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Above: A nurse visits a mother at home in Naturumn Village, Uganda, to follow up on her recent birth. (Jhpiego/Guido Dingemans)

Navigating the Turbulent Waters of Federal Compliance

Posted July 10, 2015

Next week, the Financing For Development Conference will begin in Ethiopia, and the international community will gather to consider progress made in financing development, the evolving cooperative landscape, and how innovative financing can accelerate progress in the SDG era.

Below is a blog from MCSP Program Officer Kelsey Reiff on the need to provide budgeting and reporting support along side technical assistance when helping civil society organizations on the ground.

“Going local” is an increasingly popular notion. But what does it mean?

For those of us in development, it means reaching beneficiaries as close to the ground as possible. However, this is often easier said than done – with the challenges greater than simply advancing local nonprofits in their respective technical fields. An equal emphasis must be put on the development of administrative and financial capacities of recipient organizations.

At USAID’s Maternal Child Survival Program (MCSP), we aim to supply both capital and knowledge when “going local.” In addition to providing technical support, we help civil society organizations (CSOs) to develop their budgeting, reporting, and compliance skills.

Receiving money from the United States Government comes with many strings attached, and compliance regulations can be overwhelming for small, first-time recipients. Budget development is one hurdle, as is understanding “allowable costs” and regulations governing equipment purchases. Documents are long, complex and often not in the native language of CSO staff.

MCSP plans to develop tools to put local CSOs in the best position possible to compete for funding from major international donors. By explaining regulations and reporting requirements, we hope to help them understand budgeting and forecasting processes.

Ideally, local organizations could apply directly for grants from the US government and other donors with confidence. But the reality of strict regulatory requirements mean there is much to be done by international organizations acting as mentors, facilitators and guides. In this way, MCSP hopes to help CSOs navigate the turbulent waters of federal compliance, and remove barriers to success that have too often kept these smaller, local organizations from securing funds.

Maternal and Child Survival Program