The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is one of the largest state-sponsored aid agency in the world. It is funded by the United States Government and it has an independent administrative body and uses its financial and human resources to assist developing nations to grow economically and technically.
For the FY 2020, the President’s Budget Request for the State Department and USAID is $40 billion, which includes $19.2 billion for USAID to support “stable, resilient, and democratic societies that are self-reliant, capable of leading their own development journeys.”
USAID actively involves NGOs in program development and implementation processes. It keeps seeking applications from them under a wide range of solicitations. This guide provides insights on how to plan, prepare and respond to these solicitations.
This is the first stage when the RFA /RFP has not yet been issued and your organization is contemplating whether to approach USAID or not. During the planning phase, your organization will explore and analyze whether USAID is the right fit for your organization or not.
Also, you will be conducting an internal check to assess if your organization has the required capacity to write the proposal and is eligible for applying to USAID for a grant. Some tasks that should be performed during the planning stage include:
You can also go through past projects that have been supported in your region to get an idea of the kind of projects that are most likely to get awarded by USAID.
Go through the Country Development Cooperation Strategy
Once you are aware of how USAID works and the kind of programs its supports, go through your Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS).
This document outlines the strategic framework and objectives of USAID for supporting a particular country. RFPs issued by the USAID will come from the CDCS and therefore any organization planning to approach USAID for funding should surely go through it.
Reading the document will help you to find out if your program areas are in line with the Country Development Cooperation Strategy or not.
Assess your organization
Before you start the application process for a USAID solicitation, it is advisable that you conduct an organizational capacity assessment to see if your organization has the required capacity to implement a project if awarded.
USAID provides an Organizational Capacity Assessment (OCA) tool that can be used by organizations to help with the process. While assessing your organization make sure you go through all your financial systems, past audited reports, governance reports, third party evaluation reports etc.
Also, assess if you have the technical expertise and internal processes to implement the project. If you find certain gaps/issues, resolve them before applying.
Once you are sure that your organization will be applying for a USAID grant, you should start your proposal development process. The preparation stage also starts much before the solicitation is published.
For more information, visit https://www2.fundsforngos.org/featured/how-to-plan-prepare-and-respond-to-a-usaid-call-for-proposals-a-free-guide-for-ngos-4/