In 2017, the Trump administration instructed all federal agencies to review their operations and propose opportunities for efficiency gains. The development community saw this as an opportunity to create a more cohesive U.S. foreign assistance architecture. MFAN led over 170 members of the development community in welcoming foreign aid reform driven by key effectiveness principles. USAID’s transformation proposal included goals to transform their programs, strictures, processes and workforce. MFAN has continued to engage and consult with USAID since 2017 on each of these aspects of transformation. Mark Green’s tenure as Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development has been largely defined by two primary initiatives: reorganization and restructuring, and the Journey to Self-Reliance, the framework for all internal policies and strategies.
USAID’s plan for Transformation restructures the agency’s main functions in order to optimize its work and better achieve its mission, representing the largest such change since the end of the Cold War. MFAN endorsed many aspects of the reorganization plan, which meets a variety of recommendations for an effective redesign of the U.S. foreign assistance architecture as agreed to by 170 leading organizations in the international affairs community.
Now that USAID is in the process of implementing the reforms, MFAN is monitoring outstanding questions regarding local ownership; monitoring, evaluation, and learning; transparency; inclusive development; a field-driven approach to procurement reform, including co-creation, localization, and adaptive management; as well as adequate resourcing and staffing.
MFAN continues to support the proposal to unite USAID’s policy, budget, and accountability functions, a component that has yet to be approved by Congress. MFAN will continue to monitor how the agency can better align policy and budget, and advocate for the release of the Congressional Notification for the relevant bureau on Policy, Resources and Planning (PRP).
Opinion: Uniting policy, resources, and performance for better decision-making at USAID, George Ingram, Devex, October 2018
New USAID Bureau Would Be a Powerhouse for Program Effectiveness, Justin Fugle, May 2018
The Journey to Self-Reliance
MFAN has engaged extensively with USAID throughout the development and implementation of the Journey to Self-Reliance. We have engaged on the Policy Framework, the self-reliance roadmaps, procurement reform initiatives, and the development of a Financing for Self-Reliance strategy in order to infuse the principles of accountability and country ownership into each component.
Most recently, MFAN called on USAID to develop an official public strategy on civil society engagement. While we strongly support USAID’s efforts to build local partnerships, working with civil society involves many other functions and deserves a formal public strategy laying this out. To encourage the agency, MFAN has also published a set of recommendations in addition to guiding Principles.