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In 2011, the Arab Spring created a wave of popular movements that swept away a number of autocratic regimes with potentially far-reaching consequences. The world has not witnessed such historical changes since the collapse of the Soviet Union over 20 years ago.
USAID supports U.S. foreign policy objectives by helping local partners advance peace and democracy in priority countries in crisis. Seizing critical windows of opportunity, USAID works on the ground to provide fast, flexible, short-term assistance targeted at key political transition and stabilization needs. USAID’s work in political transitions supports economic, social, and political development, and helps protect development gains from being rolled back by disasters and conflict. We are guided by a number of strategic principles that have proven especially important for working in transition environments.
These include the need for USAID to be:
- Fast - USAID's political transition programs are conducted with a sense of urgency, much like emergency response efforts after a natural disaster.
- Flexible - USAID makes incremental commitments for ongoing country programs, leaving room for unanticipated contingencies, both in existing country programs and for as yet unknown new ones.
- Political - the overriding goal is to advance peaceful, democratic change, helping to promote political transformation that will lead to increased stability and prosperity.
- Targeted - USAID's programs are individually designed to address a country's most pressing transition needs, focusing attention on the "make-or-break" issues that will decide the country's future.
- Tangible - USAID supports projects that create and publicize tangible transition dividends in order to sustain the momentum for positive change.
- Short-term - USAID political transition programs generally limit their involvement to the initial period of uncertainty, in which its expertise, speed and flexibility provide a comparative advantage.
- Field-focused - USAID senior management recognizes that in order to implement programs in fluid political settings and respond to fleeting windows of opportunity, field-based staff require a high degree of autonomy and independence.
In this short video, Diego Bustamante talks about his experience working as a counterpart with USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI).
Our commitment to fostering democracy and human rights promotes and reflects core American values. In all programs, we aim to empower the most vulnerable groups and marginalized populations by giving them a voice on local and national-level issues.
Last updated: May 17, 2013
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