Local Works

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Quick Facts

Managed by

USAID Office of Local Sustainability (E3/LS)

Launched in


Local Works Missions:

Round 5
FY 2019:
Eastern and Southern Caribbean, Guinea, India, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Turkmenistan

Round 4
FY 2018:
Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kenya, Kosovo, Nepal, Paraguay, Timor-Leste, and Zimbabwe

Round 3
FY 2017: Armenia, Bangladesh, Burma, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Uganda, West Africa Regional

Round 2
FY 2016: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Philippines

Round 1
FY 2015: Malawi, Morocco, Serbia, Vietnam

Discretionary Funds

Local Works’ five-year funds may be used in any sector and need not necessarily align with a Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS).

Local Works Guidance

View the complete list of Local Works frequently asked questions, or listen to the webinar recording.

In Burma, Local Works is using locally led development to address the drug crisis in Kachin state. This video explores how the epidemic is affecting the lives of local people, and how USAID/Burma is bringing together local stakeholders to identify shared priorities and lead change in their communities.

Working with USAID Missions to drive innovation and experimentation in locally led development. Local Works is the Agency’s flagship locally led development program. Local Works looks to advance locally led development in countries around the world, while also enhancing USAID’s ability to support local actors in achieving self-reliance.

Locally led development means local people are empowered to take the lead in the development process, including priority-setting, decision-making, management, and more. USAID is committed to helping partner countries achieve self-reliance and meet their own development challenges, while also ensuring that U.S. taxpayer investments produce sustainable, long-term development outcomes. Local leadership of the development process is key to achieving these objectives.

With five-year discretionary funds, Local Works provides Missions more time and greater freedom to pursue locally led programming and innovative ways of working. Local Works provides USAID Missions with resources, tools, and opportunities to try new development approaches that are more flexible, locally responsive, and locally sustainable.

Program Details

Local Works provides five-year discretionary funding to USAID Missions that are awarded through an annual competition. With Local Works funding, USAID Missions may:

  • Develop and test flexible solutions to overcome operational challenges to advancing locally owned development within USAID
  • Explore and use systems approaches to achieve sustainable outcomes with local actors
  • Launch new programming that focuses on and tests approaches to local leadership
  • Adapt existing programming to enable greater local ownership of the development process and improved results

Eligibility and Requirements


Learning Priorities

Local Works empowers USAID Missions to innovate and experiment. Local Works  includes a focus on learning about several priority topics and approaches to help advance locally led development:

  • Acquisition and assistance. New paths to partnership that support local ownership, such as co-creation workshops, donor exit strategies, piloting innovative procurement approaches, and experimenting with new funding approaches, are just a few ways to empower local partners to lead the development process.
  • Feedback mechanisms. Supporting the flow of information between local constituents, development partners, and USAID improves engagement, program effectiveness, and accountability to local stakeholders (as well as U.S. taxpayers).
  • Systems- and networks-based analytical approaches. Allowing USAID and its partners to better understand the complex environments in which they operate, the role each plays (or should play) in those systems, and ultimately the development challenge at hand - and how that can be overcome through local systems and by local actors.
  • Participatory decision-making, including priority-setting, collaborative design, and other means of devolving control from USAID to local development actors, and ensuring inclusive local leadership.
  • Mobilizing local resources, including the government, civil society, the local private sector, community philanthropy, faith-based organizations, and academia, as well other sources of local skills and finances, to replace those of international donors.
  • Strengthening local networks, which includes expanding the capacity of local organizations that support networks of other local organizations and cooperatives, market facilitation, and other demand-driven approaches to connect local needs with local resources.
  • Flexibility in USAID mission operations, including approaches that emphasize experimentation and innovation in overcoming internal constraints while providing critical learning opportunities to build USAID and local partner capacities.
  • Supporting strategic transitions from foreign donors to local resources, including strengthening the abilities of local institutions and actors to sustain outcomes, mobilize local  resources, and address challenges, with an eye toward ending the need for foreign assistance.

Local Works Mission Examples

Bangladesh: Rehabilitating Natural Resources in Cox’s Bazar

In Bangladesh, the influx of nearly one million refugees resulting from the Rohingya humanitarian crisis into already impoverished communities in Cox’s Bazar has led to a complex emergency that has depleted environmental resources inside and outside of refugee camps.

Local Works programming looks to address that. Through co-development of context-specific interventions with local actors, USAID will support communities impacted by this crisis to sustainably rehabilitate natural resources and cultivate alternative livelihoods.

Dominican Republic: Improving Livelihoods along the Haitian Border

The Dominican Republic’s border region with Haiti has much higher poverty rates than the rest of the country. The region is also prone to crime and illicit activities that drive violence, instability, and other security threats that impact the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and the United States.

By strengthening local organizations, Local Works programming seeks to reduce the rates of crime and other illicit activities. This process is informed and led by local actors, and USAID is also linking local networks to national decision makers. This locally led approach will guide future USAID programming and other donors interested in finding sustainable solutions to development challenges along the border region.

Malawi: Listening to Support Local Ownership

In Malawi, USAID is seeking to support local ownership through better understanding the roles of traditional authorities and religious community leaders.

Through Local Works, USAID has conducted extensive listening sessions and partnered with Malawian research firms to better understand the roles of traditional authorities and religious community leaders. With this knowledge, USAID has been “co-creating” with local organizations to jointly develop innovative and locally driven approaches that will strengthen local leadership and ownership - and build the capacity of local organizations to solve development challenges.

Morocco: Advancing Civil Society

In the wake of the Arab Spring and the promulgation of a new constitution, USAID is supporting the development of civil society in Morocco.

USAID is investing in organizations to advocate on behalf of Moroccan citizens, including women, youth, and disabled populations. Through Local Works, USAID has partnered with five respected local organizations. These organizations are collaborating with and mentoring hundreds of other organizations, associations, and local officials to deliver results long after donor funding ends.

Serbia: Mobilizing Community Philanthropy

Mobilizing local resources is essential to helping partner countries achieve self-reliance. Community philanthropy is one such example, mobilizing both local resources and community members to support development efforts.

In Serbia, USAID and local partners are increasing community philanthropy to address development challenges. Through the Local Works Framework for Giving, and spearheaded by the Prime Minister, the Philanthropy Council declared October 9 as Serbia’s National Day of Giving. The Philanthropy Council includes members of civil society, the private sector, and the government. Through Local Works, the Philanthropy Council has created working groups to improve the enabling environment for giving, such as supporting an increase in the non-taxable amount allocated for education scholarships.

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For more information about the Local Works Program, please contact localworks@usaid.gov

To learn more about our other programs, visit the Office of Local Sustainability's webpage.