Remarks by Mission Director Lawrence Hardy, Local Works Global Workshop

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

[As Prepared]


We are pleased and proud to be the host of the very first Global Local Works Workshop. I hope that you find the Philippines as welcoming, warm and friendly as I have found it to be.

Let me warn you: the Philippines will leave a lasting impression on you.

I personally am a strong believer in ‘local’ — in all its different aspects.

As the former head of the Agency’s Human Capital and Talent Management office, I have long supported maximizing local assets, in particular, our FSNs. And for good reason. Our local staff are world class and combine development expertise with a deep understanding of the political, economic, social and cultural contexts in which we work. I’m happy to see that the majority here at this event are FSNs.

Through Local Works, we extend that approach to countries that we partner with. Everywhere we work, there are tremendous human, intellectual, financial other resources that can be tapped.

Local Works emphasizes this point - empowering local people to lead and manage their own development.

Since we’re all here in Manila, I hope that everyone also benefits from the rich experience of the Philippine mission, especially when it comes to engaging local partners.

Even before Local Works, I am proud to say that USAID/Philippines has fully embraced the ethos that inspires this initiative. Recognizing the culture of civic participation and wealth of civil society actors, USAID supported the strengthening of, and partnership with this sector so that non-state actors can help in the further development of the country. It’s not far-fetched for us to take credit for significantly contributing to strengthening the vibrant CSO sector in the country, which numbers in the hundreds of thousands of organizations. Many of the prime movers in the NGO community credit USAID with helping them to be where they are now.

Tomorrow, you will get a chance to hear in particular how we implemented Local Solutions, the Agency’s previous approach to working more with local systems and partners. We will offer some lessons learned based on an evaluation of a large activity called the Philippine American Fund, or “Phil-Am Fund,” through a local foundation to solicit and administer grants, and to provide capacity building support to 37 smaller NGOs.

As one example of the activity’s success, allow me to share with you about the salt industry in the Philippines. Although the country has abundant natural resources, about 80 percent of salt is imported. Through a USAID grant, a local cooperative in the province of Oriental Mindoro established the country’s first-ever salt washery and processing plant to benefit more than 3,000 farmers through increased incomes. Carlos Magsino, a salt farmer there told us;

“Before this, salt was priced at 90 centavos to one peso per kilo; now it can go from 2.50 to 2.90 pesos per kilo, or even higher.”

I want to take a few minutes to illustrate what we’ve done in the last few years in terms of locally-led development. Here is a short video detailing what we did in the economic growth sector.

And yes, with Local Works, we are ready to take locally-led development further --- to implement local solutions on a much greater scale and depth.

We started our Local Works journey through a comprehensive listening tour, talking to more than 500 people in 10 regions in the Philippines. . While we are used to engaging with people in the field, the open format allowed us to explore beyond the traditional boundaries of USAID assistance, learn more about challenges, and discover community assets and good local development models.

We were surprised by some of the results. In this regard, I would like to thank our thought partner Local Systems Practice, for helping us sift through and make sense of all the conversations we had.

In the spirit of locally-led development, in developing our overall program for Local Works, we have taken our cue from the people we listened to. Our pilot work with Local Systems Practice on addressing water access challenges in a municipality was informed by our listening tour in the Northern region. Our forthcoming work on cooperatives was based on a realization that in all regions, cooperatives play a huge part in addressing livelihood challenges. In parallel, we aim to strengthen civil society, a key partner in development, while facilitating partnerships among government and the private sector.

And of course, we are excited to learn from everyone else’s experience. The 15 other missions here today, plus representatives from Washington, bring a wealth of experience and expertise to strengthen each other’s programs, and facilitate local solutions to development.

For example, we are looking forward to learning about: network analysis in Macedonia; systems-based approach in Burma; the BAA process undertaken by Malawi and Bangladesh’s co-design activities; multi-stakeholder dialogues and partnerships in Serbia, Guatemala and Uganda; direct support to improve resource mobilization and sustainability of identified CSOs and communities in Morocco, Vietnam, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Honduras; and locally-led livelihood and economic empowerment initiatives in Dominican Republic, El Salvador and throughout West Africa. There is a rich agenda here with many stimulating sessions.

Before I close, I encourage everyone to take advantage of what the Philippines can offer; enjoy the food, the sights, and if you have some extra time, consider getting outside of Manila. Conde Nast named three islands in the country as part of the top five in Asia — Siargao for surfing, Boracay for powdery white sand, and Palawan for snorkeling, diving and island hopping. Just ask my Filipino colleagues for leads.

Again, thank you for joining the Local Works Global Workshop, and I wish you all a productive few days.

Issuing Country 

Last updated: October 19, 2020

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