USAID Program Cycle 101

Comments (2)
Date Published:
January 14, 2013

The Program Cycle is part of the new reforms and initiatives, and while a new approach, it draws on foundational tools that many development veterans will recognize. The resources and training modules found on this page provide a better understanding of these changes.

USAID Program Cycle Overview Summary and Partner Guide

The purpose of these papers is to provide an overview of the Program Cycle to USAID staff and our partners to better understand how these components support each other and relate to annual processes and documents, such as the Mission Budget Request (MRR) - formerly known as the Mission Strategic Resource Plan, Performance Plan and Report (PPR), Operational Plans (OPs), and Congressional Budget Justification (CBJ). The paper is framed in the context of USAID’s Policy Framework and Agency Policies and Strategies, and summarizes requirements articulated in the Evaluation Policy, Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) Guidance, and Project Design Guidance; the paper does not impose any new requirements.

Inside USAID: The Program Cycle Overview Video

This video provides insight into USAID’s reinvigorated Program Cycle. The Program Cycle draws on foundational tools that many development veterans will recognize, like strategic planning and project design.

Program Cycle Online Training Module

The Program Cycle Online Training Module is an online module which presents the basic building blocks of the Program Cycle. This module is designed to provide the foundation for PPL workshops on CDSC planning and project design. The course can also hone and update the the skills of USAID staff who have already taken Programming Foreign Assistance and Project Design and Management courses.

The course also includes a glossary, background material, session objectives, and a short test after each module.

Program Cycle Online Case Study: Dilbertia Learning Space

The Program Cycle Online Training Module presents the concepts driving the Cycle, such as the CDCS, project design, learning and M&E. However, to fully understand the Program Cyle it is important to understand how these concepts would play out in practice. Besides following the discussions and peer-to-peer exchanges on ProgramNet, PPL has also developed a companion Module, based on USAID/Dilbertia. This case study is drawn from several specific missions and reflect the direct experience of PPL/SPP staff in their TDYs over the last two years.

For those of you who have already taken the Training Module, we recommend that you view Dilbertia to reeinforce your understanding of the Program Cycle.

For those of you who haven't taken the first course yet, we strongly recommend that you take the Training Module AND Dilbertia; the two modules were designed as a package.

Program Cycle Learning Guide

Learning has always been a part of USAID’s work; it is clearly not new. USAID staff and implementing partners (IPs) have always sought ways to better understand the development process and USAID’s contribution to it, to share the successes and lessons of USAID’s initiatives, and to institute improvements to our operating modes and mindsets. Learning is always taking place – but it is not generally systematically planned or adequately resourced, nor is it always facilitated or acted on in ways that are strategic and can maximize results.

This Learning Guide, and the Strategic Learning Plan on which it is based, have been developed to build on and improve the ways that USAID learns, and to address a set of challenges and opportunities that confront most development organizations.

Find More Direction In The Program Cycle Learning Guide Icon

Filed Under: Learning


Zan Larsen wrote:
There will be more added to this group soon! Keep checking back to see new resources!
posted 4 years ago
Zan Larsen wrote:

Should also check out: to find helpful guidance on integrating a learning approach throughout the program cycle!

posted 4 years ago