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Archives for Global Partnerships

Feed the Future launches Comprehensive Approach to engaging the Private Sector

By:  Tjada McKenna,Director, Private Sector and Innovation Office, Bureau for Food Security

At the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Administrator Shah proudly announced USAID’s support for the WEF’s New Vision for Agriculture initiative. This initiative is led by 17 global companies, including Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, Coca-Cola, DuPont, General Mills, Kraft Foods, Monsanto, PepsiCo, and Wal-Mart to name a few that are Industry Partners of the Forum. The goal of this initiative is to utilize market-based solutions to increase production by 20%, while decreasing emissions by 20% and reducing the prevalence of rural poverty by 20% every decade.

Today, nearly 1 billion people go hungry everyday – half of them farmers – and malnutrition needlessly robs people of their potential to contribute to their families, their communities and society as a whole. Three-quarters of the poor live in rural areas, most relying on agriculture for their livelihood, with women contributing the bulk of farm labor. And now, these farmers face even tougher constraints as the world must produce more with less and the agriculture sector is entering a new era marked by scarcer resources, greater demand and higher risks of volatility partly owing to global climate change.

Standing alongside the CEO’s of Unilever and Monsanto, Administrator Shah committed USAID, through the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future (FTF) initiative, to promote the development of innovative, large-scale private sector partnerships in FTF focus countries to achieve significant impact on global hunger and malnutrition. This approach will bring together farmers, local businesses, supply chain companies, global corporations, local and national governments and civil society to promote sound investments in agriculture. USAID will support these partnerships by leveraging its own investments in agriculture-led growth in key corridors or breadbasket regions in FtF countries.

For example, USAID through FtF is supporting Tanzania’s Kilimo Kwanza Growth Corridor with an equity investment of $2 million in the Corridor’s $50 million catalytic fund, and is considering additional annual investments up to $10 million. The fund will help open up partnership opportunities for private investment in rural infrastructure (irrigation and rural roads), processing, research and training, institutional capacity building, and nutrition and is expected to leverage nearly $500 million in private sector investment.

In an effort to combat malnutrition, USAID also signed an Memorandum of Understanding with DSM Nutritional Products to work together to improve dietary quality across the developing world, starting with rice fortification in rice staple food countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana, Mali, Senegal, and Tanzania. DSM is a global material and life sciences company and a leader in the fields of human and animal nutrition with 70 years of innovative product development and application technology in vitamins and nutrient fortification. USAID will also tap into DSM’s expertise in efforts to improve the nutritional value, shelf-life, and nutritional test methods of food aid commodities.

Work together with FTF focus country governments, USAID will continue to promote the development of dynamic new partnerships directly with the private sector by facilitating the work of both local and private companies who want to contribute to new models of agriculture-led development. We stand ready to build new partnerships based on jointly defined priorities and focused choices to transform agriculture and drive food security.

‘Modern Development Enterprise’ – A Major Address by Administrator Shah

As featured in the White House Blog

Last week, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah gave a major address to over 200 non-governmental organizations, think-tanks, academics, and international development leaders hosted by the Center for Global Development. The text of the speech as prepared for delivery can be found here.  Dr. Shah’s speech on The Modern Development Enterprise addressed the current state of development and formally announced the Agency’s 50th anniversary.

In his speech, Dr. Shah recognized the important role of religious and community groups in providing assistance to those most in need around the world. I thought you’d be especially interested in the excerpts below:

  • American Values:  When we prevent violence in Southern Sudan, we’re not just avoiding future military involvement; we’re also expressing America’s values.  When schoolchildren organize bakesales to pay for anti-malarial bed nets, they are expressing America’s values.  When more American families gave money to the Haiti relief than watched the Super Bowl, they were expressing America’s values.  When church groups across America raise money and volunteer to support children orphaned by AIDS, they are expressing America’s values.
  • Communities of Faith:  I’m proud to know that USAID is one of CRS’s largest supporters.  But I’m also proud to know that we support a wide-range of faith-based organizations, from Samaritan’s Purse to the American Jewish World Service. Organizations of faith not only express the moral values of millions of Americans, they also provide some of the most dependable support systems for millions in the developing world. In Kenya for example, 30% of all healthcare services are provided by Christian Hospitals.  Our success depends on listening to communities of faith, connecting with them deeply, and supporting the vital work they perform around the world.
  • Food Security:  Instead of merely providing food aid in times of emergency, we are helping countries develop their own agricultural sectors, so that they can feed themselves.  We launched Feed the Future – bringing together resources across the federal government and engaging in deeper partnerships to extend the impact of our efforts.  We are now leveraging more investment from countries themselves and from other donors.  Firms ranging from General Mills to local African seed companies are all doing more.  As a result, in just five of our twenty focus countries we will be able to help nearly 6.5 million poor farmers – most of them women – grow enough food to feed their families and break the grip of hunger and poverty for tens of millions of people.
  • Global Health:  In our Global Health Initiative, instead of a scattered approach that fights individual diseases one at a time, we are pursuing an integrated approach that will generate efficiencies and strengthen health systems.  We are now working with partners such as the NIH, CDC and PEPFAR to leverage recent advances in science and technology, especially in high return areas such as vaccinating children, preventing HIV, malaria and TB and focusing on childhood nutrition during pregnancy and the first two years of life.
  • Smart and Transparent Investments:  I want the American taxpayer to know that every dollar they invest in USAID is being invested in the smartest, most efficient, and most transparent way possible.
  • 50th Anniversary:  This year, USAID will celebrate its 50th anniversary. Our legacy is filled with incredible accomplishments. Throughout those fifty years, we have contributed greatly toward ending an incomprehensible measure of human suffering, and I urge you to learn more about our Agency’s rich legacy through our newly launched anniversary Web site, http://50th.usaid.gov.  But if I am lucky enough to live another 50 years, I hope I am also lucky enough not to witness our centennial. Instead, I hope we will be commemorating the success of USAID’s mission.

Ari Alexander serves as Deputy Director at the Center for Faith-based & Community Initiatives and the Coordinator of Global Engagement.

Supporting U.S. Global Development Objectives through Private Sector Partnerships

By: Matthew Corso, USAID

USAID recently released the 2011 Global Development Alliance (GDA) Annual Program Statement (APS).  The 2011 GDA APS captures and conveys the Administration’s commitment to partnering with the private sector in support of U.S. global development objectives.

The intention for this APS is to encourage conversations between the private sector and USAID that may produce innovative, sustainable partnerships around the world to meet both business goals and USAID development objectives.  Since 2001, USAID has cultivated over a 1,000 public-private alliances with over 3,000 individual partners contributing billions of dollars in combined public-private resources in most of the 90 countries in which USAID operates.  In fact, on average, every dollar USAID commits to partnerships leverages nearly three and half private sector dollars – a significant return on taxpayer’s investment in a time of tight budgets.

USAID is committed to continuing to improve the ways in which we implement our foreign assistance mandate through broader collaboration with new partners.  No longer are governments, international organizations, and multilateral development banks the only assistance donors.  The U.S. Government recognizes an exciting opportunity to enhance the impact of its development assistance by improving and extending collaboration with a range of private sector partners, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private voluntary organizations (PVOs), cooperatives, faith-based organizations, foundations, corporations, financial institutions, the higher education community, and even individuals (including remittances from Diaspora communities).

Potential alliance partners are expected to bring significant new resources, ideas, technologies, and/or local partners to address significant development challenges in the countries in which USAID is currently working.  Innovative GDAs in support of Agency-wide initiatives such as food security and nutrition, global health, global climate change, water, science and technology and innovation are especially encouraged.

USAID has much to offer to its partners, with its unique mandate within the U.S. Government and long-term experience with, and access to, host-country governments and economies. The Agency is able to capitalize on its extensive field presence and network of local development partners and technical expertise to convene, catalyze, integrate, coordinate, promote, facilitate and invest in public-private alliances. However, such alliances have the potential for not only mobilizing additional resources for development worldwide, but also promoting greater effectiveness and impact on the problems of poverty, disease, and inadequate education, depletion of natural resources, crime, and limited economic opportunity throughout the developing world.

Secretary Clinton Holds Town Hall Meeting at USAID on the QDDR

On Friday, Secretary Clinton and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah spoke on the First Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), “Leading Through Civilian Power,” at a town hall meeting at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Here is the webcast in case you missed it.

USAID Commemorates International Day of Persons with Disabilities

To commemorate this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, USAID is hosting a photo display, “USAID and Inclusive Development” in the lobby at the 14th Street entrance of the Ronald Reagan Building on December 3. Nancy Lindborg, Assistant Administrator for the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, will speak at the display opening at 4:00 P.M. The display consists of images from USAID’s programs worldwide and illustrates the progress USAID and our partners have made in integrating persons with disabilities into the political, social, economic, and cultural life in communities around the world. It demonstrates how USAID’s inclusive development programming aligns with the Millennium Development Goals.

A usual day in inclusive kindergarten, supported by the USAID-funded Children in Difficult Circumstances Project, implemented by World Vision. Photo courtesy USAID/Yerevan

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities, annually observed on December 3, aims to promote a better understanding of disability issues worldwide. Established by the U.N. in 1981, it focuses on the rights of persons with disabilities and the value of integrating persons with disabilities into every aspect of society.

This year’s theme for International Day of Persons with Disabilities is “Keeping the Promise: Mainstreaming Disability in the Millennium Development Goals Towards 2015 and Beyond.” It continues the connection between disability programming in the developing world and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It reminds us that although many commitments have been made by the international development community to include persons with disabilities in all aspects of development, much work remains to fulfill those commitments.

Last year’s theme, “Making the Millennium Development Goals Disability-Inclusive: Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities and Their Communities Around the World,” linked disability to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). USAID supports the MDGs and inclusive development in its own policies and programming in its missions around the world.

In 2008, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities acknowledged the development of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention provides a legally binding instrument to ensure that societies recognize that all people must be provided with the opportunities to live life to their fullest potential. The United States signed the U.N. Convention on July 30, 2009.

In September 1997, USAID adopted a groundbreaking policy which led to the creation of a detailed framework to guide USAID’s efforts in the area of disability and inclusive development. The policy states that USAID will not discriminate against persons with disabilities and will work to ensure the inclusion of these individuals in USAID-funded programs and activities. The policy also calls on USAID missions to enlist partners, host-country counterparts, and other donors in a collaborative effort to end discrimination against and promote equal opportunity for persons with disabilities.

In 2005, Congress provided USAID with a dedicated source of funding to complement their commitment to include persons with disabilities in development programs and to empower them to advocate for their own rights. To date, these initiatives have supported programs in more than 40 countries, primarily through financial and technical assistance to USAID missions to promote their own inclusive  development  activities.

USAID works to educate employees on disability issues through courses and workshops. USAID provides tools and technical assistance to field missions as they institutionalize the policy and it has developed self-reporting mechanisms to track progress in implementing the policy in Washington, D.C. and overseas.

Learn more about USAID’s Disability Policy and Inclusive Development programming.

Contact: Rob Horvath, rhorvath@usaid.gov

Saving Lives Through Smart Investments

This originally appeared on Dipnote.

As we approach World AIDS Day, many are asking difficult questions about the way forward on global AIDS. The questions are not about whether lives are being saved from the devastation of AIDS, because they are — by the millions. But some wonder whether we can continue to maintain our strong commitment and make dramatic progress when the global economy is under such strain. It’s a reasonable question, and one motivated by genuine concern for those we serve. Let us be clear: the answer is that we can, and we are fully dedicated to continuing in our fight against HIV/AIDS.

Through a range of actions, the Obama Administration is demonstrating that the U.S. commitment remains firm, even in these challenging economic times. The Administration’s budget request for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for HIV/AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) this year is the largest in any President’s budget to date. We are grateful for the strong foundation of success that President George W. Bush and a bipartisan Congress established when they launched PEPFAR. Building on that foundation, during President Barack Obama’s tenure PEPFAR has continued to expand, greatly increasing the number of lives saved from this destructive pandemic. Tomorrow, on World AIDS Day, we’ll announce our latest results, which will show continued, dramatic progress in saving lives devastated by HIV/AIDS.

We’re also proud of the partnerships that we built with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis and with individual country governments. The Obama Administration recently announced the first-ever multi-year pledge to the Global Fund of $4 billion — a significant 38 percent increase.

Under PEPFAR, the U.S. government is also focused on doing business more efficiently and effectively. Years of experience in the field have taught us how to better use every dollar invested in battling AIDS. This means we are getting a bigger bang for the buck — allowing us to do more to fight not only HIV/AIDS, but other global health issues that impact communities affected by HIV. It means that our yardstick for measuring success is not dollars invested, it’s lives saved. Simply put, we’re focused on making smart investments that improve and save more lives.

Let’s look at a few examples.

We’re saving lives and money by using more generic drugs. Recognizing that one of the biggest hurdles to rapid treatment scale-up was the high price of antiretroviral drugs, PEPFAR worked with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to bring more generics to market. By 2008, generics accounted for almost 90 percent of the 22 million antiretroviral drug packs purchased, increasing from 14.8 percent in 2005, and resulting in an estimated cumulative savings of $323 million.

We’re successfully implementing programs to prevent mother-to-child transmission. Prevention of mother-to-child transmission is one of the most effective — and cost-effective — interventions for HIV. By focusing on preventing mother-to-child transmission, Botswana and parts of South Africa have had extraordinary success, reducing the likelihood of infant infection to levels similar to those found in the United States, and reducing the significant costs associated with new infections. Accordingly, PEPFAR’s Five-Year Strategy set goals to reach 80 percent of pregnant women with HIV counseling and testing, and to provide antiretroviral prophylaxis or treatment, as appropriate, to 85 percent of pregnant HIV-infected women in PEPFAR countries.

We’re changing the way we deliver medicines. We have become more efficient in shipping needed medicines in a timely fashion by using water and land delivery systems instead of air freight, reducing costs by as much as 90 percent. In 2009, sea freight charges for products PEPFAR moved through the Supply Chain Management System (SCMS) were $520,000, while moving the same volume by air would have cost an estimated $3.8 million. Similarly, road freight charges for the product PEPFAR moved through SCMS were $395,000, while to move the same volume by air would have cost an estimated $953,000.

Last, but not least, medical male circumcision promises dramatic impact on prevention efforts. Medical male circumcision is an ideal HIV prevention investment for countries and donors, as it is a one-time intervention that provides lasting prevention benefits. The majority of the expenditure required to saturate a country with high levels of adult male circumcision takes place in the first 1-3 years, depending on the speed of the program, and expenditures drop precipitously following this initial investment to support neonatal and adolescent boys. Scaling up male circumcision to reach 80 percent of adult and newborn males in 14 African countries by 2015:

– Could prevent more than 4 million adult HIV infections over 15 years (2009 – 2025)

– Could result in cost savings of $20.2 billion between 2009 – 2025 with an overall investment of approximately $4 billion

We’ve had great success in the fight against HIV/AIDS, but the battle is far from over. The goal now must be to build on that success and continue to be smart about the investments we make.

Introducing the NGO Sustainability Index for Sub-Saharan Africa

Whether acting as advocates, watchdogs, or service providers, it is widely recognized that Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) play a crucial role in countries across sub-Saharan Africa.

However, their ability to make a true impact depends not only upon their own organizational capacity and financial viability, but also upon such external factors as their country’s legal framework, communications, and other sectoral infrastructure.

USAID is now giving users an easy way to understand the opportunities and the threats facing NGOs across the region with our roll-out of the NGO Sustainability Index for Sub-Saharan Africa (PDF).

The Index measures NGO sustainability using a methodology that employs seven “dimensions”. These include legal environment, organizational capacity, financial viability, advocacy, service provision, infrastructure, and public image.

By combining numerical scores with narrative justifications, the Index offers a useful description of the state of the NGO sector in 19 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Mirroring the long-established Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia NGO Sustainability Index, this first edition of the Africa NGOSI will provide a benchmark for observing trends across sub-Saharan Africa as well as between

Picture of the Week: Women Increasing Incomes in Guatemala

Women preparing vegetables at San Judas, Guatemala.Women preparing vegetables at San Judas packing plant to sell to grocery stores in Guatemala. The San Judas company is participating in a USAID Global Development Alliance program with partners Wal-Mart, Mercy Corps, and Fundación AGIL. Photo is from Eduardo Smith/ PrensaLibre 2008.

Focus on Nutrition: Creating Inclusive Partnerships and Deepening our Knowledge

This originally appeared on DipNote.

Recently, I visited Bangladesh to find out how you feed a country that has half the population of the United States squeezed into an area the size of the state of Iowa. One thing is for certain: no one can do it alone. During my trip, I witnessed how partnerships among a broad range of stakeholders — the Rome-based UN agencies, the Government of Bangladesh, donor countries, civil society and the private sector — are coming together to change the way we address chronic hunger. The U.S. government is supporting partnerships that deliver food, including fortified vegetable oil, in conjunction with health and other interventions that help ensure our programs translate into better nutrition outcomes.

Good nutrition is crucial during the first 1,000 days — from the mother’s pregnancy through the child’s second birthday — because it affects lifelong mental and physical development, IQ, school achievement, and, ultimately, work capacity and income generation. Thus, nourishing children not only enables individuals to achieve their full potential, but creates the conditions for nations to grow and prosper. This is one of the reasons why nutrition is the critical link between Feed the Future and the Global Health Initiative, the game-changing Presidential initiatives that address global hunger and maternal and child health as part of a broader strategy to drive sustainable and broad-based growth.

We know that we have to look at child malnutrition in new ways to accelerate progress toward the first Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty and hunger by 2015. We know that better targeting and implementation of nutrition programs can greatly increase the effectiveness of our assistance and, most importantly, the ability of all children to thrive. We also know, as Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton stated at the “1,000 Days: Change a Life, Change the Future” event in New York last month, that prevention is better, and less expensive, than treatment.

The U.S. government is leading programs that focus on preventing malnutrition before it occurs. Core components of this new approach aim at improving the quality and use of health services, caretaker behaviors and dietary intake. Pregnant women and lactating mothers attend monthly pre- and post-natal services and nutrition education sessions while children up to 24 months are weighed and provided with basic care. Sick or malnourished mothers and children are treated or referred for additional care. Mothers and babies receive supplementary food in addition to a household food ration. As the international community recognizes, we need comprehensive approaches that draw from a broad toolbox in order to prevent and treat malnutrition effectively.

In addition to working to improve our programs on the ground, we are increasing the quality and scope of our food assistance commodities. We recently established a pilot effort to introduce and field-test new or improved micronutrient-fortified food aid products. We are also pursuing innovation around the nutritional content, product composition, and packaging of food products delivered through humanitarian assistance programs. Congress made $14 million available to support these two efforts in fiscal year 2010.

The American people will continue to provide emergency food aid assistance to vulnerable populations. And we are working with top researchers to help ensure that the food aid provided has a high nutritional value. With Tufts University’s School of Nutrition, we are examining nutritional needs and how we can best meet those needs — be they in Bangladesh or the Great Lakes of Central Africa — where I’ve seen incredible work being done. The study includes a scientific review of current enrichment and fortification technologies, a review of methods for delivery of micronutrients and an active consultative process that involves industry, academic and operational experts. Ultimately, it will provide recommendations on how to meet the nutritional needs of vulnerable populations with food aid assistance in a cost-effective manner.

While we expect that some time will be necessary to implement the recommendations, make the necessary changes in formulations, and test new products, our purpose is clear: We are committed to delivering high-quality, nutritious food assistance to people in need. As reaffirmed in the Committee on World Food Security nutrition side event last week, nutrition science has pointed the way to interventions that are basic, low-cost and effective. There is political will to scale up nutrition, align our efforts and measure our results. As Secretary Clinton has emphasized, we must use this remarkable opportunity to make a measurable impact on child hunger and malnutrition.

This Week at USAID – October 11, 2010

Administrator Shah opens a weeklong training for over 80 USAID communications staff from USAID Missions all over the world.  These communicators are in Washington, D.C. to engage with senior officials about elevating development, particularly the first-ever national development strategy issued by a U.S. President and “USAID Forward”, the Agency’s change management agenda.  Sessions featured during the week include: a meeting with staff from the National Security Council, a joint session at the annual State Department Public Affairs Officer’s conference, and a panel discussion with leading foreign policy journalists at the Newseum.

Administrator Shah travels to Des Moines, Iowa to speak at the Borlaug Dialogue, which is held each year in conjunction with the awarding of the World Food Prize.  The theme of the conference is: smallholder agriculture, “Take it to the Farmer“.  Dr Shah will focus on how you take interest in fighting poverty to the smallholder farmer.  He will also promote progress under Feed the Future, the Administration’s global hunger and food security initiative.

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