Co-Created Research Initiatives

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Quick Facts

Managed by

USAID Office of Local Sustainability (E3/LS)

Launched in





Generating evidence and learning to drive a more effective approach to locally led development. USAID’s Office of Local Sustainability has supported research and development on ways to support locally led development through the Broad Agency Announcement process.

Recognizing that it did not have all of the answers related to locally led development, the Office of Local Sustainability (E3/LS) released a Broad Agency Announcement. Through this process, E3/LS looked to connect with thought leaders in the international community. E3/LS looks to collaborate with the top thought leaders in the development space to harness the power of science, technology, innovation, and partnerships to generate new knowledge, tools, and approaches that empower local actors and contribute to USAID’s knowledge and practice of locally led development.

Program Details

Recognizing USAID’s emphasis on co-creation with local stakeholders and increasing direct awards to local organizations, E3/LS released the Broad Agency Announcement for Locally Led Development Innovation. The Broad Agency Announcement for Locally Led Development Innovation provides an umbrella structure under which Missions and Operating Units (OUs) can post Addenda seeking local solutions to development challenges. As an Agency leader in co-creation with local organizations, E3/LS provides technical support and facilitation to all USAID Missions and OUs seeking to use this mechanism. OUs  seeking to learn more can contact

Working with leaders from Missions and OUs across USAID, E3/LS identified five key research topics that represent ongoing gaps in USAID’s knowledge and practice of locally led development. These five research topics formed E3/LS’ Addendum, “New Directions in Advancing Locally Led Development” which was released in May 2019. The goal is to identify innovative ways to increase local leadership and local ownership within developing countries, while also improving enabling environments for locally led development to succeed.

Eligibility and Requirements

The Broad Agency Announcement for Locally Led Development Innovation (BAA) supports co-created research initiatives to catalyze locally led development in developing countries. Please note that the BAA does not serve as a general solicitation for submissions. Instead, interested applicants must respond to specific Addenda that may be issued throughout the year by USAID Missions and Operating Units. To learn more, visit the tab titled “Related Documents” to see if a current opportunity exists for your specific country and sector.

New co-created research initiatives, resulting from the ongoing co-creation process under E3/LS’s Addendum to the Broad Agency Announcement for Locally Led Development Innovation, are in development.

Program Examples (2017 - 2020)

In 2015, USAID embarked on a co-creation process by posing the following questions to the leading thinkers in locally led development:

  1. How can USAID more effectively support locally led development?
  2. What are some of the challenges that need to be addressed in order to reach this goal?

The following are examples of the research conducted to answer these questions:

Stopping As Success (SAS)

Stopping As Success examined how donors like USAID can effectively, responsibly, and sustainably support local actors to identify and act on their own development priorities and effectively navigate a transition from international to local ownership away from donor funding.

Peace Direct, with Search for Common Ground and CDA Collaborative Learning Projects, studied responsible international non-governmental organization (INGO) exits in 13 countries. SAS seeks to raise INGOs’ and donors’ awareness of the multiple dynamics at play when ending a development program - and provide key lessons and tools to facilitate sustainable transitions to local ownership.

Local Systems Practice (LSP)

LINC with ANSER, AVSI, Practical Action, University of Missouri, and University of Notre Dame enhanced locally led development by using systems-based tools and approaches to facilitate improved understanding of the complex systems within which local actors operate.

LSP delivered a three-module systems training course for local development organizations from across Latin America and Asia. LSP also worked directly with three Local Works Missions – Macedonia, Morocco, and the Philippines – to co-create and pilot systems-based initiatives.

Facilitating Financial Stability (FFS)

LINC with Peace Direct and Foundation Center studied the factors that influence the financial sustainability of civil society organizations in different contexts - with the goal of increasing local ownership of development.

FFS’ topics included: resource mobilization through social enterprise; financial sustainability in non-permissive environments; and non-financial resources. Its applied research activities took place in Colombia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Capacity 2.0

Root Change with Keystone Accountability tested  alternative approaches for supporting, sustaining, and measuring locally-led development in Malawi. Capacity 2.0 also developed a platform for collecting constituent feedback and mapping system actors.

These four co-created research initiative awards ended in Spring 2020.

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For more information about the Co-Created Research Initiatives, please contact

To learn more about E3/LS’ other programs, visit the Office of Local Sustainability's webpage.