ROAA & RFMO Readout - March 2017

Speeches Shim

Regional Office of Acquisition and Assistance & Regional Financial Management Office

Quarterly Publication by Hala Elattar

In the spotlight: Ahmedabad – Gujarat, SEWA, English Helper UMC

Developing the Capacity of USAID Implementing Partners: USAID/India Grants Compliance Course

Acting Mission Director: Idris Diaz

Regional Controller: Amr Elattar

The Trainers: Jeff Bell and Joe Steele

The participants: Implementing Partners and USAID staff

On Monday February 27, 2017, USAID/India welcomed 22 implementing partners from different sectors to its seventh Grants and Cooperative Agreement Course at the Leela Palace Hotel. Acting Mission Director Mr. Idris Diaz kicked off the conference with opening remarks. USAID/India Regional Controller Amr Elattar welcomed and encouraged the participants to engage and to take advantage of each other’s expertise. This five-day training is part of USAID/India’s Local Capacity Building program. It engages local partners and USAID staff to improve their understanding of USAID policies and effectively manage USAID grants and cooperative agreements. Thirteen USAID/India staff also participated in the training. To date, USAID/India has trained 177 local partners’ staff from 64 different prime and sub recipient organizations. Additionally, 67 USAID/India and USAID/Sri Lanka staff completed the training (including Agreement Officer’s Representatives, Project Management Specialists, Financial Management Specialists, Financial management staff and Procurement staff). 

Trainers Jeffrey Bell and Joseph Steele introduced the participants to the course and engaged them in activities that introduced the Legal Landscape, U.S Government Structure and the Hierarchy of Rules. Sessions such as Branding and Marking, Gender Integration, and Financial and Audit Management were presented by USAID staff.

Upcoming Training Opportunity

USAID/ lndia Grant Compliance Course

June 5 - 9, 2017

The Leela Palace, New  Delhi

Visit Us­with-us/partnership-opportunities­usaid/resources-for-partners

Financial Management was presented by AMR Elattar, Director of the Regional Financial Management Office and Jyothi Krishnamoorthy, Chief Accountant.

Partners in attendance:



Digital Green lnnovari

IPE Global

Kaivalya Education Foundation


Plan India SAATHI

Selco Foundation University of Chicago

RFMO/ROAA TIPS: 5 Steps to Credit a VAT Refund to Your Award

  1. Partners submit original invoice to USAID:

Partners submit original invoices of purchases with a value of more than 1,500 INR (excluding VAT) before the 10th of the following month. Failure to do so can result in a disallowed cost during an audit.

  1. Consolidation of all invoices:

RFMO consolidates all invoices from partners and sends them to the Government of India.

  1. Refund of VAT to USG:

Government of India refunds the total VAT to the U.S Embassy. Embassy informs USAID of the receipt of the money.

  1. Credit of VAT refund to projects:

USAID allocates and credits the project obligation with the VAT refund.

  1. For credits at the end of an award, the AO has two options:

  2. Allow the credit to be used by the implementing partner for additional activities. OR

  3. Deobligate the money and send it to the U.S. Treasury.

Developed by USAID/India’s Regional Financial Management Office and Regional Office of Acquisition and Assistance and the Central and South Asia Acquisition and Assistance Innovation Lab in support of Local Capacity Building.

Spotlight: Urban Management Center (UMC), Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA), and English Helper Education Technologies

In January, USAID/India set its compass to Gujarat and visited three of its projects in Ahmedabad.

Urban Management Center

Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)

English Helper

Urban Management Centre (UMC):

UMC is introducing students from municipal schools to concepts to water sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Students are becoming the ambassadors of change and are bringing their learning to their homes and neighborhood.

USAID/India visited Shahibang Municipal School Campus on January 30, 2017.

UMC is also working with City Corporation to teach them they have a role and the responsibility to provide sewer lines and household toilets to schools, to maintain their premises, and to provide salaries to sanitary workers.

UMC is also building sewer lines and household toilets in seven slums.

(Left picture) Students playing a cord game to reinforce good sanitation practices.

(Quote from the picture) “We will follow every instruction every day to maintain hygiene practices in school and at home”.

When asked how they felt about the work they do, one student said: “Very good, I teach my parents and I make sure my mom cleans and doesn’t throw garbage in the neighbor’s house”.

(Right Picture) After every activity, students take a pledge to maintain cleanliness, hygiene, and sanitation practices.

Self Employed Women’s Association on (SEWA):

SEWA started activities in Afghanistan in June 2008 at the Bagh-e-Zanana garden in Kabul. With support from the Government of India, SEWA established the vocational training center at Kabul and developed a cadre of 30 local master trainers (MTs) to run the training center.

Since June 2008, these MTs have trained more than 4000 poor/destitute/widow women. These women have organized and formed their own local association, Sabah Bagh-e-Khazana Social Association (SBKSA), which registered as an NGO with the Afghan Ministry of Social Justice in the year 2010.

We interviewed Afghan trainees who were in their last few days of the garment stitching training for Master Trainers. The women were proud of what they had learned during the training and were eager to return to Afghanistan and apply their skills.

One trainee, whose name will remain undisclosed to protect her identity, shared her story with us:

“My father was beaten up in Kunduz by Taliban. My family is now in Mazar-i-Sharif. I have a mother, two younger brothers who are still studying and two younger sisters who are married. I'm the eldest. The responsibility of running the family is on me. At least for now I won't get married; I just want to take care of my family. When I heard about this program, I decided I'll take the training...I want a better future".

English Helper:

English Helper in partnership with USAID is focused on helping improve reading standards in government schools. Their software "Read to Me" is designed to enhance English proficiency and is aligned with State Government syllabus. The use of pictures, direct translations, and voice narration has helped tremendously with comprehension and pronunciation.

The program is taught to grades 6, 7, and 8 three times per week and has proved to be very beneficial to both the students and the teachers.

“We’ve been adapting this program for the last three years. It's quite good, all the teachers are very happy because they are also learning from the software and are able to teach English more effectively. Compared to other government schools who don't use the software, our students read better." Dipak Pandit, Principal.

 ”I like learning English, if I go to another country, English will be helpful and it's also helpful to find a job." Kushiya - 13 years old.

"I want to learn English so I can read government documents and newspaper, and so I can find a job." Nittin - 16 years old.

Latest News in USAID:

USAID/India welcomes its new Mission Director Mr. Mark A. White

Tuesday, March 7, 2017, New Delhi – Mark A. White joined the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in India as the new Mission Director. Mr. White assumes leadership as USAID leverages India’s growing human and financial resources through partnerships that catalyze innovation and entrepreneurship to solve critical local and global development challenges.  He was sworn in on February 24 in Washington D.C. by USAID Acting Administrator Wade Warren.

A former United States Peace Corps volunteer, Mr. White worked in over 30 countries across four continents. Prior to arriving in New Delhi, Mr. White was assigned to the U.S. Army War College as a Professor --teaching a course in International Development, as well as working on selected peace-keeping and stability research topics, and academic seminars.

He also served as the Acting Mission Director of USAID/Angola and Deputy Mission Director of USAID/Haiti during 2013-2016.  In 2012, Mr. White was named as USAID's Senior Development Advisor to the Department of Defense's United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) based in Stuttgart, Germany. In this role, Mr. White helped coordinate development projects and advised the four-star Commander and his staff on strategies to integrate and synchronize defense activities with development and humanitarian assistance.

From 2002-2012, Mr. White also served as USAID Mission Director to Timor-Leste; Director of the Office of Social Sector Reform in Afghanistan; and Director of the Public Health Office in Cambodia. He began his career with USAID in 1995 and served as a health officer in both Zambia (1996) and Egypt (2000).  

Mr. White received numerous awards and citations for his development work including a Meritorious Honor Award, the Award of Collaboration from the U.S. Navy/Seabees, the Department of Defense Medal of Recognition, the Franklin Award, and several awards of achievement.  He also received the Presidential Gold Medal of Achievement for his work in Cambodia and a Special Achievement Award in Health for team work in Afghanistan.  

Mr. White received a Bachelor of Science degree from Xavier University of Louisiana and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is married to Mrs. Chan Theary White.

New Webpage for Implementing Partners: RESOURCES FOR IMPLEMENTING PARTNERS (RFIP)

As part of USAID/India's continuing focus on compliance issues and ongoing efforts to enhance our collaboration with our implementing partners to achieve our development objectives, the Regional Office of Acquisition and Assistance (ROAA) and the Regional Financial Management Office (RFMO) are pleased to present you with their new page Resources For Implementing Partners (RFIP).

This page includes Guides, Infographics and Newsletters specially developed for our Implementing Partners. As always we like to hear from you, please direct your questions and suggestions to Prateek Nanda at and Hala Elattar at

Submission of Annual Certifications regarding Trafficking In Persons Compliance Plans

ATTN: All recipients that have an award, in which the estimated value of the services to be performed outside the United States exceeds $500,000.  

If your award contains the “Trafficking in Persons” standard provision dated on or after July 2015, then you are hereby reminded to provide your Agreement Officer with an annual certification regarding your trafficking in persons compliance plan.  This annual certification is award-based and therefore must be submitted for “each” applicable award (including Associate awards).  Recipients are responsible for submitting the certification to the Agreement Officer by the anniversary date of the award.

Implementing Partners Focus Group Meeting

USAID/India sponsored a Focus Group meeting on January 13, 2017.

Ten Implementing Partners from different sectors attended the meeting and were able to share their organization’s challenges in managing USAID award(s). During the meeting, USAID/India staff discussed the resources that the Mission currently offers such as the Grants and Cooperative Agreements Compliance Course and the quarterly newsletter, and shared additional resources for their feedback.

ROAA and RFMO anticipate hosting more of these focus group meetings with the implementing partners at least quarterly to expand their capacity in managing USAID awards.


REQUEST FOR APPROVALS (To the recipients): As specified in your award, all required approvals must be obtained in advance from the Contracting/Agreement Officer (C/AO). Note that the C/AO is increasingly not granting retroactive approvals. Please be advised, failure by the Implementing Partner to obtain required approvals, may result in disallowed costs, especially if these issues are flagged during an audit. Implementing Partners are reminded again to read and comply with the award terms and conditions. We also strongly encourage our Implementing Partners to conduct periodic internal reviews as an ongoing best practice.

REQUEST FOR ACCRUALS (To the AORs): As specified in your Agreement Officer's Designation Letter, you must develop accrued expenditures on a quarterly basis in accordance with, and instructions from M/CFO or the Mission Controller. Please note that you must accomplish this task using information on hand and MUST NOT interpret this requirement as authority to request any additional financial reports from the recipient.

USAID/India AOR of the Quarter & AOR of the Year (2016)

Congratulations to Amrita Goswami for winning the AOR of the Quarter Award.

(Sept. - Dec. 2016)

Congratulations to Srivalli Krishnan for winning the AOR of the Year Award.

The AOR/COR of the Quarter/Year Award is intended to acknowledge and to demonstrate appreciation for exemplary competence and reliability of USAID/India Agreement/Contracting Officer's Representative.

The Mission AOR of the Quarter is selected after an in-depth review process. First, the Regional Office of Acquisition and Assistance (ROAA) Portfolio Managers review nominations of high-performing AORs from their portfolios. Next, the Supervisory Agreement Officer carefully considers each candidate's competence, reliability and A&A teamwork (relationship with ROAA, the rest of the Mission and the Implementing Partners s/he manages). Finally, the Nominee has to be cleared by her/his Technical Office Director for consideration before final approval by the Front Office. The AOR of the Quarter receives a certificate, an On The Spot cash award, and a traveling trophy. From the 4 AORs of the Quarter, ROAA selects the AOR of the Year who receives a permanent trophy and a plaque displayed by the Front Office.

Hot Topics

This section is meant to provide guidance in the form of Q&A. We encourage you to submit your question(s) to We will address them and feature the answer. We hope you will find this section helpful and informative.

Q: Can a grantee spend more than the budgeted amount in any of the budgeted line items mentioned in the agreement?

A: If the schedule of the Agreement so specifies, a recipient can transfer or realign funds among direct cost categories of the award budget, when the cumulative amount of such transfers does not exceed 10% of the total award amount, as last approved by the Agreement Officer. No prior approval of the Agreement Officer is required in such cases. However, the Agreement Officer's prior written approval is required, when the cumulative amount of such transfers exceeds or is expected to exceed 10 % of the total award amount.

If the schedule of the Agreement does not contain the 10% limitation, the recipient can transfer funds among direct cost categories of the award budget freely, without any restriction. As a best practice, however, please keep the Agreement Officer's Representative (AOR) in the loop when budget shifts become necessary.

Note that in either case, the Agreement Officer's prior written approval is required for any changes in cost categories like Construction, Recipient Contacted Audit and Indirect Costs (if authorized).

Please direct questions or comments about this newsletter to Hala Elattar at


Issuing Country 
Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 1:30pm