USAID Announces First-Ever Local Capacity Strengthening Policy

Two Indian women sitting together and talking.

USAID has released its first-ever Local Capacity Strengthening (LCS) Policy, which articulates the Agency’s commitment to working collaboratively with local actors to achieve long-term sustainable change through equitable and effective capacity strengthening activities. The Policy will be officially launched in an online event with USAID Deputy Administrator Paloma Adams-Allen on October 19, 2022, at 8:00 a.m. ET. [Register to attend the event.] 

“Our success as an Agency is closely tied to our local partners’ strengths, so how we recognize, elevate, and learn from them matters for localizing aid.” – USAID Administrator Samantha Power

What’s groundbreaking about the LCS Policy is the unifying framework it provides for capacity strengthening throughout USAID programming, as well as the seven principles that the Policy lays out as a roadmap for program designers and implementers to turn this commitment into action. The Policy signals the direction the Agency plans to take in terms of ensuring that when activities incorporate local capacity strengthening, they do so intentionally and proactively to help local actors achieve their own vision for success.

“The new LCS Policy is about shifting power and centering local voices. The Policy focuses the Agency’s efforts on supporting local organizations’ ability to deliver smarter sustainable development results in their local context, rather than simply on their capacity to comply with USAID’s internal requirements and regulations,” said Adam Phillips, Executive Director of the Local, Faith, and Transformative Partnerships Hub.

The new Policy has been years in the making and builds on emerging consensus across the development landscape, extensive feedback from the partner community, and years of implementation experience and evidence. In fact, USAID has often practiced the principles established in the Policy and has recognized the benefits in terms of collaboration, sustainability, and effectiveness when these capacity strengthening principles are applied. Several case studies have been created as supplement resources to showcase local capacity strengthening in action. 

“The release of the LCS Policy is a watershed moment for the Agency. Never before has USAID policy codified an approach to capacity strengthening that begins with and builds on the work, skills, and knowledge of local actors,” stated Ghana Mission Director Kimberly Rosen.

The LCS Policy offers clear, tangible guidance that reflects the realities and different contexts in which local capacity strengthening activities occur. Central to the Policy are seven mutually reinforcing principles that are grouped into two themes: 

The Policy advances USAID’s localization efforts to ensure the Agency’s work puts local actors in the lead, strengthens local systems, and is responsive to local communities so that USAID contributes to more equitable, more effective, and more sustainable development and humanitarian results. Together, the principles and guidance outlined in the LCS Policy will help USAID support local actors to achieve their objectives, lead their communities’ development, and guide their countries’ future. 

Read the LCS Policy and join us for the policy’s official launch.

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