Beyond Funding: USAID/Liberia’s Ongoing Journey for Inclusive Local Partners
In Liberia, there are many challenges to sustainability and increasing local ownership. These include limited institutional and human resource capacity after years of conflict and health emergencies, lack of political will to implement decentralization of authority and resources, and inadequate public sector funding for basic social services, such as health and education. Within two different grants-based activities, USAID/Liberia is making progress towards our localization goals by addressing some of the underlying barriers to local partner engagement.
Both activity designs incorporated specific approaches for working with local partners in the Liberian context, but also further adapted the approach based on engagement with key stakeholders. The Youth Advance activity modified the grant process to include an option of in-kind grants, which provided resources and mentoring to aid nascent local organizations in growing their capacity. The Agribusiness Incubator and Development activity modified its co-investment grant opportunity application to be more inclusive of rural and marginalized groups, based on feedback from key stakeholders.
Through the use of adaptive management and external collaboration, both activities have sought to contribute to the enabling conditions for sustainable development among prospective local partners. As a result, the USAID/Liberia Mission is able to meet local organizations where they are. This allows for greater flexibility and agency in the ways local organizations can partner with USAID.
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