USAID’s focus on DEIA and inclusive development preceded the publication of E.O. 13985. Since January 2021, USAID has made progress toward integrating equity into its policies and practices and facilitating the diversification of its partner base.

  1. The Office of the Chief DEIA Officer and DEIA Strategic Plan: USAID has made DEIA an Agency Priority by establishing the Office of the Chief DEIA Officer (A/DEIA) within the Office of the Administrator. A/DEIA manages initiatives throughout USAID and ensures consistent progress continues on the implementation of the 2022 DEIA Strategic Plan and Equity Action Plan.
  2. USAID DEIA Strategic Plan: Administrator Power signed USAID’s 2021 DEIA Strategic Plan on her first day as Administrator in May 2021. To support advancement toward DEIA goals and objectives in the Strategic Plan, USAID has four core DEIA Working Groups consisting of more than 80 volunteer staff.
  3. Equity Assessments: To support the release of the updated DEIA Strategic Plan, USAID conducted two equity assessments—one looking at the Agency’s workforce and another looking at USAID programs. These helped the Agency identify DEIA and inclusive development priorities moving forward.
  4. Reorganized Office of Civil Rights: USAID reorganized the Office of Civil Rights, establishing two new divisions to help advance DEIA objectives and more robustly implement the Agency's Equal Employment Opportunity responsibilities, specifically the Affirmative Employment and Disability Employment Divisions.
  5. Respectful, Inclusive, and Safe Environments (RISE) Learning and Engagement Platform: USAID is piloting a new, six-month RISE Inclusive Leadership Seminar with 40 leaders from across the Agency focused on moving leaders from listening to action on DEIA-related challenges. USAID has implemented a mandatory DEIA component in USAID’s New Field Leaders Seminar, which is a requirement for all new Mission Directors and Deputy Mission Directors. In 2021, more than 3,000 discrete USAID staff participated in the 304 RISE training sessions, seminars, and events offered that year. This number includes more than 360 senior leaders and nearly half of all USAID leaders posted overseas. The platform trains approximately 250 people a week and continues to expand.
  6. Hiring of Diverse Candidates: USAID uses different hiring methods for the Foreign Service (FS) and Civil Service (CS) to attract diverse candidates. For FS, the hiring process uses subject matter experts (SMEs) to review applications and conduct structured interviews. All hiring actions use expert Foreign Service Office panels approved by HCTM.
  7. Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) Development Conferences: By increasing partnerships with HBCUs, USAID has the opportunity to engage underrepresented students in hiring pipelines and underrepresented faculty in development and research projects. Researchers examined the barriers that limit USAID funding to HBCUs and explored internationalization efforts HBCUs have undertaken to enhance their eligibility for USAID funding. The study yielded several insights into the barriers to partnering that both HBCU faculty and staff as well as USAID staff faced and concluded with six recommendations for USAID.
  8. Minority-Serving Institution (MSI) Partnership Initiative: USAID partners with MSIs, which include HBCUs, HSIs, Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs) to enhance the Agency’s pipeline of diverse talent. The Agency has established Memoranda of Understanding with four MSIs: Delaware State University, Tuskegee University, Morehouse College, Florida International University, and Alcorn State University.
  9. Policy Update: USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning (PPL) developed policy updates in August 2021, including one titled “Promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in USAID Programming.” This policy update acknowledges the urgency of addressing DEIA through an Agency-wide approach and focuses on USAID’s objectives and methods to address marginalization, increase inclusion, and foster diversity through its global programming by utilizing an inclusive development approach. This is not policy guidance intended to require shifts in programming or strategies; rather it reiterates the Agency’s commitment and current standing guidance on Inclusive Development. The forthcoming June 2022 USAID Policy Framework will provide new policy guidance, as needed, in addition to existing requirements.
  10. Updated New Partnerships Initiative (NPI) Action Plans: USAID’s Administrator released updated guidance in October 2021 for the Agency’s NPI Action Plans that incorporates guidance from E.O. 13985. NPI Partnership Approaches are critical to diversifying the Agency’s implementing partners, expanding engagement with local partners, and working with traditional partners in new ways to strengthen local capacity. This year, Missions/Operating Units (M/OUs) must also specifically outline plans for enhancing equity and inclusion through acquisition and assistance practices and activity implementation abroad.
  11. Updated Annual Reporting: USAID collaborated with the State Department in June 2021 to add a key issue on racial equity to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Operational Plan (OP) and Performance Plan and Report (PPR). USAID will use the data collected from the key issue, along with other key issues on gender, youth, disability, LGBTQI+, and religious minorities, to better establish a baseline for investment in DEIA programming, have a more informed approach when allocating resources to advance racial equity, promote equitable delivery of government benefits, and support local organizations that advocate for equity for historically underserved or marginalized racial and ethnic groups, along with other local initiatives.
  12. The Executive Diversity Council (EDC): USAID established this Council to bring senior leadership together to improve diversity and inclusiveness, identify resources to address issues, and create a vibrant workforce where each employee is able to realize their full potential. The EDC has brought executive leadership from across USAID’s Missions, Bureaus, and Independent Offices together to help establish diversity as an intrinsic part of USAID’s culture.
  13. WorkwithUSAID Website: USAID launched the platform, a free online resource hub built to empower new and existing partners with the knowledge and networks to navigate how to work with USAID.

Key DEIA Documents