Simplified Program Description

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In this video we are going to review the Simplified Program Description USAID is implementing because it is key to push towards greater localization and more flexible and responsive awards.

 

Video Transcript 
Hello, my name is Mike Junge and I am the Supervisory Contract/Agreement Officer for USAID/Peru, Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay. As you heard from Meghan in our first video on the Annual Program Statement, USAID/Peru has been working hard to simplify our assistance solicitation and award process with the hope of working more closely with our local partners and the private sector. Our mantra has been to simplify, simplify, simplify, making the solicitation and award process as streamlined as possible. In order to do this, we have developed a template for a simplified program description which is key to our push towards greater localization and more flexible and responsive awards. So why did USAID shift to this new simplified model? The USAID/Peru APS focuses on true partnerships with the private sector. This is because the private sector not only brings additional resources to the table, but they excel at solving problems, after all, if they are not able to pinpoint and solve a problem, they stand to lose valuable resources. By joining forces with USAID’s Implementing Partners, our hope is that the Private Sector will also act as a catalyst to help our Implementing Partners focus on solving real world development problems. USAID often focuses on outputs and deliverables as opposed to actual development problems to be solved. This leads to the reverse of Administrator Power’s goal, it leads to Projects and not Progress When we focus on the development problem, the “what” and not the “how” is what is important. When we focus on the “what”, it gives us substantial freedom during implementation as the “how” is of secondary importance and can be easily changed. USAID Peru has implemented a simplified program description, which consists of seven components. The first component is the development problem. The Development Problem is a ONE sentence statement of the development problem. This must be something that is within our implementing partner’s manageable interest because when the award ends, we want them to be able to say that they have actually solved the problem. all problems can be broken down into successively more detailed layers until we get to a problem that our implementers can actually help our host governments solve. In most cases, the development problem is a further distillation of the mission’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy The second area is the theory of change. The Theory of Change is also limited to one sentence and is in the format – IF (A, B, or C happens), THEN (X, Y, or Z will also happen). For the statement, the development problem is restated as if it has been solved. The “then” statement is what can reasonably be expected to happen once the development problem is solved. The “then” statements must focus on systemic changes rather than on deliverables or short term successes. The third area is the magnitude of change. As the concept note is streamlined and doesn’t provide a lot of information we have added the Magnitude of Change so that the Implementing Partner provides USAID with some of the specific actions they will take to solve the development problem. This summary is used by the Program and Front Office to have a better understanding of what they can expect from this award and to do a cost benefit analysis. The Magnitude of Change generally is not put into the final award as the actual details of what the Implementing Partner wants to accomplish will be found in the Annual Work Plan. The next area is the top level indicators. The solicitation asks for 5 to 10 top level indicators so that the Selection Committee has a general sense of what the implementing partner believes will be important to monitor. Please note that these indicators may, or may not become part of the award, it depends on what is decided during the co-design phase. The next area is the executive summary on gender. This is an executive summary of how gender roles will be incorporated within the award. During co-design, the team will develop a draft gender plan which in the case of a Fixed Amount Award will often be used as a milestone payment as the finalized Gender Plan will be due within 30-60 days of signing the award. Please note that Gender is not just about an equal distribution of assistance to men and women, but how the activity may affect men differently from women, and how the partner will mitigate those differences. For the sixth and seventh area, the executive summary of environmental impact and on climate change. As with the gender, these are executive summaries as full plans are due 30-60 days after award signing. As with any new initiative, there has been a learning curve with unforeseen challenges, but overall, the USAID/Peru APS model has demonstrated a new way to look at the work we are doing and how we can go about achieving mutual benefits with not only our implementing partners, but also with the Private Sector. I invite you to watch the next video in this series, Co-Creation

Last updated: September 18, 2022

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