Trust but verify: How to vet a foreign aid partner

Vetting partners is about more than just checking bank statements and ticking a few boxes. When foreign aid groups team up with local counterparts, things usually aren’t that easy.

“It requires a lot of time and trust building, and making them feel secure that you’re going to use information responsibly,” said Nicole Barnes, senior director of business strategy and communications at RTI International’s International Development Group.

That process has become even more important as donors nudge their implementing partners  most of them large, international organizations — to better engage smaller groups in the countries they operate in. Local organizations bring a unique set of knowledge and skills to the table, including the ability to better connect with communities, grasp their development challenges and find homegrown solutions.

But meeting donor expectations can be a challenge. How can you make it work?

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About the author

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    Kelli Rogers

    Kelli Rogers is a global development reporter for Devex. Based in Bangkok, she covers disaster and crisis response, innovation, women’s rights, and development trends throughout Asia. Prior to her current post, she covered leadership, careers, and the USAID implementer community from Washington, D.C. Previously, she reported on social and environmental issues from Nairobi, Kenya. Kelli holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, and has since reported from more than 20 countries.