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Community Contribution

Locally Led Development Spectrum and Checklist Tool


The Locally Led Development Spectrum and Checklist are instruments that USAID’s Locally Led Development Initiatives has developed and are testing to help USAID and our partners think about what locally led development means in practice, including throughout our Program Cycle and across different technical sectors. Both have been adapted for USAID use from Oxfam America and Save the Children’s Local Engagement Assessment Framework (LEAF).


Locally Led Development Spectrum

Locally led development is not a single approach, but a range of ways that USAID, its partners, and communities can work together to shift agenda-setting and decision-making power into the hands of local actors. USAID considers this as a spectrum of locally led development approaches, in which USAID can facilitate increased local leadership in our humanitarian and development work. Our goal, over time, is for our work to increasingly fall on the right-hand side of the spectrum:

Locally Led Development Spectrum

Learn more about the Locally Led Development Spectrum here


Locally Led Development Checklist

The Locally Led Development Checklist is a pause and reflect tool, designed to help USAID Missions and partners consider and adopt locally led approaches at every stage of the development process. Its purpose is to facilitate reflection on how USAID and partners work together towards common goals, and to explore how we can advance locally led development in our work. 


The tool is flexible and can be applied to any step, stage, or component of the development process, and at any point in the Program Cycle. It can be used by USAID to reflect on their partnerships with local partners, and by local partners to reflect on their engagement with sub-partners, networks, and constituents. It is paired with a facilitation guide to assist in thinking through modifications. 


Please note: the point of the Checklist is not to have all the right answers, but to pause and reflect on where you have been and where you are going. This Checklist can also be used to document the evolution in your thinking about locally led development, which can be helpful for informing activity design, managing adaptively, and planning evaluations.

Note: These tools were adapted by the Locally Led Development Initiatives in USAID’s Local, Faith, and Transformative Partnerships (LFT) Hub and are currently being pilot tested across various contexts, sectors, and programming in which USAID works. We value your feedback and invite you to share your questions, experiences using these tools, and suggestions for improvement with us at [email protected]

Example: USAID/Armenia and Partners Pause and Reflect 

on Research Efforts

USAID/Armenia’s Local Works team used the Checklist to structure 

two pause-and-reflect sessions with local research partners. The first 

session brought together four staff from USAID/Armenia and their lead 

research partner, Prisma, to discuss the research plan, including which 

local stakeholders would be engaged, and how this engagement fit along 

the Locally Led Development Spectrum. It included brainstorming how 

this engagement might shift in the future, and advice they would give for 

others conducting similar work. The second session similarly set up a 

pause-and-reflect exercise with staff from two local data collection firms, 

which helped to understand their perspectives on the process. 

Participants noted “For Local Works, this is really important, and the time

 and opportunities are often lacking in our regular mechanisms. This time

 to stop and reflect is something that is really valued and it brings closer 

engagement and better results in the long run.”


Learn more about USAID/Armenia and Prisma’s experience here.