Building Bridges to Collaboration: How Co-Creation Led to the Puentes Project
USAID/Guatemala's Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) on Identifying Opportunities for Youth exemplifies many key aspects of collaborating, learning and adapting in practice. It also generated valuable lessons on cultivating trusted relationships between and among USAID and its implementing partners.
In choosing co-creation, USAID/Guatemala demonstrated its openness to ideas outside the Agency and its capacity to collaborate—both with external partners and across mission teams. As a BAA, partners were invited to collaborate early in the project design process, pooling their individual knowledge and expertise to develop a joint concept note. However, this also meant a change in traditional roles as organizations who usually compete for bids now worked together, and as partners collaborated alongside with USAID. In response, USAID and its Facilitation Partner (FP), the LEARN contract, carried out a number of activities with partners to cultivate trust and the sense of a unified team. As a result, the partners produced an integrated concept note which was far stronger than if created in isolation, and in June 2017, it was launched as the Puentes project.
Following the co-creation experience, USAID/Guatemala has become more adaptable in its approach and has gained a stronger appreciation for the contributions of its partners. On their part, the partners saw their individual ideas come to fruition, and they established valuable partnerships with other organizations that may lead to future collaboration.