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  • Louden Mazen

USAID's Partners in Localization: Designing for Change Co-Creation Workshop


David Colvin, IBI's President and Senior Advisor, participated in USAID’s “Designing for Change Co-Creation Workshop” as a part of a conversation focused on identifying and reducing challenges to localization for USAID and local partners. IBI’s tagline of “Global Insight – Local Solutions” conveys the importance that IBI has always placed on engaging local partners and supporting them to be at the forefront of achieving development outcomes.


Under the USAID/Liberia Data, Evaluation, Learning, and Technical Assistance (DELTA) Activity, IBI is subcontracting with three Liberian partners and has plans to add more. The challenges confronting local partners start with the scarcity of resources available for pre-award work, co-creation, and proposal development, and extend to challenges with implementation management and cost recovery. Many local organizations struggle with inadequate internal resources to fully comply with USAID procedures, procurement and reporting mandates, and the ability to implement activities within set timeframes. To address this, IBI’s workplan includes a robust local capacity strengthening component. It features, for example, a six-month Executive Leadership Course that aims to catalyze leadership development to empower Liberian leaders. It also includes an internship program to bolster practical leadership and professional development skills, technical assistance to support capacity strengthening in the public and private sectors, and action-oriented learning events to encourage local engagement in leadership opportunities. By enhancing locally led processes and practices, DELTA aims to bolster sustainable partnering approaches and contribute to USAID’s broader localization agenda.


For the USAID/Armenia Public Finance Management (PFM) Activity, IBI again designed a workplan and partnering strategy that focus on local priorities, traditions, and operational approaches. IBI partners with two strong local subcontractors to tackle the objectives of the PFM Activity, namely, to improve the planning and execution program budgeting in the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs’ and improve the budgetary oversight role of Parliament. These local partners bring valuable insights, networks, resources, and expertise to ensure that the project’s solutions respond directly to the needs of the Government and Armenia’s citizens.


A third example of IBI’s support to USAID’s localization agenda is our work implementing the USAID/Pakistan Capacity Development Services activity. At the outset, IBI conducted a System Mapping exercise that helped to identify the organizations most interested and committed to partnering with USAID to achieve the project’s objectives of better Public Financial Management. Two of those organizations – the governments of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces – turned to the project for support in automating their procurement and planning processes. IBI put these counterparts in the driver’s seat to determine exactly what specifications these new automated systems would have and to make sure they would be user friendly and sustainable. IBI engaged three local subcontractors, whose work included writing the code, testing and refining the systems, and training over 1700 users. These partners are now better equipped to partner directly with USAID on future activities and to continue providing support to Government of Pakistan clients.


IBI's proactive approach to addressing challenges within the realm of USAID localization highlights its commitment to creating sustainable partnerships and impactful projects. By mapping stakeholders, empowering local leaders, and advocating for greater alignment with local priorities, IBI strives to foster more effective and inclusive development practices. Through strategic initiatives and collaborations, IBI endeavors to overcome barriers and promote meaningful change in diverse contexts.

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