Local Works

Quick Facts

Managed by

USAID Office of Local Sustainability (E3/LS)

Launched in

2015

Local Works Missions:

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 Round 4

The deadline for missions to apply has passed.  New Local Works missions will be announced in summer 2019.

Unsolicited Materials

Eligible entities (i.e. small local, international, and US based organizations that have received less than $5 million from USAID over the past five years) besides USAID missions may submit unsolicited proposals/applications that are consistent with the purpose of the program. For more on eligibility and the application process click here. Unsolicited materials are accepted on a rolling basis.

View Local Works application frequently asked questions, or listen to our Local Works Round 4 webinar recording.

Local Works Guidance: Round Four

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 is a unique program designed to advance locally-owned development and enhance the Agency’s ability to empower local actors to take the lead in addressing their own development challenges.

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 led 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.

Learning Priorities

Drawing on the past three rounds of Local Works, global research, and experience from across the Agency, USAID has identified several key areas that help advance locally-owned 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

Bangladesh

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.

Malawi

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. 

Morocco

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.

Serbia

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: May 13, 2019

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