Local Works


Quick Facts

Managed by

USAID Office of Local Sustainability (E3/LS)

Launched in


Local Works Missions:

Round 4
FY 2018:
Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kenya, Kosovo, Nepal, Paraguay, Timor-Leste, and Zimbabwe

Round 3
FY 2017: Armenia, Bangladesh, Burma, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Uganda, West Africa Regional

Round 2
FY 2016: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Philippines

Round 1
FY 2015: Malawi, Morocco, Serbia, Vietnam

Discretionary Funds

Local Works’ five-year funds may be used in any sector and need not necessarily align with a Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS).

Local Works is now accepting Letters of Interest from USAID Missions until May 6, 2020. See the guidance below.

Local Works Guidance

View the complete list of Local Works frequently asked questions, or listen to the webinar recording.

Upcoming Webinars
Q&A Conference Calls  
Thursday, April 9, 8am and 2pm EDT

USAID’s Office of Local Sustainability (E3/LS) manages Local Works, a unique program designed to advance locally led development and enhance the Agency’s ability to empower local actors to take the lead in addressing their own development challenges.

USAID is committed to helping its partner countries achieve self-reliance and ensuring that U.S. taxpayer investments produce sustainable, long-term development outcomes. Local ownership of the development process is key to achieving these objectives.

Local Works provides USAID Missions with resources, tools, and opportunities to try new development approaches that are more flexible, locally responsive, and sustainable. Five-year discretionary funds available through Local Works provide Missions more time and greater freedom to pursue locally owned programming and innovative operational approaches.

Learning how to support local ownership and self-reliance contributes toward USAID’s vision of ending the need for foreign assistance.

Read a summary of the inaugural Local Works global workshop held in Manila, Philippines, in April 2019.

Local Works is now accepting Letters of Interest from USAID Missions until May 6, 2020.


Learning Priorities

Drawing on the past four rounds of Local Works, global research, and experience from across the Agency, USAID has identified several key areas that help advance locally led development.

Acquisition and assistance, including new paths to partnership that support local ownership, such as co-creation workshops, donor exit strategies, piloting innovative approaches, and experimenting with new funding approaches that empower local partners to lead the development process.

Feedback mechanisms, which enable information to flow between local constituents, development partners, and USAID to improve engagement and program effectiveness, return on investment and sustainability, and accountability to local stakeholders and U.S. taxpayers.

Local Works
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Systems- and networks-based analytical approaches, allowing USAID and its partners to better understand the complex environments in which they operate, the role each plays (or should play) in those systems - and ultimately the development challenge at hand and how that can be overcome through local systems and by local actors.

Participatory decision-making, including priority-setting, collaborative design, and other means of devolving control from USAID to local development actors, and ensuring inclusive local leadership.

Mobilizing local resources, including community philanthropy; partnerships that leverage resources from local private sector, faith-based organizations, government, civil society, and academia; and other sources of local skills and finances to replace those of international donors.

Strengthening local networks, including expanding the capacity of local organizations that support networks of other local organizations and cooperatives, market facilitation, and other demand-driven approaches to connecting local needs with local resources.

Flexibility in USAID mission operations, including approaches that emphasize experimentation and innovation in overcoming internal constraints while providing critical learning opportunities to build USAID and local partner capacities.

Supporting strategic transitions, including strengthening the abilities of local institutions and actors to sustain outcomes, mobilize resources, and address challenges, with an eye toward ending the need for foreign assistance. 

Local Works Mission Examples


The influx of nearly one million refugees resulting from the Rohingya humanitarian crisis into already impoverished communities in Cox’s Bazar has led to a complex emergency that has depleted environmental resources inside and outside of refugee camps. Through co-development of context-specific interventions with local actors, USAID will support communities impacted by this crisis to sustainably rehabilitate natural resources and cultivate alternative livelihoods. 

Dominican Republic 

USAID aims to improve livelihoods along the Dominican/Haitian border, an area with much higher poverty than the rest of the country. By strengthening local organizations, programming seeks to reduce the crime and illicit activities that drive violence, instability, and other security threats that impact the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and the United States. This process is informed and led by local actors, and USAID/Dominican Republic is also linking local networks to national-level decision-makers. This locally led approach will guide future USAID programming and other donors interested in finding sustainable solutions to development challenges along the border region.


USAID has conducted extensive listening sessions and partnered with Malawian research firms to better understand the roles of traditional authorities and religious community leaders. With this knowledge, USAID has been “co-creating” with local organizations to jointly develop innovative and locally driven approaches that will strengthen local leadership and ownership - and build the capacity of local organizations to solve development challenges. 


In the wake of the Arab Spring and promulgation of a new constitution, USAID is investing in Moroccan organizations to advocate on behalf of Moroccan citizens, including women, youth, and disabled populations. USAID has partnered with five respected local organizations that are collaborating with and mentoring hundreds of other organizations, associations, and local officials to deliver results long after donor funding ends.


USAID and local partners in Serbia are increasing community philanthropy to solve development problems. Headed by the Prime Minister and established through the Local Works Framework for Giving activity, the Philanthropy Council declared October 9 as Serbia’s National Day of Giving. The Council, comprised of members of civil society, the private sector, and government, has created working groups to tackle different aspects of the enabling environment for giving, i.e. by seeking to increase the non-taxable amount for education scholarships.

*In Section 7080 of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (P.L. 113-235), localworks replaces the Development Grants Program and is referred to as the Small Grants Program.

For more information about the Local Works Program, please contact localworks@usaid.govTo learn more about our other programs, visit the Office of Local Sustainability's webpage.

Last updated: March 25, 2020

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