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Community Contribution

USAID/Colombia Regional Integration Strategy: Internal and External Collaboration to Deepen Local Development Outcomes

Andres Ucros, Camila Gomez, and Erika Avila

USAID/Colombia operates through sectoral technical offices that manage Activities as stand-alone entities. This can make it challenging to sequence and layer different Activities that are being implemented in the same region or for the same group of beneficiaries. To address this challenge and increase regional impact, USAID/Colombia launched a CLA-based Regional Integration Strategy (RIS) in 2021 that aims to foster systematic collaboration among Activities.

The Mission went through an organizational change to enable the RIS, shifting from its traditional top-down approach to programmatic decision-making to a bottom-up approach. The RIS is inherently a locally-led development initiative because it brings local stakeholders and Activities together to prioritize Regional Integration Opportunities, which are cross-sectoral responses provided by USAID/Colombia Activities to meet communities’ needs.

When RIS implementation began in 2021, internal collaboration at the Mission-wide level was in an emergent stage. One year later, internal collaboration has reached an advanced stage thanks to the fact that technical offices, AORs/CORs, and implementing partners are now making decisions to align programming and collaborate strategically to develop the Regional Integration Opportunities. In terms of external collaboration, USAID/Colombia progressed from an emergent stage to an expanding one.

By 2025, the RIS will provide tailored cross-sectoral responses through at least 50 Regional Integration Opportunities to dynamize the implementation of Colombia’s Peace Accord, increase economic growth in communities, expand environmental protection in the Amazon, improve the social and economic integration of Venezuelan migrants, and empower women, youth, the LGBTI community, Afro-Colombians, and Indigenous peoples.

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