crisis Response, and Google For Non-Profits, and some of those to get more tech involved with ourselves, and those programs -- one of my observations was that a lot of times there were programs that were doing extraordinary things, but we often weren't monitoring or participating with who was doing them, and that was really a foreign concept to me as sort of a Silicon Valleyite transplant from Buffalo.
I think, you know, you would never fund Twitter if you didn't know Jack and Evan and Biz. Like, you don't fund the thing without the "who"; you don't fund Google randomly, or this idea of a search engine, you fund Larry and Sergey, and they build a team and you go from there.
And so, I think that one of the things that is really important in innovation is to remember who, and often when we go to museums or when we experience innovation in our amazing cellphones, there's a who behind this, there's a set of whos; there are teams. And so we feel the effects of amazing things that are invented, but we forget that the actual process to get there is about teams of people doing things that most people thought they were crazy to do.
I have two boys, and we've been watching the American Hero series, so we were just watching Alexander Graham Bell, who was doing a multi-channel telegraph, and he had this investor, and he had to convince him that voice would actually be useful. And so you think back, like, you think -- of course, this has always been here, but it hasn't. We were just up at Niagara Falls. Nikola Tesla had the crazy idea to use alternating current, and maybe we could light Buffalo as our demo, you know. And they took the power of the falls, and they lit the city and modern electrification is born.
So the "who" really matters. And sometimes I think that we might want to consider ourselves when we're working on innovation, and I really applaud the Agency, because I see you guys shifting in a big way into this mode. The grand challenges are like this, the university outreach, connecting universities around the world to each other, because they're great anchor points within all the countries, it -- fabulous work.
And interestingly, just to touch on -- stay on the university point for a minute; the students are so hungry for this, your applications are a great example. These students have been wired since they, you know, our kids -- all of everybody here: whose kids know how to use the technology better than them? Yes. You agree? Yes, okay. You know, it just -- you know, technology's what's invented after you're born, so if it's already there when you're born, you just think that's how it's always been.
I was in -- I’m on the board at MIT, and I worked into the Sloan School, MBA School about two weeks ago, and I saw the entire walls are painted with -- it says, “Active Learning”, and it's every program that you can go into the world and do real work with an overlay of learning on top of it. My friend Anjali Sastry is teaching a global health course where the students are doing active projects in Indiana and Africa, and in the class, they have to blog every week about the programs and run a journal on what they're working on and their ideas with the NGOs they partner with. And they have to -- she has a list of the curriculum, but she doesn't decide the order; they just know that they have to cover it all. So the students have to email her two days before the lecture and say, “My project I need to know negotiations: this isn't working, here's the case of why in my actual project”, and then she teaches the overlay together with the development. And then at the end of the project, they survey the NGOs and say, “Did we help or did we hurt?” And then they learn from that and iterate back, and I’m noticing universities across the board doing that, so Alex, I think the idea of engaging extraordinary faculty members have looked at this stuff for years to get together with real world problems with academic overlay is a fabulous idea
I guess the second thing that I would sort of touch on is this idea of adjacency that you're already talking about, things that were never adjacent in history are completely adjacent now. The way to think about that is, at a minimum, you can text anyone you know if you have their address with almost every mobile phone in the world, and then the people who have it have email access, you can video conference, you can be in communication with teams anywhere in the planet at all times, if you want. If you abstract this adjacency to data, data is now adjacent in a way it never was before, Raj talks about, we can now look at all the projects, we can add who's doing that, we can add real-time monitoring, we can look at people in industry like [unintelligible] and others who know exactly what happened yesterday. All of a sudden, instead of these leading indicators that are months out can actually be much more real time; we can see maps, and we can share that publicly, and more people can participate with that.
One of my favorite adjacent data sets recently is -- we at Google have been scanning books to make sure that it's searchable, to be able to find the knowledge within books, not just web pages. And so now, all of the words that have ever been written are adjacent to each other, and an extraordinary group of engineers in Google and in Harvard and some other schools work together, and you can go into this search, and you can search for words, when did the New York Times wrote -- when did the word “women” start to be used in books, and you see, it goes on along, and then in the '60s and '70s it spikes. Looking for any word; when did this come into popular culture, what was the thematic things that happened in our history?
So think about all the aid data and development data that could be adjacent; Raj mentioned the mapping. The mapping that he was talking about is a tool that a Bengali engineer came up with called Mapmaker. All people do is take the satellite image on their phone or the computer, and just draw the lines in and label them. So, only 30 percent of the world is mapped, but now people around the world in a period of a couple months mapped their cities. There's a great animation on YouTube of the people of Lahore -- mapping Lahore in six months, goes from two lines to a city with millions of people. You know, you can see the airport and everything, the ambulances can get through, business can happen.
So, the thing about adjacency to think about is that the innovators are now infinitely available to each other in a way we have never seen. Talent is discoverable in a way we've never seen. There's a wonderful program from Carnegie Mellon and the University of Washington called Fold It. It's a protein folding game, so humans play with the proteins and fold them, and then the scientists synthesize them. The number one best protein folder on the planet that lives in Manchester, England -- she's an admin in the day, she's the world's best programming protein folder by night. And so you find these people by doing these things. What's interesting is that there are extraordinary HIV breakthroughs right now from that program, so we're seeing scientific discovery from crowdsourcing.
Kiva is now making a loan every 12 seconds this week. If you look on their site, $15 million moving, so that's a $75 million run rate and ramping, so loans going across. And if you want to see an animation of that, there's a cute animation called the Kiva Interballistic Missile Loan Giving that's up there.
So I'll leave you with that, with just the point that human ingenuity is infinite, and the answers to our problems are all over the world, and we just need to organize ourselves. And USAID is moving this way where we can crowdsource and be much more like angel investors for top ideas that are out in the world, and think of ourselves more like the venture capital folks who are out there and help the talent just flow. Thank you.
JACK LESLIE: Great. Thanks Megan. So human ingenuity, how do we tap into it, finding new partners? Very interested in hearing from Cameron Sinclair. Cameron is the executive director of Architecture for Humanity, which works all over the world to find innovative solutions, and in sustainable construction and in architecture, and is all, every day, in the business really finding partners, young architects, and so forth, to help find those solutions. So, talk to us a bit, Cameron, about your views on that.
CAMERON SINCLAIR: First of all, thank you, and I do apologize for -- both Megan and I have come from San Francisco, so they've blasted the air conditioning to make sure we feel like we're at home. That will be a fault machine a little later.
The one thing I wanted to first talk about is this huge untapped potential that we have. We have an incredible network, you know, when most of us were first introduced to computer technology, you know, it would have to marry a rotary phone to communicate with each other; now, this kind of really interconnected web, you have everyone from university students to, kind of, DIY tinkerers being able to work and collaborate together, and I think what we found -- certainly in some kind of humanitarian crisis most recently in Haiti that all the stakeholders, not just these kind of young, innovative, and creative thinkers, but non-profits and government agencies had to completely rethink the idea of, “How do you tap a resource?” An example of that is a huge number of students collaborating with locals in Haiti, actually remapped the country, we're talking about mapping, in a way that defined the economic strengths of informal settlements. Rather than taking, you know, a photograph and saying, “Well this is where the schools are, and this is where the police station is, so this is where it's safe and this is where people get educated”, but actually going to door to door and kind of rethinking the way it kind of -- informal economics are created, so that when you're moving from a post-disaster to an economic development angle, you actually understand that the history of the growth of that area. And that was really driven by students that had been there, and I think when we look at the challenges that have been set up by USAID and you're seeing this both from NGOs and from the corporate world of the idea of looking at these great complex problems and making them very tangible to students, you get this incredible outpouring response.
I kind of see the next generation -- the generation underneath me, as kind of this competitive compassion. Recently at an event, you know, there was a group of people that were either social entrepreneurs, for-profit companies, and non-profits, and when I started describing, you know, how non-profits can collaborate, I was cut short, and they said, “No, we're all full-purpose.”
And so, the idea that you have this huge vast number of highly educated and really talented people that want to dedicate their current focus to some of these development issues is incredible. And I spent a lot of time in the south after Katrina, so, you know, the term that resonates with me is “snake bit”. Once you get a student involved in one of these issues, they get snake bit; they can't go back. If they start looking at whether it's tackling HIV/AIDS, they may only do a project for a month, but that kind of latent potential will stay with them; they might go back and go into the corporate world, but they'll come back.
And so the two other things I want to talk about is the long tail of innovation. Hosting a number of challenges, we always focus on the winner or the kind of selected finalists. But what happens over that course of time after that competition, is you have a portfolio of ideas that end up being accessed and available to a huge number of people that can then be implemented, that have been challenges around, you know, access to education and sports with young girls that, 10 years later, the portfolio of solutions have been used for creating public space in Latin America, simply because adaptation of a really good idea can solve other complex issues. And so I think, you know, the idea of having these kind of micro-venture challenges are not just good for solving immediate needs, but also looking at the long-term effect of having this portfolio.
And then the last thing I wanted to talk about is the idea of the domestic agenda here. Is that, you know, science and technology is something that -- it's very near to the heart of a lot of U.S. citizens, and that when you're a young professional, and you get to cut your teeth on these young development issues, you get hooked. And I mean, I got hooked because of -- you know, getting involved in an international issue that made me fascinated with science and technology; so I think there's a second positive in this, is that you can also begin to have really creative networks of people not just looking at these international development issues, but from that experience begin to look domestically.
And then finally, one thing that USAID could really do is curate that conversation and not just look at ideas; there's been kind of meme that in crowdsourcing that all ideas are good. That's not true. All ideas are all ideas. Good ideas are great, and part of the role of having expertise on a panel that really understands these issues is to curate that conversation and to elevate some of those really incredible ideas to a stage of implementation, because unless you implement an idea, it doesn't matter, right? It's about making change, so the role at which USAID can play in convening stakeholders is to implement as many of these great ideas as possible, and then take those pilots to scale. And I think that's kind of that monitoring and evaluation of creating, kind of, innovative solutions is what's really going to be the strength, you know, in the year to come.
JACK LESLIE: Great. Thank you, Cameron. Well, we now have some time, again, for open discussion, and you don't have to confine it. If you had a thought from the earlier session, and you didn't get a chance to ask it, please feel free to do so now. And we'll open the microphone. Yes? Again, identify yourself if you would, and what organization you're from.
TONY YULE: Yup. My name is Tony Yule; I’m with Enterprise Works, which is a division of Relief International. And we've been talking about all this innovation, and I think it's wonderful. We recently developed a product via crowdsourcing, with a company that provided a prize. Some engineer in Germany came up with the idea for this rainwater collector. But the thing is that we're not really talking about are these services or products that can be provided on the ground. We had a price point that this rainwater collector had to be less than $50, and we had university professors email my supervisor and say, “This is impossible; we can't do this.” And yet some submarine engineer came up with the idea. So, and I was walking around, because we were at the conference at the convention center for the International Aid and Development Forum; I was seeing $50,000 water purification systems. Who's buying these?
I’m a recently returned Peace Corps volunteer, and I didn't meet a single person in two years that could have afforded most of the technologies that are being promoted. And so I’m kind of curious to see your guys' point of view, and that's why the crowdsourcing that you guys are talking about is so exciting, because we're getting students and organizations that don't have a profit margin they're trying to attain trying to come up with excellent ideas. And this, the rainwater collection thing that I talked with $50, so people that I lived with in West Africa could buy this, yet no one's going to buy a $50,000 water purification system.
And then one last thing is, my question is, where is Peace Corps in this discussion? Because with crowdsourcing, there are over 7,000 volunteers all over the world that know the language, know their village, know who to work with and who not work with, more importantly, that can be testing these ideas as that come out from the crowdsourcing. So I just want to get your thoughts on that.
JACK LESLIE: Great. Well, thank you. Don, do you want to comment on that, or have --
DON STEINBERG: Let me just respond just to two aspects of that. First of all, your point is entirely accurate about making sure it's cost-effective, and accessible, and the one area where we're doing this is in cook stoves. I think we all know that there's a challenge, because there's basically 2 million people die each year from respiratory illnesses, because of cooking inside. And in addition, in crisis situations forcing women to get -- leave refugee camps and go out and collect firewood, leads to sexual violence. It also is a situation where it's just completely inefficient, and it's environmentally a challenge. So we did do, with the secretary of state leading our effort, this international alliance for cook stoves. And we were, indeed, getting proposals that were, you know, $3,000 to create an energy-clean cook stove in a village. And so we did put a price point; we said $100. And, frankly, on most of the cook stoves that we are now supporting, the AID just made a purchase of tens of thousands of cook stoves for introduction into refugee camps in -- all around the world. They're costing $30. And we're showing that over the course of a two-year period, you recoup all of those costs in terms of energy reduction. So that is a very valid point.
On the Peace Corps question, absolutely, we are linked up, you know, hand-in-glove as an agency with the Peace Corps. We're helped by the fact that Aaron Williams knows AID probably better than most of the people at AID. And so it involves partnerships all around the world, and I can go through a dozen cases with you of where Peace Corps volunteers are not just the implementers of our programs on the ground, and especially in the area of technology, but they're planning the programs themselves, and they are giving us feedback into a wide variety of things we're doing. So both points are very well taken.
JACK LESLIE: Yes, Alex?
ALEX DEHGAN: I think you're absolutely right. And first, I just want to say thank you for your service in terms of your time in Peace Corps. In terms of frugal innovation, I think people sometimes mix that up with appropriate technology, and it's not actually the same thing. You can have world-class technology, world-class design that is made for tougher environmental conditions that you have in the west, that is made for people who are less familiar with the technology and, therefore, actually needs to be designed better. And that still achieves the same goal. And, in fact, one of the benefits of these type of technologies is they can help us reduce costs at home, where our health care costs are 10 times that of similar countries who have the same outputs in terms of their health care systems. These things not only will help the developing country, I think these types of investments will help us at home.
Two other elements I think are important are sustainability and scale, and high price points don't lead to be able to do that.
The other thing is, we're not just looking for technology innovations, but there are also, you know, through the DIV [Development Innovation Ventures], through the Grand Challenges, systems innovations. And how do actually use social entrepreneurship to find new ways of distributing water, or -- and ways that will actually endure beyond the length of our investments?
I think one of the most interesting things we've seen come out of the Grand Challenge, and, at least for me, perhaps a very surprising and positive result, is that 50 percent, now, of the ideas to the Grand Challenge are coming from the developing world, and I think that's how it should be.
JACK LESLIE: Any other thoughts or comments? Yes.
MALE SPEAKER: Thank you very much. This is really inspiring. I appreciated that. I'm working with Vlad Associates [spelled phonetically]. We do metrics on developing democracies. And I'm also a recent college graduate, so I'm a young gun in the room.
What I was wondering was, what are the types of metrics that you guys are most in need of in measuring, for instance, the democratization of the sciences or technology in the developing world? And I want to leave this kind of purposely open and vague. I mean, what kinds of information, analytics are you most in need of? What kind of data isn't there, even though it's expanding rapidly?
JACK LESLIE: Who wants to field that? Go ahead Cameron.
CAMERON SINCLAIR: I can just -- well, one of the things that I think is vitally needed -- you know, we're a kind of boots-on-the-ground organization. The one thing that really -- the disconnect we're seeing is kind of the lack of recipient-based reporting, is that those who are the recipient of development aid are the last people to actually get -- to report on the success and failure of it. You know, on a spreadsheet, it could look like a very successful program, but on the ground, if you're not getting that reporting back in an efficient way -- and, you know, the fact that we have geomapping and everyone has a cellphone means that there is no reason why we couldn't do that, you know, and so I think that we can take some of this current technology that's evolving, even in the last, you know, 24 months, and begin to have a much more nuanced reporting mechanism. When Raj talked at the beginning about the kind of 1.0 version of mapping and reporting, I think this is 2.0 or 3.0. It's like, "How do we make sure that all the stakeholders, from donor level all the way down to recipient, have a voice in understanding whether the success or failure of that program or product?"
JACK LESLIE: Sam?
SAM WORTHINGTON: It's a good question. There's an interesting experiment going out there which is bringing triple IE, the impact evaluation world, together with the participatory evaluation groups. And this dialogue that's happening, basically, between the NGO community, Rockefeller Foundations, a number of major universities, some engagement from USAID and the World Bank, on how do you bring metrics, in terms of the impact evaluation, a better sense of overall results from sort of third-party evaluation, but also link that to the ownership and participation of the individuals involved in development process itself? And resolving that tension is an interesting dialogue that's happening. A lot of it is involved in the monitoring evaluation working group that we're involved in. But there is a global dialogue trying to link these different types of metrics together.
JACK LESLIE: Megan.
MEGAN SMITH: Building on that, one of the things that we saw -- recently in Pakistan there's a group that is just using basic phone technology to take pictures and do surveys within clinics. Are the services happening? You know, sort of what's really going on on the ground, back to the two points that you guys have both made.
What's interesting also is that the people there are highly motivated to want to report. They want services to work, you know, having people report that the teacher was -- you know, arrived. That's very important to parents. That's very important. So making sure that as you're capturing the data; that the constituents who are receiving that are part of inputting the data; and communicating with you is important.
I'm part of a group that's called Silicon Valley Goes to the U.K., and every November a group of about 30 of us go and interact with the tech community in London and Oxford and in Cambridge. And this year the prime minister put out an app-a-thon call, because they had released a lot of new data onto data.gov.uk. And so one of the great apps that I saw that reminds me of this kind of idea was called eyeSore. And so the team -- this is a weekend hack app-a-thon. You would take a picture of some problem in your community, and then you would just put some information about it. What I loved about the second part of what they did was not just reporting, "Here, government, please fix this," but they created a second part, which was, "Anyone -- three groups could fix the problem." One was, you could fix the problem and get credit and take a picture of your team doing it. Two, a corporation could put some money to pay for that to happen or to help, and they could get some brand recognition. And third was, the government could do it, but they added a voting so the community could look at what they actually cared more or less about to be fixed, and so the government could use scarce resources better. And so thinking, again, this network effect and collecting the data, very useful.
JACK LESLIE: Don?
DON STEINBERG: Just as an example of new technology, Susan Reichle was just trying to communicate a message to me orally. I couldn't read her lips, so she sent me an email. And she wanted to talk about the Democracy and Governance Center. So please.
JACK LESIE: That's one way to get attention. Please, take the mic, Susan.
SUSAN REICHLE: Now that the air conditioning's on, I'll take the mic.
No, just -- your point is really well taken, because it's an area that we've recognized within development, but within USAID in particular, that we have not done as well as we really should have, and the measurement of the impact of our investment in these areas. So just about six months ago, we announced standing up the Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance Center, which is -- really, a core part of that is measuring not only performance, but really impact, and conducting impact evaluations to understand the different variables. So a core part of now what we're doing is really tied to that.
JACK LESLIE: Great. Any other -- yes? It'll come on as soon as you talk. It's miraculous. Just go ahead.
JONATHAN JACOBY: That's real-time feedback.
Hi, I'm Jonathan Jacoby with Oxfam America. I work in a private sector department, manage a team there. This is a tremendous display of brainpower, thinking about innovation this section, and then in the last session about reforms. So I'm going to pull us back a little bit to -- you said there's an open door for questions that relate to the last session. This is really about all of it. It's sort of a meta-question for me, which is, ACVFA has a long and distinguished history. It even predates USAID. It'll actually approach its two-thirds of a century birthday within -- around the time of the second inaugural, or the first inaugural, or let's just say January. So it's -- there's a moment for potential renewed mandate, I think, in particular because the president, excitingly, now has his own global development council as of February established to advise him, and that is under formation.
So the question is then, you know, how does ACVFA see its role given the set of players that need to be around the table, and you represent that in this new moment, especially in light of this new council at the White House level?
JACK LESLIE: Great question. And we are going to appoint you, by the way, the official historian of ACVFA; because I think you probably just informed all of us of things, at least, that I didn't know as the new chairman. I'll take one stab at it, and then I'd love other people to talk. We're actually going to, after this public meeting adjourns, we're going to have lunch across the way and discuss this very topic, because each -- each kind of new group of ACVFA, I think, has seen their roles in slightly different ways. As you know, apparently better that I do, the original intent, really, was to provide an advisory forum, really, for, overall, originally, for foreign assistance and now really to USAID. And I think, historically, it's been, you know, real representative, primarily, of the NGO kind of community and civil society. It's becoming more expanded with people like myself and some others who are from the private sector as well. And, in fact, I think the intent is to really have a full sort of, if you will, integrated look at all of the different actors who are interested in development to provide assistance and advice. And that's kind of what you're hearing today, and it's a forum to, obviously, to get advice from the public, which is what we're doing.
One of the things we'll talk about this afternoon and I think is given kind of, as you put it, the brainpower that you see here, but also the important groups that each of the people at the table represent, is a real opportunity for advocacy. And Raj mentioned at the end of his remarks, of course, the challenge that we're now facing in an age of fewer resources of, you know, how we're going to go forward and meet that challenge. And so I think, you know, pulling ourselves together in advocacy for foreign assistance is real important. That hasn't necessarily been the first of the objectives of ACVFA, but I'd like to start to get us moving more in that direction, and we're going to talk about more of that this afternoon. We have had different committees addressing many of the things that we talked about today that meet. For example, this latest discussion, there was a committee that has been following and dealing with this whole issue of how we're working with universities and so forth. And we'll talk, too, about how we want to organize ourselves going forward. But we're open to any advice from any of you.
Does anyone else on the --
CHARITO KRUVANT: I have a -- and it might be an old-fashioned comment, and you're welcome to boo me. But I -- I am an American by choice. I was not privileged enough to have been born here. So every day I'm here, I'm so thankful for democracy, and I'm so thankful for the opportunity, as a woman and as a minority, to have a job. And so I see my role, first of all, to make America successful, and I do think that America, through AID, has probably the best opportunity to do that. And so I'm very cognizant of -- not only of myself but all people like me and taxpayers monies that are totally committed to our success in the United States, but really knowing that our success comes by making the world a better world.
But it's not a toy. If you make the wrong choices, people might die. If Google -- if I sent that information, then somebody that wants to kill somebody else might use it. Somebody might die. So I'm delighted with innovation. I'm delighted to be able to work through this whole thing together, but I'm so cognizant that we, right now, have the great and awesome opportunity to take these things seriously. And while we're just so delighted that the world is now the citizens of the world, I think our responsibility as ACVFA is to be responding as citizens of the United States to a better world.
JACK LESLIE: Thanks, Charito. Yes, Megan?
MEGAN SMITH: Two things. Thank you for that. The first one is about cross-functional teams, of which I've had the privilege to work on just extraordinary innovations throughout my career. And one of the things I wanted to point out to us in this room is just a quick survey. How many people in this room have a computer science skill where you could make the front end of a product, like what we see, or the back end database of the product that we see?
Okay. How many people in this room have an engineering skill where they can build or make something? I have an engineering degree in mechanical engineering, but I haven't worked in a long time, so I will probably -- I could sort of make something, but not really. Yes? No?
So this was my experience from doing Google.org, was that the most important thing for us to do is get the engineers in a room. And the thing that's so important is not -- exactly to what you just said -- is not that the engineers should do it or that we, the development -- sort of more of our background should do it. It's that we need to do it together. And if you don't talk to them about the privacy issues or the -- they don't know. And if they don't talk to you about how we could solve for that problem, you don't know it's solvable, or at least, you know, nothing is perfect, but you can get close. And so it's in that conversation that the most extraordinary things, design thinking happen. And so I think one of my calls to action is more computer scientists in this room, more of us in their rooms would help a lot.
And then the second thing I was thinking about is the tagline or the line for USAID is, "Aid from the American people." And we were privileged that you came, not that you were not foreign here. The American people are so talented and have big hearts, and so I think we could think differently about AID. It really may not be about the money. It might be all about how we do things. I'll give you an example of a little vignette from Google. You know, the financial crisis happened; we had to cut half a billion dollars from our budget. And so we could have had some people in a room do that. Instead, the put out a kind of a tool, using Google Moderator, and people just suggested ideas. So we found 2- or $300 million worth of ideas by just asking. We cut the budget. We really didn't have to change what we were doing significantly. And everybody was participating, so they felt better about the cuts. I suggested this to MIT, because I'm on their board, like I said, and they did this thing called the MIT Idea Bank, because they had lost a third of their endowment, and the same thing happened for them. It made it a much less rough process in going through that change. So, you know, yet again another idea of crowdsource.
So I guess my thought is, how do we bring to the volunteer point the talent of Americans and the talent of the world together into a global network to act on all our problems so that we can reach Professor Eunice's [spelled phonetically] vision of the poverty museum in 2030, which is the only place you see poverty, is in the museum? Thanks.
JACK LESLIE: Katie?
KATIE TAYLOR: I'd like to --
JACK LESLIE: It'll come on.
KATIE TAYLOR: I'd like to pull together a couple of themes that I've heard in this session and the previous one, but first I want to echo what Charito said. I was born outside of the United States. I've lived outside of the U.S. 30 years of my life. And every time I come back, I'm just so very thankful. I don't think -- I think a lot of Americans don't know quite how lucky we are. So if I'm here on this panel, it's because I want to try and help make a difference. So just a personal statement.
I want to go back to the theme of volunteerism. So I work with faith communities across all religious traditions, and if there's one thing that is a hallmark of faith communities, it's volunteers. One of the issues we've been wrestling with is volunteers are wonderful. They are terrific. We adore them. And they will go and do lots of different things. Sometimes they don't always know what are the key things that will have the biggest impact? That's why yesterday we launched these top ten behaviors on child survival as a global, multi-religious pledge on what people can do, not the expensive stuff. It's not the $50,000 water coolers, it's things that might be free, like breastfeeding your baby, or might cost a little bit, like an insecticide-treated mosquito net that's going for $3.
But -- so two aspects of harnessing volunteerism: One is can you focus folks on the right things? The ones -- not the right things; that's the wrong expression -- things that will have the greatest impact. For purpose. You mentioned that we're all for purpose, Cameron, and I think volunteers, by definition, are all about purpose. But can you point them in a direction that will align them together to make the biggest difference?
The other thing that I see in faith communities is that many faith communities -- I'm going to make a sweeping generalization here -- are not natural technology adepts, and so there is a huge opportunity, I believe, to try and figure something really creative that would harness the faith effect around multi-religious engagement on these issues. So I pose that as an open question and challenge to everyone here. Would love your thoughts.
JACK LESLIE: Great. I’m kind of am getting the signal from the back of the room. Any other thoughts before we go to some closing remarks? Last chance to ask a question or make a comment. Yes, a real quick on, Paul, or I'll get in trouble.
PAUL EHMER: Something you said just reminded me. This morning we were talking about – and Administrator Shah was sitting up there -- and we were talking about doing a better job, AID, bringing things locally, coordinating all people together and so forth, and the difficult economic environment we're in so that there's going to be less money, maybe, from AID, maybe from the developing world. I attended a talk that Larry Summers gave about a month ago, and it was actually very interesting. He was focusing on the changing environment as well, economically, and he was talking about the BRICs. And, you know, it's one of the things that actually maybe ACVFA and USAID needs to do some more of, is that AID may not any longer -- AID is still going to provide leadership, and AID has a lot of experience to provide that leadership. AID should be engaging with Brazil and India and China and Russia, because they're all starting aid programs, and they haven't done this in the past, and this would be something that could be actually a very useful coordination between -- with the leader -- with AID and the experience that we have in helping to mold the aid programs of these other countries.
JACK LESLIE: That's a great point, Paul.
Let me -- I'm going to turn it over to Don to make some closing remarks. Let me just thank all of you for coming and thank the committee for all of their comments. We covered, I think -- in only a few hours, we covered a lot of ground, and I think a testament, again, to the great work of USAID and the challenges that we've got going forward. So, Don, would you like to wrap things up for us?
DON STEINBERG: Sure. And I want to do three things. First of all, to respond to the last question, it's a fabulous idea; we're doing it. Yesterday in the U.S.-India dialogue posted by the secretary of state, we highlighted what we're doing with India to bring food security to Africa, what we're doing with India to bring electrical systems, we being the oldest democracy on earth, they being the largest democracy on earth, to countries all around the world. With Brazil, we're working in Lusophone African countries together to create institutions, to build food security, to [inaudible].
China -- we are delighted that we finally have brought them into the international aid architecture. As you know, they took part in Busan. They actually signed the outcome document out of Busan. We're also helping them, as we are with Russia, put together aid agencies. Right now in China it's being done out of their commerce ministry. There's a new idea in Russia to put together Rus-Aid [spelled phonetically], and we are working with them. So absolutely great idea. We're on that.
I wanted to pick up on what Cameron was talking about very briefly when he was talking about taking these ideas to scale, because, to me, that is one of the key challenges we're facing. And I'll just give one example of an area where we're having some problems.
We have instituted what we call a Safe Schools Initiative in a number of African countries where we have gone in and identified the reasons that young girls are not attending schools at the same percentages that boys are. And we've identified, very clearly, that they are often abused by professors or other students, that if they're having their periods they don't go to schools, because the bathrooms are inadequate. If they're pregnant, they usually just drop out. And in many, many cases, they have to go two, three, four miles every day and risk sexual violence during that process.
And so what we've done around Africa is to go into Liberia or Malawi or Mozambique and set up, in effect, pilot programs where 100 schools now are safe, and we have given, you know, students cellphones so that they can report on professors. We have built dormitories around Africa, et cetera. But it's not about 100 safe schools in Liberia; it's about 100,000 safe schools all over Africa. And this is a challenge that we're facing, because it's a question -- I know what we're talking about isn't always a question of financial resources, but it often is. It is also a challenge of bringing the private sector, our traditional aid donor actors, international financial institutions into this process. And so even as we're thinking about how we bring science, technology, and innovation to the development effort, we also need to think more innovatively about how we take these programs to scale.
I wanted to just pick up on one last point and to speak actually very personally on this. I was Bill Clinton's advisor for Africa at the time of the Rwandan genocide, and it was a traumatizing experience for all of us to be unable to react quickly enough to affect a genocide that killed 800,000 people. We learned very late in the process that there were radio broadcasts calling -- through radio mill colleen [spelled phonetically] -- calling on Hutus to kill Tutsis. We learned very late about the distribution of machete all around the community. We learned very late about the hate speeches that were being given. And we are scarred by that effort. And it’s a number of people in this administration who are all part of that effort and fundamentally scarred for the rest of our lives. I'm not asking for sympathy. There were 800,000 people who actually gave up their lives during that process. But what we responded with, under the Obama Administration, was the adoption of a formal policy making atrocity prevention a top goal of American foreign policy. We have formulated an atrocities prevention board, and AID is taking the lead on a tech challenge for atrocity prevention. And we've linked up with Humanity United and a variety of very smart people, and we're going in and saying, "Okay, how can we do voice recognition such that in a country like Cote d'Ivoire" -- and we frankly did this in Cote d'Ivoire a few years ago when there was a fear of mass atrocities -- how can we do voice recognition so that we pick out words from speeches that are being given to say, "Oh, my god, they're inciting the killing of others"?
How can we get information from the International Financial Institution to know when we're seeing the financing and arming and coordination and other efforts to draw atrocity perpetrators together, because you don't kill 800,000 people just without a plan and without financial resources. How do we aggregate early warning data across different streams and make that data useful and intelligible to agencies so that we can do prevention efforts, other efforts to draw atrocity perpetrators together because you don't kill 800,000 people just without a plan and without financial resources.
How do we aggregate early warning data across different strains and make that data useful and intelligible to agencies so that we can do prevention efforts. This is a tech challenge that will produce results within about four months and I truly believe that this is one of those examples where technology is going to change how we do business abroad and it's going to prevent the next genocide from occurring. And so if you talk about the real impact of technology, this is where it's at.
JACK LESLIE: Well thank you all again, and the meeting's adjourned thanks for coming.
This is to certify that the attached proceedings of the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid at Georgetown University, 37th and O Street, NW, Washington, D.C., on June 15, 2012 were held as herein appears, and that this is the original transcription thereof for the file of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Last updated: July 03, 2012