Showing US leadership through innovation in foreign assistance

saramesserSara Messer, policy manager for aid effectiveness, at MFAN Partner ONE, recently posted a blog about the recurring themes of innovation and competitiveness in President Obama’s State of the Union address earlier this week. She took the opportunity to highlight the many reforms already underway at the U.S. Agency for International Development, the State Department, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Below are excerpts from Messer’s recent post:

“On reform, we saw a slew of new proposals and strategies for improving US foreign assistance this past year, from the President’s Policy Directive and the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, to USAID’s new FORWARD reforms. All of these aim to reorganize agencies, reduce redundancies and red tape, and focus on monitoring and evaluation of programs to guide future funding decisions.”

“But in addition to just changing the way the US government delivers assistance, real change for the developing world will likely stem from new ideas, fresh thinking and harnessing science and technology to improve lives. USAID has already started upgrading its Office of S&T and has created the Development Innovation Ventures fund that will invest in promising innovative development breakthroughs and help bring successful ventures to scale.”

“Throughout other programs, technological advances are receiving a lot of attention. In the Feed the Future initiative, the US approach to agricultural assistance includes technology innovations such as drought-tolerant crops that will increase food p5391031061_a017533761roduction and food security. And the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, with support from the US and others, recently incentivized the development of two new vaccines for two of the biggest killers of children, pneumonia and diarrhea. US support has also helped pave the way for research into new tools like microbicides for women to protect themselves against HIV.”

“At a time when government programs are on the chopping block and every dollar needs to be justified, it’s important that we support those programs that are making real reforms and changing lives for millions of people around the world. By standing with the administration to elevate our development work, America has the opportunity to showcase not just its military might, but its vision and leadership for a more prosperous world and the advancement of core US national interests.”

To read the entire post, click here.

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