USAID's Self-Reliance Framework
In 2017, under then-administrator Mark Green of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), USAID reorganized its mission of development and aid. In a break from the past, administrator Green initiated a fundamental reorganization. He proposed a mission of providing aid for the very purpose of eventually ending any reliance or need for developmental and humanitarian assistance offered by USAID. Understanding USAID’s self-reliance framework begins with understanding USAID’s mission and new measurement system to end the need for international aid.

Purpose of USAID’S Mission

While USAID’s capabilities and knowledge have not changed, its beliefs about its mission and approach have. In the words of its policy framework, “This approach marks a new direction for USAID, but draws on our deep experience and the lessons we have learned.” Illustrating its shift in thinking, USAID explains its assistance is most effective and compassionate when strengthening its partners’ abilities to provide for themselves and their citizens.

Looking forward to the future, the journey to self-reliance (J2SR) expresses recognition of two opportunities. It works to see the possibility for ending the need for foreign assistance by pointing to the fall in global poverty, improvements in health infrastructure, greater gender parity and safety across the globe. In addition, it also points to continuing barriers and moving challenges impeding progress and self-reliance.

USAID’s Measurement System

Subsequently, helping USAID in ending the need for foreign assistance is a set of concretely defined concepts and measurable figures. They address USAID’s full reorientation towards its mission statement of “ending the need for foreign assistance.”

As a keystone metric, self-reliance gains its weight through the measurement of two factors. The first is capacity. This acts as a measurement of a given country’s capacity to deal with its own developmental challenges. The second is commitment. This measures a country’s demonstration of commitment to using efficacy, inclusivity and accountability when dealing with challenges.

Moreover, USAID selected capacity and commitment for their efficacy in solving three fundamental developmental problems. These include improving productivity and sustainable expansion, equitable distribution of goods to raise well-being and deciding how to share resources fairly and legally. Positive improvements in these three challenges ultimately contribute to the greatest possible gains to set countries moving toward self-reliance.

Congressional Oversight

However, USAID’s J2SR pathway is not without concern. In the same report by the Congressional Research Service, the authors described the 17 indicators as ‘reflective’ of a sweeping theory of development long debated. They explained that the chosen indicators connect to theories that economic growth comes from democratization and open markets.

For instance, the “Trade Freedom” indicator comes from a theory that developing countries must lower trade barriers in order to achieve prosperity. This theory has undergone hot debate. The CRS also notes that the previously mentioned metrics have been worrying to commentators due to the fact that some might use them as excuses to cut aid.

The 17 Metrics

The self-reliance pathway includes 17 unique third-party metrics. These help in determining the degree of a partner country’s commitment or capacity metric. The 17 metrics serve as target goalposts for USAID initiatives and projects. In turn, they guide and measure a country in the metrics of self-reliance.

In the words of a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report on Transformation at USAID, these 17 metrics help to quantify a country’s progress toward ending its need for foreign assistance and have been selected for its “perceived alignment with the self-reliance concept, the reputation of reporting institutions, public availability of the underlying data and methodology, comparability across countries, and comprehensiveness of reporting across countries.”

Understanding USAID’s Self-Reliance Framework

Above all, USAID’s Self-Reliance Framework intends to guide USAID’s programmatic approach to aid. This includes defining and outlining projects and determining a nation’s end state with respect to USAID’s assistance to it. In conclusion, the journey to self-reliance seeks to better serve the U.S. public while advancing individual countries towards greater self-autonomy and independence.

– Marshall Wu
Photo: Flickr

USAID programs in Kenya
Former U.S. President John F. Kennedy created the United States Agency for International Development in 1961. Kennedy’s goal was to spearhead the United States’ international development and humanitarian initiatives. Additionally, the highest executive position is the Administrator of the USAID. This position’s responsibilities include executing foreign aid programs under the guidance of the President. Furthermore, the Administrator of the USAID selects members of the President’s cabinet and the State Department. USAID coordinates with different levels of the United States government. As a result, this agency often works closely with the State Department to achieve common goals. USAID programs in Kenya also contribute to the global economy and aid in alleviating global poverty.

USAID’s mission statement is to dedicate itself to the promotion of democratic values in its works and advance freedom and prosperity. As such, USAID is well-integrated into the United States’ foreign policy vectors and gives perspective in improving the lives of many in the developing world.

Mark Green is the most recent non-acting Administrator for USAID since 2017. USAID’s agenda underwent reorientation and Administrator Mark Green’s tenure resulted in the reframing of its definition of foreign assistance. Journey to Self-reliance is a new policy that emerged to reforge all existing USAID policies and strategies.

USAID’s Program Cycle’s policies and decisions reinforced its initiatives. In addition, an evaluative set of processes regarding a structured cycle of self-examination, planning, implementation and re-examination of outcomes helps countries become more self-reliant.

USAID Today in Kenya

USAID programs in Kenya have been making a difference for more than 60 years. Kenya received $540 million in aid from USAID in the 2019 fiscal year. Thus, this ranks Kenya as the fourth most-funded African country. As a result, USAID programs in Kenya provide more than the average $144 million funding that these regions typically receive. The HIV/AIDS sector receives the greatest amount of aid from USAID. It contributes a total of $260 million.

Kenya’s performance scores of self-reliance lag behind the average low and middle-income countries. However, Kenya surges ahead in having an open and accountable government. Yet, Kenya’s safety and security rates at 33 points out of 100. This is significantly lower than the statistical average. Thus, the nation’s lowest-performing index is the poverty rate. Kenya’s poverty rate is a mere 14 out of 100, whereas the statistical average rests at 44.

USAID Programs’ Focuses

USAID programs in Kenya have three primary focuses. First, it aims to effectively implement governmental devolution. This requires devolving the powers of the central government to regional bodies. Second, it aims to strengthen the health and human capacities of Kenyans. Lastly, it has the goal of driving environmentally sustainable economic growth.

Kenya’s economy is the largest and most diverse economy in all of East Africa. It serves as an important trading hub for the African continent. However, agriculture makes up the backbone of Kenya’s economy today. Agriculture provides an obvious pathway for economic development and poverty reduction. Furthermore, agribusiness accounts for roughly 40% of Kenya’s overall workforce and roughly a quarter of its annual GDP.

As an example of the United States government’s integrated approach to foreign aid, USAID’s Feed the Future initiative is currently improving social, business and human health in Kenya by increasing productivity and income. Moreover, its greater agenda is to develop a more effective and sustainable agricultural future.

– Marshall Wu
Photo: Flickr

Empowering 50 million women
Women face many barriers when it comes to entering the workplace, especially in developing countries. Societal norms in developing countries often prevent girls and women from pursuing an education. When women do not have an education, they cannot enter the labor force as easily and help cultivate the economy. This cultural practice hinders a developing country’s ability to procure economic growth and reduce poverty rates. The Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative is empowering 50 million women.

The Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative

The Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP) is an initiative committed to delivering tangible results concerning women in developing countries. The three pillars of the initiative are: women prospering in the workforce, women succeeding as entrepreneurs and enabling women in the economy. It has been proven that when women have economic empowerment, there is a multiplier effect throughout the region. They invest more in their families and communities, which then promotes economic growth.

United States President Donald Trump established the W-GDP Initiative in February 2019 as the first total government movement to promote the economic empowerment of women across the globe. Funding for the initiative began in July 2019.

14 W-GDP Projects

This introduced 14 new projects and around 200 private-public partnerships from across more than 20 countries. The partnerships consist of foreign governments, multilateral donors, non-government organizations, the private sector and universities. These partnerships will allow the W-GDP to influence more than 100,000 women. The 14 projects are throughout developing countries.

In Papua New Guinea, Cardno Emerging Markets leads its partners in working to grow 40 enterprises led by women. It also plans to reform any discriminatory laws in the region that affect some 50,000 businesswomen. In Indonesia, Cargill and its partners are working together to increase the salaries for 2,000 enterprises led by women.

In the Philippines, UPS and its partners are increasing the salaries of 3,800 women and are working to remove obstacles that block full economic participation. In Chile, Brazil, Peru, Mexico and Colombia, big-name companies such as Citi and Google have formed a partnership within the private sector in order to provide efficient training for some 8,700 women.

In Liberia, Zambia, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Mozambique, Landesa and its private sector partners work to change any laws that limit women’s property rights. In Côte d’Ivoire, the International Rescue Committee and partners work to give job training to around 750 women in the solar energy industry.

In Benin, the Management Sciences for Health and its partners work together to reintegrate more than 170 female victims of gender-based violence into the workforce. This is going to happen via entrepreneurship and employment opportunities.

Ivanka Trump and the U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator (USAID), Mark Green, are going to run the initiative. Green strongly supports investing in women. He will oversee that the resources of the U.S. government will go towards helping women as much as possible.

The Future

By 2025, the W-GDP wishes to help in empowering 50 million women in the developing world. The plan is to achieve this through a new fund, private-public partnerships and U.S. government activities. The W-GDP will focus its resources on these five main points.

  1. Traveling Freely: Limit restrictions on passports and movement for women.
  2. Accessing Institutions: Limit restrictions for women on legal documents.
  3. Removing Restrictions on Employment: Prohibit restrictions on women and their tasks, hours and jobs.
  4. Owning and Managing Property: Prohibit restrictions on women owning or managing property.
  5. Building Credit: Do not allow gender discrimination in accessing credit. Level the playing field for women including equal access and capital.

With these ambitious objectives, empowering 50 million women will be observable. It is propitious that in the coming years, women living in developing countries will enjoy abundant access to the economic sector.

Nyssa Jordan
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

US Participation in 72nd UNGAThe annual General Debate of the 72nd Regular Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) was held at the U.N. Headquarters in New York City from September 19-25, 2017. This debate is a stage for world leaders to gather in discussion about the most vital global issues. The theme of the General Debate was “Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet,” which is fitting for the state of our world today.

As the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the U.N., the General Assembly provides a unique forum for universal discussion on the full spectrum of international issues. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator Mark Green met with bilateral and multinational partners at the 72nd UNGA General Debate to discuss U.S. priorities in a number of key areas.

As a major component of the U.S. approach to foreign affairs and national security strategy, development was a large focus of many of Administrator Green’s meetings at the 72nd UNGA. Representatives from all over the world met with Administrator Green to discuss the shared vision for increased efforts towards development assistance.

Specifically, Administrator Green met with European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica to discuss the importance of their cooperation in delivering development assistance that builds long-term resilience. The administrator and the commissioner discussed the possibility of financing future development projects through the new European Union External Investment Fund.

Administrator Green also met with Isabella Lövin, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate of the Kingdom of Sweden. The two agreed on the growing need to promote long-term development through building the capacity of national institutions and civil-society organizations to foster durable and self-reliant communities.

Global Health
Administrator Green announced that the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), led by USAID and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will launch new programs in west and central Africa, including Cameroon, Côte D’Ivoire, Niger, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso. More than 480 million people at risk of malaria have already benefited from existing PMI programs and this new expansion is estimated to benefit 90 million more.

Additionally, Administrator Green reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to global health programs at the World Health Organization and Stop TB Partnership reception at the 72nd UNGA. Green referred to eradicating tuberculosis as not a challenge of technology or intellect but rather a challenge of political will. The U.S. invests over $240 million each year through bilateral tuberculosis programs and partners with governments in 22 high-risk countries; however, Administrator Green highlighted the need for more partnerships and assistance in order to eradicate tuberculosis.

Humanitarian Aid
Administrator Green announced nearly $264 million in additional humanitarian aid for the people of Iraq. This new money brings the total of U.S. government humanitarian aid in Iraq to nearly $1.7 billion since 2014. The assistance will benefit the people of Iraq by providing food, water, hygiene kits, sanitation, shelter, basic health care and medicines.

Just one day later, the U.S. announced more than $575 million in additional humanitarian aid for those affected by famine and violence in Yemen, South Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia. U.S. humanitarian aid in these four countries now totals $2.5 billion since the beginning of this year.

Although Administrator Green announced almost $1 billion in additional humanitarian aid in less than 48 hours, he noted that “humanitarian assistance, we all know, alone will not solve these crises.” Green reiterated the need for long-term political solutions that can only result from a common agenda for bilateral and multinational support.

Crisis Management
Administrator Green declared the U.S. commitment to pursuing political solutions to the massive displacement and victimization of people in the Rakhine State of Burma, the rampant violence in South Sudan, and the public health crises in Nigeria, Syria, and Yemen. With the world facing the greatest humanitarian crisis since 1945, Administrator Green met with many leaders to discuss paths to peace, stability and prosperity.

Canadian Minister for International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau and Administrator Green discussed tactics to combat corruption and promote transparency amid crisis resolution. Administrator Green also met with Secretary of State for the Department of International Development of the United Kingdom Priti Patel, where they noted the potential for much-needed increased bilateral cooperation in the wake of unprecedented crises.

In addition to the U.S. priorities above, Administrator Green addressed and discussed a variety of other priorities. The General Assembly is a unique platform for the discussion of issues that affect our world on a global scale, as it is the only one of the six principal organs of the United Nations in which all 193 member nations have equal representation. Although the world faces global challenges, each meeting and address at the 72nd UNGA alludes to global solutions.

Jamie Enright

Photo: Flickr

Mark GreenOn August 7th, Mark Andrew Green became the 18th administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. USAID is the part of the executive branch responsible for furthering international development.

As Administrator, Mark Green is responsible for leading this charge. His vision of international development has the potential to affect the lives of millions of the global poor. With that in mind, it’s important that we know who exactly he is. Here are the 7 most important things to know about Mark Green.

  1. He used to be a member of Congress. Mark Green was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1999 through 2007. He represented Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District. This is good news. It means that Green understands the ins and outs of politics and advocacy.
  2. He has a track record of supporting international aid. While serving as a representative, Mark Green voted consistently in support for international development. He was a member of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. And he co-sponsored the Hunger to Harvest bill, which aimed to reduce hunger in sub-Saharan Africa.
  3. He has been an aid-worker himself. After graduating college, Mark Green and his wife taught English to rural Kenyans through WorldTeach. In his congressional testimony, Green reiterated how much this experience shaped his worldview, and how it will shape is work as an Administrator.
  4. He was the Ambassador to Tanzania. After serving as a representative, Mark Green served as an Ambassador from 2007-2009. He oversaw President George W. Bush’s first visit to Tanzania. According to Mark Green himself, his tenure as Ambassador taught him “lessons too numerous to count.” His experience in the international makes his leadership as an Administrator trustworthy and reputable.
  5. He’s worked in the private sector. After his ambassadorship, Mark Green remained involved in international development. Green served on the board of directors for Malaria No More and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Most recently, Green was president of the International Republican Institute. Notably, all the organizations Green has been a part of have one important thing in common. They focus on development with the end goal of making donor countries self-sufficient.
  6. He has bipartisan support. Mark Green served as a Republican representative, but he has support from both sides of the aisle. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, praised him during his confirmation hearing. “He has the deep personal passion and commitment to do this job as shown through years of work in advancing our common good on the international stage,” Senator Baldwin said. And Mark Green himself promised during his confirmation hearing to “work in [a] bipartisan spirit.”
  7. He is knowledgeable about aid. Simply put, Mark Green understands what makes good aid policy. He consistently said that “the purpose of foreign assistance should be ending its need to exist.” In other words, Green’s goal at USAID is to end global poverty. Ensure that the world’s poor stop needing aid. And he has been clear in the steps he will take to steer USAID towards achieving this lofty goal. Specifically, he’s called for USAID to “incentivize reform, diversify our partner base,” and “foster local capacity-building” within partner countries.

You may never have heard of Mark Green. USAID doesn’t often make the front pages of newspapers. But that doesn’t make the work that Green and USAID are doing any less important. And under the leadership of Mark Green, USAID is sure to keep on helping millions of people.

Adesuwa Agbonile

Photo: Google/span>