East Africa – African Institutions Innovation Mechanism-Assist (AIIM-Assist)
USAID-Funded Program Supports East African Partners’ Efforts to Reduce Poverty Through Agriculture
Through the USAID/East Africa’s African Institutions Innovation Mechanism-Assist (AIIM-Assist) initiative, ACDI/VOCA bolstered the efforts of regional public, private, and civil society actors to innovate, scale up successes, and share learning to reduce poverty through agriculture. AIIM-Assist was implemented in partnership with Act Change Transform (ACT!) and designed to increase the number of African organizations with which USAID/East Africa could partner. Through the Annual Program Statements (APSs), issued in 2012 and 2013, AIIM-Assist provided African regional organizations with opportunities to apply for activity funding with the potential to contribute significantly to the regional Feed the Future (FtF) agenda.
- Provide institutional strengthening support to AIIM-Assist grantees
- Provide technical assistance to other USAID missions in FtF focus countries
- Provide technical support to African regional partners outside of AIIM-Assist
Activities and Approaches
- Supported USAID bilateral missions and regional partners to strengthen local capacity, deliver technical services, including assessments and studies, and provide management support to USAID missions
- Built the technical capacity of 18 USAID awardees, called AIIM-Assist finalists, through organizational capacity assessments (OCAs), which assessed the institutional capacity gaps. The OCAs also mapped out an institutional strengthening plan for each organization, including targeted support in improving policies and systems for finance, ethics, procurement, compensation, and other operational areas.
- Worked with USAID/Burundi and the Burundi Agribusiness Chamber of Commerce (CAB) to facilitate a business planning workshop to focus its efforts on developing three value chains
- Increased the impact of AIIM-Assist programs, strengthening institutions to take on greater leadership roles in regional agriculture and market integration. The project yielded a 240 percent increase in organizations making significant improvements in their organizational capacity due to AIIM-Assist and USAID support. As the project closed, partners lauded USAID for taking an interest in growing the capacity of local institutions and called upon USAID to keep prioritizing and incorporating institutional capacity building into each program’s design and funding.
- Enabled USAID/East Africa to move toward a key goal of USAID Forward by increasing the number of direct grants and contracts held by African firms and organizations
- Completed OCAs for the following entities: Agricultural Market Development Trust (AGMARK), East African Farmers Federation (EAFF), East African Market Development Associates (EAMDA), Kenya Livestock Producers Association (KLPA), Cereal Growers Association (CGA), AfriBanana Ltd., and LENGO Agricultural & Demonstration Training Centre
- Provided technical support to AIIM-Assist finalists in the development of strategic plans, financial and human resource policies and procedures manuals, terms of service for the board of trustees, and procurement manuals
- Provided technical and logistical facilitation of OCAs to USAID bilateral missions, including partners of USAID’s Kenya Agricultural Value Chain Enterprises (KAVES) project
- Provided technical support to the Burundi Agribusiness Chamber of Commerce (CAB) through short-term consultants who undertook a rapid market assessment and developed the business plan