USAID is eager to work with partners all around the world––and to help you get started, we encourage you to learn our most commonly used terms and acronyms.


Acquisition and Assistance

Acquisition is the purchase of goods and services through a contract. Assistance is the financial support from the U.S. Government to an organization, through a grant or cooperative agreement, to help carry out a project that benefits the community.


Automated Directives System

The operational policies and procedures that guide USAID’s programs and operations. The ADS contains over 200 chapters and is aligned with current Federal regulations.


Agency for International Development Acquisition Regulations

USAID’s supplement to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). It includes Agency-specific contracting policies, procedures, processes, provisions, and clauses. AO / CO Agreement Officer / Contracting Officer: The AO (for assistance awards) and the CO (for acquisition awards) are the people authorized to enter into a legal agreement with a partner.


Agreement Officer’s Representative / Contracting Officer’s Representative

The technical experts who work directly with partners on the implementation of a project.


Annual Program Statement

A call to action that describes the need for specific types of programs. The “round” or “addendum” is the funding opportunity to address that need. The APS and any addenda or rounds contain important information to help you understand the specific expertise needed to address the challenge we want to solve.


Broad Agency Announcement

A competitive and collaborative process that guides how we research and develop innovative solutions with public, private, for-profit, and nonprofit partners of all sizes and nationalities.


Blanket Purchase Agreement

A method of acquiring goods and services under an agreement when a task order is issued. BPAs simplify the government purchasing process.


Country Development Cooperation Strategy

The strategy of a USAID Mission––usually a five-year plan––that provides a road map for development goals and projects. The RDCS––Regional Development Cooperation Strategy––is the same as a CDCS, but for a region.


Federal Acquisition Regulation

The primary regulations used by all Federal Executive Agencies in their acquisition of supplies and services.


Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity Contract

A contracting mechanism used to acquire specific recurring supplies and/or services when the exact times and/or quantity of future deliveries are not known at the time of the award.


Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement

An estimate of the indirect cost rate negotiated between the Federal Government and a Grantee or Contractor’s organization. The rate reflects the indirect costs and fringe benefit expenses incurred by the organization, and its NICRA rate will be the same for all agencies of the U.S. Government.


Notice of Funding Opportunity

A solicitation that announces that assistance funding is available to address a development challenge.


Request for Information

A process to explore ideas and plan for future projects in a particular area. Responding to an RFI is a great way to introduce your organization and expertise to USAID.


Request for Proposal

A solicitation for acquisition funding that tells you what the Agency requires for a specific project or activity and how bids will be evaluated.