ROAA & RFMO Readout – September 2017

Speeches Shim


Regional Office of Acquisition and Assistance & Regional Financial Management Office

Quarterly Publication by Hala Elattar

In the spotlight: In the Spotlight: Centre for Youth & Social Development (CYSD)

Developing the Capacity of USAID Implementing Partners: USAID/India Post-Award Conference


On Monday August 28, 2017, USAID/India welcomed six staff members from Environmental Design Solutions (EDS) to a post-award conference to discuss the organization’s new award implementation.

USAID/India Regional Agreement Officer Chuck Pope and Regional Controller Amr Elattar kicked off the event with opening remarks. The post-award conference included an overview of the Cooperative Agreement and highlighted the recipient’s responsibilities.

Sessions on Financial Management and Branding were presented by USAID staff. During the conference, the Implementing Partner and USAID staff addressed questions and concerns to enhance their understanding of USAID policies to effectively administer their award.

The purpose of this Award is to support sustainable market transformation for energy efficiency in buildings and air conditioning sectors in India, through cutting edge technology, innovative business models, and end-user engagement. This Program addresses the energy use concerns in buildings and air conditioning to directly improve comfort, health, productivity, and the quality of life of building occupants. The core of this activity is developing and supporting innovative business models and engaging private sector energy service companies to leverage resources for large-scale impact. The activities are being undertaken in partnership with the Energy Efficiency Services Limited, EESL (India’s largest public energy service company), Bureau of energy Efficiency, Ministry of Power, Indian Railways (the largest power consumer in India), and other public and private sector partners. Buildings and air conditioning are two sectors, which already have a large business and trade between U.S. and India. Leading companies are working with green building rating bodies by providing state of the art energy efficiency solutions to the Indian markets. The Program aims to expand business opportunities in the building and air-conditioning sectors where U.S companies have a competitive advantage.



RFMO TIPS: 6 Steps to select an audit firm for a Recipient Contracted Audit (RCA)

  1. Complete the standard audit statement of work (SOW) provided by RFMO.

  2. Submit the SOW to USAID RFMO for Controller approval.

  3. Send the RFP to the list of USAID-approved audit firms with the SOW.

  4. Follow your organizational procurement policies to select the audit firm.

  5. Seek RFMO’s approval for the audit firm and submit the audit agreement copy to RFMO.

  6. Proceed with the audit, starting with the entrance meeting.

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. 2.7.17

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ROAA Tips: Top 10 takeaways from a post-award kick-off meeting

  1. Read and understand the award, and again every year at work plan time.

  2. When in doubt, ASK!

  3. Submit clear request to the AO/CO

  4. Understand the responsibilities and limitations of the AOR/COR.

  5. Note USAID approval requirements: AO/CO and AOR/COR.

  6. Identify submission requirements to USAID: what, when and to whom.

  7. While not always mandatory, USAID provided templates ensure that the right information is reported.

  8. Understand your responsibilities and requirements to any sub-awardees and/or sub-contracts.

  9. Monitor funds regularly.

  10. Adhere to the branding and marking requirements.


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. 1.30.17

Thank you for making the Partners ‘Meeting a successful event!


Congratulations to USAID/India former partner Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) for winning the Equator Prize (2017), and to USAID/India partner Centre Youth and Social Development (CYSD) on its nomination for the award.

Swayam Shikshan Prayog:

Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) empowers 72,000 women in the drought-prone state of Maharashtra to act as decision-makers, improving their health and economic well-being. Engaging at the nexus of nutrition, sustainable agriculture, and gender, the initiative has created 5,500 self-help and saving groups that support women to engage as farmers, entrepreneurs, and leaders. SSP trains women to negotiate with their families to obtain their own plot of land for cultivation, usually about 0.4 hectares each. Low-input sustainable farming techniques -- including efficient water use, organic farming, mixed cropping, and increased crop cycles – enable the women to improve food security, increase climate resilience, enhance agrobiodiversity, and reduce stress on water resources. Through these projects, women develop capacity to influence household decision-making, improve nutrition, and increase water availability in the region. The initiative provides a space for local women to co-create their own development solutions and to connect with likeminded women and organizations to spread their knowledge and expertise in a broader network, creating a mechanism for widespread sustainable change.

Centre Youth and Social Development (CYSD):

Centre for Youth and Social Development (CYSD) not only empowers women to produce, gather, and sell; but also to conserve and revitalize the land, water and forest on which they depend for their livelihoods. There is an incremental income of 30-45% of their base income due to the collective marketing initiatives by the 4000 tribal women producers. There are many case stories of women producers who used this incremental income to repay a loan, or buy livestock, or build their own houses. In addition, there has been a noticeable change in their confidence, their communication and negotiation skills, and their market awareness and knowledge.

The Equator Prize recognizes outstanding local and indigenous community initiatives from across the planets that are advancing innovative on-the-ground solutions to climate, environment and poverty challenges.  


In the Spotlight: Centre for Youth & Social Development (CYSD): Strengthening Forest and Forest-based Livelihoods in Odisha


The goal of the project is to improve the forest conditions and enhance the income of the forest dependent communities in five blocks of Koraput district in south Odisha.

Koraput district, one of the most backward tribal dominated districts in south Odisha, depends on the forest for its livelihood. Forest dependent livelihood includes income from non-timber forest products (NTFPs), and is labour intensive with women playing an important role in collection and post-collection operations. CYSD’s program aims to improve the forest conditions, and to enhance the income of the people by at least 30% through NTFP/agriculture/horticulture based livelihoods interventions.

The approach:

  • Build strong producer groups around NTFPs and product development through adding value in the supply chain.

  • Build the capacity of the community for forest protection and undertake alternative livelihoods options to increase their income and improve forest conditions.

  • Leverage resources and build strategic linkages with mainstream development programs to sustain it beyond its life.


Project Impact:

Includes but is not limited to:

  • Approximately 1600 community members (75% of which include women members, have been trained on farming, agroforestry, forest protection and enterprise promotion.

  • Agroforestry demonstrated in 105 hectares through project support.

  • 4383 T of CO2 has been sequestered through CYSD’s interventions in agroforestry, forest protection/regeneration and collective farming.

  • Collective farming demonstrated in 216 hectares including vegetables, pulses, millets and maize. There is a 20% increase in productivity of crops due to improved agricultural practices such as line sowing, use of trellis, organic compost, indigenous and high yielding seeds.

  • Around 3800 tribal households out of 4000 have been linked to market either individually or collectively. Initial analysis indicates an increase in income of forest-dependent communities as a result of these interventions by 35-40%.

  • 5 Producer Assistance Hubs have been established at strategic points to provide market information, business support services, access to mainstream programs, knowledge on quality parameters and consumer preferences to the producers/collectors.

  • 30 Community Resource Persons trained to provide services to the producer group members for bookkeeping, planning and monitoring, accessing mainstream programs, market information, enduring product quality, etc.

  • Around 2287 households out of 4000 have been linked with mainstream development programs on agroforestry, community farming and forest regeneration.

“Besides the challenges, the journey has been very insightful in terms of experience and learning while working with the women producers and collectors in one of the least developed districts of the state.” Seema Gupta Monitoring, Evaluation and Documentation Expert (CYSD).

In the Spotlight: Kusumguda: sowing the seeds of change

Karagudi Kupli forest, bordering the village of Kusumguda, had suffered a great deterioration in 2009 due to excessive collection of fuel wood and unsustainable harvesting practices by the villagers.

CYSD took the initiative to orient the villagers on the importance of the forest, its protection and regeneration. As a result, in 2015, the villagers established a committee and pledged to protect the forest. They pledged to ban cutting the trees and branches, stone mining, forest fire, hunting, and grazing. Under the guidance of the Forest Department, the villagers proceeded to clean the entire forest, cut down the disease-affected branches, and cleared the weeds. In six months the results were noticeable: The trees had sprouted and the density of forest had increased. The villagers were very happy to see the results of their hard work and understood the importance of protecting the forest.



Latest News in USAID


USAID/India welcomes its new Deputy Mission Director Ms. Ramona El Hamzaoui

Ramona El Hamzaoui arrived in New Delhi in July 2017 as the Deputy Mission Director, supporting the Mission Director in overseeing operations and programming. She was previously posted to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where she also served as USAID Deputy Mission Director. Prior to Ethiopia, Ramona served four years in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where she managed several presidential initiatives under the economic development portfolio. Ramona has served with USAID for more than 16 years. This includes assignments as acting mission director for nine months and assistant director/program officer for more than three years in Rabat, Morocco and work as an agriculture officer for two years and democracy officer for three years in Bogota, Colombia focused on human rights, local governance and access to justice programs. Prior to joining USAID, Ramona worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the International Cooperation/Research and Scientific Exchanges Division supporting Middle East Peace Process scientific exchange programs. She worked for five years as an associate Peace Corps director in Morocco managing agriculture, environment and veterinary programs and two years for a private environmental consulting firm in Vermont. Prior to that, she worked in the International Programs Office at the University of Maine. A native of New England, Ramona holds a Master’s Degree in wildlife conservation from the University of Maine where she concentrated on the economic valuation of natural resources. She speaks French, Spanish and Moroccan Arabic. She is part of a USAID tandem couple and they are the proud parents of two children - one in university and one in high school.


USAID/India AOR of the Quarter (Q3 – 2017)

Congratulations to Apurva Chaturvedi for winning the AOR of the Quarter Award (April – June 2017).


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/COR 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/CORs from their portfolios.

Next, the Supervisory Agreement/Contracting 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 Mission Director. The AOR/COR of the Quarter receives a certificate, an On The Spot cash award, and a traveling trophy.


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: How do we issue payments when our advance is spent before the next allocated payment? How do we manage payments in the gap period?

A: When the advance is fully utilized before the end of the month for which it was taken, either of the following ways can be used to make payments:

  1. Use your own funds to make the payments beyond the extent of the advance and quickly submit the request for liquidation of the advance and reimbursement of own funds that was used to make payments under the project; or

  2. Submit a liquidation voucher and request for additional advance stating the reasons for your request.

Using your own funds to make the interim payments is the best way to manage payments in the gap period. Also, maintaining a good periodicity in submitting liquidation and advance vouchers along with sound planning of the monthly activities helps avoid such situations.
Please direct questions or comments about this newsletter to Hala Elattar at

Issuing Country 
Friday, September 22, 2017 - 3:45pm