Local Capacity Strengthening Policy

First Annual Local Capacity Strengthening Policy Learning and Feedback Virtual Forum

October 10-19, 2023


The Local Capacity Strengthening Policy guides USAID decisions about why and how to invest in the capacity of local partners to better achieve inclusive and locally led development.

USAID recognizes the central importance of partnerships that result in strengthened local communities—a longstanding practice across every sector, country, and context in which the Agency works.

Through the Local Capacity Strengthening (LCS) Policy, USAID is committing to a unified, cohesive, and systemic approach in which USAID collaborates with local partners to:

  • Define their own vision for success; 
  • Strengthen their ability to be effective and relevant actors within their local communities and contexts;  
  • Elevate local ownership in sustaining development results.

An Agency-wide Vision for Capacity Strengthening

The LCS Policy builds on decades of USAID experience in capacity strengthening. This policy is an opportunity for the Agency to reexamine its capacity strengthening practices in light of the principles of locally led development, as well as systems thinking and practice, to be a more effective and equitable partner. This policy was developed over three years through a highly participatory process where feedback was intentionally solicited, analyzed, and incorporated, as summarized in this comment report.

LCS Policy Micro-Trainings (5 minutes each)

LCS Insights: Supplemental Documents

Local Capacity Strengthening Policy Implementation Updates – August 2023

Annotated Bibliography

Local Capacity Strengthening Policy Two-Page Overviews


LCS Measurement

Guide for Distinguishing Tools - This document offers guidance to assist USAID staff and partners select which tools are most useful for performance measurement, capacity action planning, and risk mitigation.

CBLD-9 Indicator Resources

CBLD-10 Indicator Resources

LCS in Action: Case Studies

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Local Capacity Strengthening?

Local capacity strengthening is the process of partnering with local actors - individuals, organizations, and networks - to jointly improve the performance of a local system to produce locally valued and sustainable development outcomes.

What is different about the Local Capacity Strengthening Policy?

At its core, the LCS Policy is a mindset and culture shift towards embracing capacity strengthening that supports local actors' ability to deliver and sustain development results – rather than focusing on local actors’ capacity to qualify for and manage awards.

How does the Local Capacity Strengthening (LCS) Policy support the Agency’s localization goals?

The Agency’s localization efforts aim to put local actors in the lead, strengthen local systems, and be responsive to local communities. The Local Capacity Strengthening Policy helps the Agency advance this vision of localization as one of the guiding technical policies. Additionally, to meet the target of fifty percent of USAID activities being locally led, the Agency is including local capacity strengthening as one of the “good practices” for the Locally Led Programs indicator.

Where should you start with to understand the Local Capacity Strengthening (LCS) Policy?

This landing page has access to all of the publicly available LCS Policy resources and is regularly updated with new ones in a variety of languages. If you are an English speaker, we suggest starting with the LCS Policy Micro-Trainings. They are five minute interactive videos that introduce the Policy’s principles as well as examples and resources.

Where should you start with to understand the Local Capacity Strengthening (LCS) Policy?

Each October USAID invites stakeholders to the Local Capacity Strengthening Policy Learning and Feedback Forum to reflect on progress, share feedback, and contribute to mutual learning. Simultaneous translation will be available for most sessions in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic with several sessions also having simultaneous translation in Swahili. 

Register to attend the October 2023 Forum

Related Work

inclusive development Local Capacity Strengthening Policy Locally Led Development