Wanted: ways to revolutionise the international aid system

From Aid | The Guardian Mon Feb 25 2013, 10:49:52

What if every aid worker - local and international - at every level were given a micro investment fund, over which they have total personal discretion? How would aid delivery change?

The US government is attempting to change the model of how it provides poverty-reducing aid to developing countries. The reforms introduced may seem like obscure regulations, but the Implementation and Procurement Reform 2015 target of 30% of USAid funds delivered to local partners is no joke.

To aid practitioners who value country and community ownership of aid, this is a welcome shift in the way USAid does business. This is not the case, however, for many Washington DC bureaucrats and USAid's go-to implementing partners -- contractors and international NGOs -- who now see their business model as under threat.

If the 30% target and other reforms are being resisted by USAid's 'traditional' partners, perhaps there are other incentives that are being overlooked. Large bureaucracies are certainly not renowned for being entrepreneurial, but it's an important time in Washington to make sure that reformers at USAid do not slip backwards. The question is -- how can staff in Washington and around the world see beyond business as usual?

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