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USAID Contribution

Procuring and Managing Adaptively: 5 Case Studies of Adaptive Mechanisms

Aug 13, 2018
Tony Pryor

Flexibility in program management is essential in all of the countries where USAID works. This is especially true in non-permissive environments (NPEs), where the ability to learn and adapt quickly to changing circumstances can help USAID staff members achieve their desired outcomes.

Below are five case studies of adaptive mechanisms. In some cases, language that helps CORs and IPs manage the contract adaptively is written right into the contract itself. In other instances, the mechanisms are relatively common in the USAID context, but the CORs and IPs have come up with innovative ways to manage them adaptively.

These examples are just that—examples. We encourage you to add your own examples here or contribute suggestions in the comments section below for other approaches to making procurement and activity management more adaptive.

Adaptive Mechanism Case Studies

  • USAID/Indonesia's Urban Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (IUWASH) program was designed to support the Government of Indonesia (GOI) in making significant progress toward achieving its safe water and sanitation Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets. The program featured frequent and effective use of a variety of data to manage adaptively. The contract was a cost plus fixed fee contract awarded after full and open competition, and it incorporated a Grants Under Contract (GUC) component.
  • Both in the design of the mechanism and in the ways it was implemented, Zimbabwe's Civil Society Strengthening Program (CSSP) benefited from systematic and intentional incorporation of features that facilitated adaptive management. Working with an objectives-based, cost plus fixed fee (CPFF) contract, the Mission awarded Pact $26.8 million in June 2012 for a five-year program (2012-2017) that incorporated a Grants Under Contract (GUC) component, a joint Mission-IP management team, and periodic re-examination of program objectives and priorities through strategy review sessions, weekly political economy analyses (PEAs), and regular meetings with an external reference group.
  • USAID/Central Asia's Power the Future activity is a four-year (2017-2021), $24 million single-award indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract designed to facilitate adaptive management through task orders driven by context and opportunity.
  • Spanning five and a half years (2012-2017), USAID/Kenya's Feed the Future Innovation Engine (KIE) sought to identify, foster and bring to scale innovative private sector solutions to persistent poverty and food insecurity. KIE was a hybrid contract, combining firm fixed price (FFP), fixed-price incentive fee (FPIF) and firm-fixed price level of effort (FFP-LOE). It also incorporated a Grants Under Contract (GUC) component. Structured much like a venture capital fund, KIE identified, fostered and brought to scale innovations in the food security sector.
  • USAID/Kosovo's Transparent, Effective and Accountable Municipalities (TEAM) program is a five-year (2017-2022) Cost Plus Award Fee (CPAF) contract designed to facilitate adaptive management and local ownership of the activity. Language in the solicitation explicitly encouraged adaptive management, and offerors were required to submit an Adaptive Management Plan. In addition, adaptation is one of the evaluation criteria for the award fee periods.