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Community Contribution

Thoughts to inform USAID’s Effective Partnering and Procurement Reform

Jul 19, 2018
Jessica Ziegler

The afternoon session of MTN’s Managing Adaptively track really epitomized why USAID holds the Moving the Needle event. “Adaptive Partnering: A Conversation with USAID” was a significant opportunity for more than 40 participants to share their experience and help shape USAID’s procurement practices by providing candid feedback and input into the reforms under consideration through the Agency’s Transformation effort on Effective Partnering and Procurement Reform (EPPR). EPPR is one of the ways that USAID is trying to create an agile and flexible Agency that can adapt to changes on the ground to improve the effectiveness and impact of its activities, including in fragile states and non-permissive environments. EPPR is also concerned about diversifying the Agency’s partner base and empowering its partners.

EPPR representatives Randy Tift, Senior Advisor, Office of Acquisition and Assistance (OAA), Gayle Girod Chief Innovation Counsel, Office of the General Counsel, and Stephanie Fugate, Branch Chief and Supervisory Contracting Officer (OAA) briefly kicked off the session by explaining the EPPR effort, but the bulk of the time was dedicated to deeply engaging table conversations on four key topics of interest to EPPR:

  1. Adaptive Strategies and Culture
  2. Adaptive Activity Design Tools
  3. Adaptive Activity Management Tools
  4. Data/Evidence-Driven Adaptation

Here are some highlights from those discussions (NB: Not verbatim quotes):

Adaptive Strategies and Culture

"Providing staff with necessary skills and incentives comes up a lot. There is a common concern about the lack of time."Here

Adaptive Activity Design Tools

"We can also diversify the partner base so that smaller and more nimble organizations can take part in the process. Often times, they can partner with traditional, big player partners to help them get involved."

Adaptive Activity Management Tools

"Being able to adapt is so critical because if your whole context changes and you’re stuck with what you planned, it could cause harm, so we are appreciative of Agency direction toward more flexibility."

Data/Evidence-Driven Adaptation

"The policy architecture exists for data/evidence-drive adaptation and the data exist, but the challenge is to change data usage. Investing in a system will not necessarily create this change."

To read about the morning session of MTN’s Managing Adaptively track, “From Learning to Action: Adaptive Management in Support of Self-Reliance,” check out my Learning Lab blog post.