Division Descriptions

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Civil Society and Media

The Civil Society and Media (CSM) Division provides technical leadership and support on civil society issues, including youth, labor and media. The division generates comparative knowledge on effective approaches for strengthening the sector; pilots state-of-the-art approaches to civil society and media support; builds up the agency’s DRG staff through training and technical assistance; conducts assessments, strategy, and program designs, and evaluations; and manages a targeted portfolio of global programs. The division promotes innovations in civil society, labor and media arenas -- including the use of social media and other new media technologies -- as a means for addressing development challenges. The team also represents USAID in international processes, networks, and working groups.

Cross-Sectoral Program

The sustainability of global development investments depends on strong institutions, citizen engagement, accountable governments, and equitable growth. Many development challenges persist because of the political context around them - they are as much about power dynamics as they are technical challenges. Global Health, Feed the Future, Global Climate Change and others are looking to DRG interventions to help deepen the impact and enhance the sustainability of their programs. The Cross-Sectoral Program (CSP) Division is committed to enhancing the impact and sustainability of programs across the Agency through the creation and promotion of methodologies, assessments, research, and collaborative platforms that rely on a deep understanding on the political context and can unlock solutions to intractable governance problems that constrain results in any sector. DRG integration is the intentional effort to embed participation, inclusion, transparency and accountability (PITA) in the work of other sectors, and offers a range of solutions that offer insight into intractable governance constraints and contextualize interventions. USAID staff can better understand how power and politics shape their sectors and use that understanding to make programming more effective. We have developed training and learning materials, including our Applied Political Economy Analysis tool, that teach officers how to apply this lens and how to build programs that are more politically savvy. The CSP Division has developed an Agency Key Issue to track the extent of cross-sectoral DRG collaboration across Agency operating units, and led a cross-Agency process to create the Agency Action Plan for Cross-Sectoral DRG Integration, signed by the Administrator in January 2015.

Empowerment and Inclusion

The Empowerment and Inclusion (EI) Division works to reduce risks to and reinforce the capacities of communities, local nongovernmental organizations and governments to provide services and protection for vulnerable populations. Programs, policies, and initiatives within the division help vulnerable populations gain access to opportunities that support their full participation in society. The EI portfolio has been at the forefront of developing state-of-the-art programming for children outside family care; in setting orthopedic, rehabilitation and wheelchair standards in developing countries; and in improving treatment and healing options for survivors of torture. It has also led worldwide policy change on barrier-free accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities in family and community. EI programs are collectively found in more than 70 countries around the world.

Elections and Political Transitions

The Elections and Political Transitions (EPT) Division provides technical leadership and support on elections and political transitions to USAID field Missions and Washington bureaus, other USG entities, and the broader DRG community. The EPT Division offers technical leadership on specific issues, such as electoral security, and delivers technical assistance in areas including political party development , electoral administration, election monitoring and observation, voter education, and the political participation of women and traditionally marginalized groups. The EPT Division also assists USAID Missions to develop electoral strategies, design programs, and implement and evaluate programs.

Governance and Rule of Law

The Governance and Rule of Law (GROL) Division supports activities to improve the accountability, transparency, and responsiveness of governing institutions, systems, and processes. GROL also promotes legal and regulatory frameworks that improve order and security, legitimacy, checks and balances, and equal application and enforcement of the law. These efforts include working with governments but also include promoting citizen participation and engagement in governance and rule of law activities to build confidence and assure rights, privileges, and obligations are equally accessible and fairly applied to all.

Global and Regional Policy

The Global and Regional Policy (GRP) Division supports the development and implementation of evidence-based DRG policies, strategies and budgets at the global, regional and country level. Specifically, the GRP Division leads the Center’s efforts in supporting country DRG assessments and strategies, and represents the DRG sector in the annual interagency Governing Justly and Democratically (GJD) budget formulation process, conducting analysis and advocacy to link global and country DRG funding with needs and opportunities as well as ensuring that budget levels are consistent with core policies and strategies. The GRP Division also engages within USAID and in interagency arenas to forge an effective link between U.S. diplomacy, policy, and programs regarding the promotion of DRG. Finally, GRP operates as an open team, actively soliciting input from Center staff to facilitate Center-wide engagement on certain strategy, policy and budget matters, and managing the Center’s country backstopping system.

Human Rights

The Human Rights (HR) Division strengthens the Agency’s expertise, technical knowledge, and field support resources for the protection and promotion of universally recognized human rights. HR defines protection to mean safeguarding civil and political rights — as well as other country-specific legal commitments to international instruments — that are intentionally denied or threatened. The HR Division advances this mission by focusing on three areas: environment building to strengthen normative frameworks, actors and institutions that help prevent violations; response to mitigate the impact of ongoing violations, and remedy to provide redress to individual victims, combat impunity and seek accountability of perpetrators through judicial and non-judicial measures. Furthermore, the HR Division provides leadership on key issues such​ ​as​ ​countering​ ​trafficking in persons, atrocities prevention, and protecting the rights of LGBTI persons, among others.​ ​The HR Division manages the Human Rights Grants Program, and oversees a number of awards and mechanisms that serve Missions worldwide.


The DRG Strategy reaffirmed USAID’s commitment to “generate, analyze, and disseminate rigorous, systematic, and publicly accessible evidence in all aspects of DRG policy, strategy and program development, implementation, and evaluation.” With this emphasis on Learning, the DRG Learning Division (L) is the focal point for USAID’s implementation of the DRG Learning Agenda -- a dynamic collection of research questions that serve to guide the DRG Center’s and USAID Field Missions’ analytical efforts. USAID seeks to inform DRG strategic planning and project design with the best theory, evidence, and practical guidance. In addition, the L Division manages the DRG Learning, Evaluation, and Research mechanism, which is comprised of two contracts with a combined ceiling of $58.4 million and with awards to the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago and Social Impact.

Strategic Planning

The Strategic Planning (SP) Division serves as the Center’s Program and Budget Office. SP supports the Center’s strategic development, ensures the alignment of activities with the DRG Strategy and Center objectives, and strengthens project design through the incorporation of best practices and cross sectoral integration. SP also interfaces with the Bureau for Resource Management and the Office of Foreign Assistance to plan for, manage and execute the Center’s budget, and drives data collection and reporting. Further, the SP Division advocates for Center programs and liaises with public and private actors to improve donor coordination and leads on strategic communications products. ​

Leadership and Training

The DRG Center seeks to build the training capacity of the DRG global cadre and to promote internal USAID experts to serve as primary trainers, with external trainers and academics to support the delivery of DRG training. The DRG Center focuses its training on the learners’ needs as identified by DRG officers in the field, as well as through training needs assessments conducted USAID-wide and by the DRG Center. By using a curriculum process to develop the training programs, the DRG Center is able to better ensure continuity, sustainability, and content quality control. The DRG Center’s Training Leadership Team (TLT) comprised of a representative from each DRG Center Division is responsible for providing guidance and direction in course content, training policies, and protocols. The Training team also oversees the Training of Trainers (ToT) course, which develops skills and knowledge of trainers.

Gender Working Group

The Gender Working Group (GWG) is a permanent, cross-cutting working group within the DRG center with required representation from all divisions. Our mission is to enable the DRG Center and DRG Officers in the field to promote and protect the human rights of women and girls, facilitate women’s equal and meaningful participation in civic and political life, and better identify and address gender differences and inequalities as they relate to USAID’s DRG work. The GWG seeks to integrate gender analysis into DRG processes and documents, support all colleagues to be gender champions, provide and develop expertise on women’s rights and gender integration, and highlight the DRG Center’s work on women’s political empowerment and women’s and LGBTI rights.