Learning and Networking at USAID’s Local Partner Resource Days in India
At a USAID-hosted event for new local partners in Mumbai in April, the large, carpeted conference room buzzed with excitement. Representatives of participating organizations, who were grouped at tables by field of expertise to facilitate networking, talked excitedly with one another and even had to be reminded to take lunch and tea breaks. This informal networking is one of the unexpected benefits of the recently held Local Partner Resource Days, which the USAID Mission in India hosted to reach a more diversified local partner base.
Throughout the world, USAID achieves its mission by partnering with individuals and entities around the world. While all types of entities can play a role in addressing global development challenges, the Agency recognizes that local leadership and ownership are essential for fostering sustainable results across its work.
To provide information and resources to this set of potential USAID partners, the USAID Mission in India hosted four Local Partner Resource Days in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Kolkata. Approximately 80-100 people participated in each session.
These events were structured in an open forum setting, providing USAID staff with an opportunity to share information about India-specific anticipated funding opportunities and to receive feedback from interested prospective partners. Sessions focused on USAID’s localization initiative; how to navigate the Agency’s partnership process; tips and resources for engaging with the private sector; how to respond to proposals and applications, and; how to team up with other entities to collaborate and form partnerships.
USAID staff in India were inspired to create materials for and host these events to help break down barriers and eliminate challenges for prospective partners competing for Agency funding. As a result of hosting these sessions, USAID/India has seen an increase in interest from the local organizations in USAID procurements. These events have also led to an improvement in the quality of applications received from local organizations in response to the Mission’s recently announced funding opportunities.
“Not many local organizations are aware about USAID and the interesting development work that we do in India,” noted Vandana Vats, Senior Acquisition and Assistance Specialist. “Hence, the Local Partner Resource Day is an important platform to bring the new organizations to know about the available opportunities and to learn the process of how to work with USAID.”
Feedback from the Local Partner Resource Days was overwhelmingly positive. One participant noted that the session “provided a comprehensive understanding of USAID’s processes. Presentations were concise, yet detailed, and conveyed USAID’s intention of engaging local partners.” Another shared, “It was a great forum to meet organizations working across the continuum of the development landscape and to understand the USAID mechanism better.” The Mission also heard anecdotally that two organizations that connected at a Local Partner Resource Day went on to partner together to apply for a USAID award.
The USAID/India Mission plans to continue to host these events, with four sessions lined up for this coming fiscal year. Presentation materials and discussion activities will be tailored as participants provide more feedback.
Local organizations in India that wish to be informed about upcoming Local Partner Resources Days can follow the USAID/India Mission on LinkedIn and can also watch for event notifications posted on SAM.gov, Grants.gov, and the WorkwithUSAID.gov Events page. Organizations outside India can follow their local USAID Mission to watch for similar events, and they can also access the wide variety of partnership resources available on WorkwithUSAID.gov.