How does USAID support NGOs?

Dr Saumya Arora About Dr Saumya Arora

Dr. Saumya Arora is a development professional with cross-disciplinary experience in project management, resource mobilization, donor relationship management, community mobilization and project execution at the field level. She is currently working towards building fundraising and resource mobilization capacity of community-based organizations, apart from developing functional linkages with donors across the world.

What is USAID?

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is a US Government Agency that is responsible for administration of all foreign civilian aid. It was established in the year 1961, and is headquartered at Washington DC. The mission statement of USAID is to ‘to partner to end extreme poverty and to promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing the security and prosperity of the United States’.

The main purposes of USAID aid and assistance are disaster relief, eradication of poverty and inclusive economic growth, child survival and health, environment conservation, and overall socio-economic development globally.

Modes of assistance by USAID:

The modes of providing assistance by USAID are both technical and financial. USAID has field offices in many developing countries for providing technical and financial aid for above stated purposes. So, it follows a decentralized approach for tackling the development issues globally.

 Partnering with NGOs:

USAID partners with NGOs to achieve its strategic goals and objectives for providing assistance across the world. It partners with international and local NGOs, networks and groups, and civil society organizations in various ways, for the belief that the complex socio-economic-cultural problems globally cannot be solved without local support and expertise.

The type of organizations USAID partner with are:

  1. Foundations:
    USAID partners with foundations, which are defined as private charitable or philanthropic foundations for sharing of knowledge, expertise, and tackling developmental challenges.
  2. Local organizations:
    USAID also works with regional organizations in the developing countries to build their capacities and make them sustainable in long run. NGOs may work with USAID in various ways: they may work directly with the USAID missions in their respective countries, or may manage programs through the local works program if they build their capacities to that level. USAID also supports capacity building and advocacy programs that foster healthy environment for civil society participation.
  3. Cooperatives:
    USAID also supports NGOs in establishing cooperative organizations through its Cooperative Development Program (CDP). It has other programs also to support development at the field.
  4. Private Voluntary Organizations (PVO):
    PVOs are nonprofit organizations that work for addressing development problems abroad. Interested PVOs should first apply for USAID’s PVO registry, which is a screening process that will determine whether they are eligible or not for applying for USAID funding.
  5. International organizations:
    USAID works with international partner organizations to leverage their expertise and resources for development assistance endeavors.

Interested NGOs can explore more about the opportunities USAID provides, its strategies and current partner and work on its website:

Advantages of association with USAID:

  • Financial resources:
    USAID provides financial resources for tackling development problems across the world. Access to these can be resourceful.
  • Technical expertise:
    It has the best technical expertise and resources for addressing complex development issues.
  • National and International network:
    Working with USAID can open up many opportunities also in terms of greater visibility and global exposure, with the widespread national and international networking opportunities an organization can get.
  • Credibility and reputation:
    Working with USAID can bring a lot of goodwill and credibility to your organization, owing to its reputation and credibility worldwide.

Some tips for exploring opportunities to work with USAID:

  • Understand USAID:
    Understanding what USAID stands for, what it does across countries, what kind of work it supports, will help you to understand where your organization stands and what kind of support you may seek. Follow USAID on social media to get regular updates and understand its work better.
  • Keep an eye on the forecast:
    USAID releases a forecast with the opportunities it will post throughout the year. Keep an eye on the forecast to make the most of it.
  • Understand the local partnerships:
    Find out about the local or national missions and partnerships of USAID to understand where your organization’s work fits in the local mission and development efforts.

Working with USAID can be a great opportunity for your organization and its cause, so first understand the big picture and strategic development work of USAID in your country and region; to understand how best you can make use of an opportunity with USAID.

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