Samantha Power giving a speech at a Georgetown University podium
Category: News

Title: Inclusive Development Starts Within

Date Published: November 15, 2021

“Diversifying the aid workforce, as well as the organizations we partner with, and becoming more attuned to the voices and needs of those we aim to help, is necessary.”

                                                           – Administrator Samantha Power, USAID

On November 4, the GHD Program, in collaboration with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC), hosted USAID Administrator Samantha Power. In her first major address since assuming her role, Administrator Power celebrated the 60th Anniversary of USAID, and laid out her vision for the field of global development. GHD student Katryna Mahoney moderated the event and facilitated a conversation between Administrator Power and the audience.

Administrator Power identified three high-priority initiatives for her tenure at USAID: first, making aid more accessible by broadening USAID’s coalition and allowing people and partners from more diverse backgrounds to participate in USAID’s mission; second, making aid more equitable by focusing on the voices and needs of the communities that are most often overlooked; and third, making aid more responsive to the needs of in-country partners.

Administrator Power announced plans to double the number of Donald M. Payne Fellowships, which provide significant funding for graduate school studies for young professionals interested in careers as USAID Foreign Service Officers.  She also pledged to increase the budget for paid internships to make employment at USAID more accessible for underrepresented populations. Furthermore, the agency will partner with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) to recruit diverse talent. These efforts will both facilitate the inclusion of a wider diversity of perspectives within the agency’s workforce, and equip them with the talent and capacity to meet some of the world’s greatest challenges. 

In a bold demonstration of USAID’s commitment to invest in local partners, Administrator Power pledged that at least a quarter of USAID’s development funds will go directly to local partners within the next four years, and half of every dollar spent will place those local communities in the lead in planning, implementation, and evaluation by the end of the decade. She also announced the Centroamérica Local initiative, a $300 million investment in local partner organizations in the Northern Triangle region of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Furthermore, she announced the launch of workwithusaid.org, a new fund intended to break down barriers for small businesses, NGOs, faith-based organizations, minority-serving institutions, diaspora groups and foundations interested in contracting with the Agency.

Administrator Power’s inaugural address underscored the necessity of diversifying the workforce of development organizations, and entrusting much of the development lifecycle to and empowering local partners. Our students have already been discussing the implications of the address in their classes and in shared community spaces, and we look forward to continuing to nurture the next generation of development leaders.

Samantha Power giving a speech at a Georgetown University podium

USAID Administrator Samantha Power: A New Vision for Global Development

USAID Administrator Samantha Power delivers remarks outlining a bold vision for the future of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and inclusive development around the world. The speech takes place as USAID celebrates its 60th anniversary. Administrator Samantha Power’s remarks will be followed by a conversation with 2020 USAID Payne Fellow Katryna Mahoney (SFS’22).

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