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KRT Impact Blog

Agency Highlight: USAID

 The Administrator for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Rajiv Shah, released his Annual Letter on March 19th. This report details some really great examples of USAID projects that are bringing meaningful changes in people’s lives throughout the world and I would recommend taking a look at the full report.   

Logo for USAID

Given the recent release of the letter, and the upcoming release of the President’s Budget – I thought now would be a great time to take a quick dive into one of the Agencies that I have always followed closely, and perhaps convince some organizations to take a look at doing some work with the Agency.

As a starting point the Agency for International Development is really one of the three pillars of US foreign policy (the other two being Defense and State). However, with the current economic and budget environment in the United States – I am concerned that we may turn more inward and diminish both our funding and our efforts on the international development stage. As someone who has always had a great interest in international development, and believed strongly in the good works that the United States does throughout the world – I’m hopeful that USAID gets the funding they need to continue their work.

Looking at the past US Federal budget we can see that USAID’s Budget Authority is relatively small (approx. $5-$6B a year), especially compared to many of the other US Federal Agencies. (If interested in more detailed budget information or how we arrived at our numbers please feel free to contact us). However the impact of that funding is quite extraordinary, especially in some of the most impoverished regions of the world.

Budget for USAID from FY2009 to FY 203

USAID’s focus areas include:

  • Agriculture and Food Security
  • Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance
  • Economic Growth and Trade
  • Education
  • Environment and Global Climate Change
  • Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment
  • Global Health
  • Science Technology and Innovation
  • Water and Sanitation
  • Working in Crises and Conflict

One of the overlooked cases (in my mind) of an amazing USAID success story is the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) – which I am sure most Americans are unaware of. This program has been running since 2003 and has delivered amazing results in bringing down the infection rate and death rate from AIDS – especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.  

Between 2004 and 2007, the difference in the annual change in the number of HIV-related deaths was 10.5% lower in the focus countries than in the control countries (P = 0.001). The difference in trends between the groups before 2003 was not significant.” Annals of Internal Medicine – May, 2009

Where does the Funding Go?

The follow list highlights the biggest recipients of assistance from USAID in Fiscal Year 2012 – and while the funding does lean heavily toward Afghanistan and Pakistan; there is also significant funding that targets countries in Africa and other regions of Asia.

Top 20 Country’s Receiving USAID Assistance for FY2012

Top country recipients from USAID 2012

Doing Business with USAID

If you are looking for a US Federal Agency to work with – and one where you are supporting or executing some incredible programs and projects that can really impact and change lives. I would recommend taking a look at USAID – they have a great history of working with many contractors including small businesses (make sure you reach out to their Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization).

Keep an eye out for USAID’s Vendor outreach sessions, which are held throughout the year. However, be aware that due to sequestration a lot of Agencies have been cancelling or postponing their industry outreach sessions – so it pays to be proactive!

Are there are any Agencies that you have a great experience working with? And are there any pros or cons that come from working with Large vs. Smaller Federal Agencies? Feel free to reach out to us with any comments or questions at !