This year, the U.S. Agency for International Development is set to boost reform efforts further to channel more aid through country systems while improving the capacity of its own staff to manage and oversee development programs.
This was announced by USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah at a Feb. 16 town hall meeting that featured U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The two officials highlighted past and future milestones of U.S. aid efforts and ongoing reforms to make USAID more effective and efficient.
USAID will publish more than 200 independently conducted program evaluations this year, Shah said. The goal, the administrator added, is to show the impact of ongoing efforts at the agency to channel more aid through local partner country systems. USAID aims to course up to 30 percent of its investments through local systems by 2015 as per the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review.
USAID is also boosting its staff mentoring program this year — still in line with ongoing contracting and procurement reforms. The target is to train 850 USAID staff members from different missions around the world through its mentoring program with the State Department, Shah said.
“For an agency that has had the huge staff drop-off over the last 15 years and is now rebuilding that, that is critical to filling the leadership gaps that exist in so many different areas of work,” Shah said.
These efforts fall under USAID Forward, the agency’s overall reform agenda focused on innovation, partnerships and results. This agenda is in line with the Obama administration’s push to transform USAID and elevate development alongside defense and diplomacy in the U.S. national security strategy.
This year’s reform priorities are likely to continue through 2013. At the USAID Impact Blog, Rajiv Shah noted President Barack Obama’s commitment to further the aid agency’s reform agenda via the fiscal year 2013 international affairs budget request. Among the noteworthy inclusions in the budget request are investments in USAID Forward and USAID staff support.
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