USAID’s Pakistan strategy: Partner with local government – a conversation with Julie Koenen

Julie Koenen (middle), the officer in charge of the United States Agency for International Development’s new Karachi office, seen here during a program in Pakistan. The country has been a hot spot for international development business for years. Photo by: USAID

Pakistan has been a hot spot for international development business for years, and one of the country’s largest bilateral donors is the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Julie Koenen is the officer in charge of USAID’s new Karachi office, one of three Pakistan field offices that oversee operations in the Sindh and Balochistan provinces. In an exclusive interview with Devex in late April, Koenen discussed USAID funding trends, the agency’s focus on working with the Pakistani government, and strategies for aid implementers to secure funding.

In an email, Koenen confirmed that “there has been no change in USAID’s strategy in Pakistan due to [al-Qaida leader Osama] bin Laden’s death” at the hands of U.S. special forces on May 1 near the country’s capital, Islamabad.

USAID’s Karachi office was established last year and at the end of last month employed eight out of up to 30 staff who are expected to be hired, most of them locally. Apart from its mission headquarters in Islamabad, USAID operates regional offices in Peshawar and Lahore to oversee programming in KPK and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, as well as the Punjab province, respectively. These regional offices also manage relationships with the provincial government, local non-governmental organizations and communities.

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    Sam Mednick

    Sam is a freelance journalist based in South Sudan. Over the past 12 years she’s reported on humanitarian, human interest and conflict stories from around the world. Sam’s work has taken her to the Middle East, Africa, Asia, South America and Europe, writing for VICE, the Associated Press, Devex, Barcelona Metropolitan and iPolitics among others. Sam also produces and hosts the Happy Melly Podcast, interviewing authors, speakers and thought leaders about what it takes to live productive and fulfilling lives.