Does the U.S. Agency for International Development’s “extreme poverty agenda” amount to an entirely new initiative — or is rather a repackaging of work the agency is already doing?
“That’s a great question, and it’s one that’s asked every day in this building,” Alex Thier, USAID’s assistant to the administrator for policy, planning and learning, said at the Advisory Council for Voluntary Foreign Assistance meeting on Wednesday.
USAID is working to align its programs with President Barack Obama’s call to help eliminate extreme poverty by 2030. But some agency staff and partners are losing their patience over the administration’s ever-expanding list of development and health initiatives and the metrics that accompany them.
Officials have been trying to clarify — both internally and publicly — how the extreme poverty agenda fits in with other USAID priorities like Power Africa, food security, global health, climate change and resilience, and how they can ensure the various goals don’t take energy and resources away from each other.