Department of State Announces COVID-19 Private Sector Engagement and Partnership Fund Awardees
The U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships is announcing three awards from the COVID-19 Private Sector Engagement and Partnership Fund (the Fund). The Fund, established in 2020 and jointly administered with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), exclusively supports public-private partnership programs to prevent development backsliding and prepare for, mitigate, and address second order economic, security, stabilization impacts of COVID-19. The Awards support the efforts of the private sector to address economic recovery and help the world’s most vulnerable overcome the devastation inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A joint review committee comprised of members from the State Department and USAID, selected the following programs based on their unique approach to mounting a broad-based economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The awards leverage each organization’s expertise, connections with the private sector, and global reach, in collaboration with the resources of the Department of State. These unique skillsets are essential in building new and effective long-term partnerships that can spur innovation and create new paths for solutions at the country and community level.
The Department of State will be managing the following programs:
ASEAN Partnership for Business Resiliency and Recovery
The 12-month cooperative agreement with Family Health International (FHI) 360, in partnership with AWR Lloyd, will support six private sector businesses in three Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries by equipping them with the technical knowledge to accelerate the safe resumption, continuation, or adaptation of business operations and to put in place plans and processes to ensure readiness and responsiveness to future pandemics. By combining evidence-based best practices in public health, business analytics, and change management principles, FHI 360 and AWR Lloyd will foster a more resilient private sector in the ASEAN region.
Halcyon-AWS International Incubator Intensives
Social entrepreneurship can play a critical role in addressing 2nd order economic and broader societal impacts from COVID-19. The 24-month cooperative agreement with Halcyon House will expand on its world-class incubator methodology to execute customized, high-quality programming for top social enterprise founders in the Middle East and North Africa. Halcyon House has partnered with Amazon Web Services, mentors, advisors, and others in the private sector, in order to rapidly grow and scale the most promising social enterprises from the MENA region. The goal of this program is to achieve economic stability, job creation and deployable solutions needed as a result of COVID-19, and to prevent regional backsliding.
Scaling Market-Based Solutions for Economic Recovery and Resiliency through Entrepreneurship
The 36-month cooperative agreement with Unreasonable is designed to support entrepreneurs to scale the efforts of high-growth businesses addressing key challenges related to the pandemic via a global business accelerator. The initiative will help 45 participating entrepreneurs generate economic growth, create jobs, and accelerate business development, while delivering social and environmental benefits for the communities they serve.
USAID will be managing the following programs:
Private Sector Productivity and Workforce Development
In India, USAID and partners will leverage an existing platform called REVIVE to provide financial support and technical assistance to workers in India’s informal sector and to nano and micro entrepreneurs. REVIVE will address the livelihood crisis perpetrated by COVID-19 by reviving incomes, jobs, and small businesses through timely, affordable and accessible programmatic grants for business revival. REVIVE will also facilitate skill development, technical assistance, vocational skills, business training, and market linkages to complement the financial support, with the goal of catalyzing additional collaboration between the public and private sector and unlocking additional resources for economic empowerment for the most disadvantaged populations. Additionally, the REVIVE platform is collaborating with the Alliance for Women’s Economic Empowerment, launched in October 2021. The collaboration intends to catalyze private sector commitments to address accelerating financial access and inclusion, promoting women’s healthcare access, increasing women’s access to new markets, and supporting the retention of women in the workforce.
Water Supply and Sanitation
In India, Unilever is partnering with the USAID-NISHTA program to deliver a comprehensive behavior change program to improve health and hygiene behaviors among students, health care staff and communities. In light of COVID-19 and the restrictions placed on face to face communication, the program also employs a strong digital component for training health staff and an Integrated Voice Response system to disseminate risk communication messages. Using Unlievers’s tested models of behavior change programs, coupled with the extensive reach of the USAID NISHTA program, this activity seeks to reach over 120 million people in India with COVID-19 prevention activities. The partnership aims to mitigate ongoing threats to the health system and reduce negative second order economic impacts of COVID-19.