Last week was a busy one for me in Moscow. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I attended international forums dedicated to Millennium Development Goals 4, 5, and 6, speaking on a panel about HIV/AIDS. On Wednesday I met with USAID/Russia program implementers and other stakeholders. And on Thursday, I had the pleasure of addressing over a hundred people at Spaso House, the gorgeous residence of the U.S. Ambassador in Moscow, on the subject of USAID’s worldwide partnerships.
The event, a conference to celebrate eight years of USAID/Russia’s public-private partnerships, gathered together many of the private companies and NGOs which have partnered with USAID since 2003. It was an opportunity for the partners to exchange ideas and experience, and a chance for me to hear first-hand about the important work they’ve done in areas like maternal and child health, youth entrepreneurship, and anti-money laundering. And I was pleased to sign a capstone agreement with networking giant Cisco, a company with a shared interest in the social and economic development of Russia. This memorandum of cooperation will support workforce development in the area of IT, and will advance the use of information communication technology (ICT) by civil society, the government, and the public. Under the new agreement, joint projects could receive up to $50 million in funding and in-kind contributions (USAID’s investment will be leveraged 1 to 4).
This partnership builds on a strong history of public and private sector alliances in Russia and throughout the Europe and Eurasia region. One of the Agency’s very first Global Development Alliances (GDAs) was in the Balkans and aimed to support civil society and government accountability as a root of long term stability. With nearly 40 alliances over the past eight years, totaling $122 million at a ratio of about $5 for every $1 invested by USAID, USAID/Russia is truly an Agency leader in GDAs.
USAID has recognized the power of joining civil society and technology through projects across sectors like this interactive map where citizens can report elections abuses or Text4Baby which Dr. Jill Biden launched here earlier this year to improve maternal and child health by sharing information via SMS. The agreement with Cisco will allow us to capitalize on widespread access to technology in Russia to improve lives and livelihoods of Russians, economic stability, and government transparency across Russia.