The U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships launched the COVID-19 Private Sector Engagement and Partnership Fund (the Fund) in August 2020. The Fund is jointly administered with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in line with the 2020 State-USAID four pillar COVID-19 Recovery Strategy. The Fund 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. These new Awards support the efforts of the private sector to address post-pandemic economic recovery efforts and help the world’s most vulnerable overcome the devastation inflicted by the pandemic.
What is the Purpose of the Fund?
- To create a formal and transparent process to surface the most innovative private sector solutions to mitigating the secondary impacts of COVID-19 in developing countries.
- To seed-fund the most promising of these solutions within the context of State and USAID global programming.
The Fund leverages private sector resources and capabilities in partnership with Department of State and USAID resources. Leveraging the expertise and reach of private sector organizations and corporations are key components of increasing the quality, access, and sustainability of programs. Building new, effective, and long-term partnerships can spur innovation and create new paths for development solutions to accelerate progress at the country and community level.
One of the key components of the Fund is the applicant’s ability to leverage private sector partnerships to amplify COVID response and recovery efforts in their target countries. The following programs were selected based on their unique approach to mounting a broad-based economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The awards leverage the organizations’ expertise, connections with the private sector, and global reach in collaboration with the resources of the Department of State and USAID. 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.
Below are the partnership initiatives that will be supported through the Fund:
The Department of State will be managing the following programs:
Partnerships for Business Resilience and Recovery in SE Asia
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. To learn more about FHI 360, visit their website: https://www.fhi360.org/
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 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 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. More information on Halcyon programming and impact can be found at www.halcyonhouse.org .
Scaling Market-Based Solutions for Economic Recovery and Resiliency Through Entrepreneurship
The 36-month partnership with Unreasonable Group 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. To learn more about Unreasonable, visit their website: www.unreasonablegroup.com .
Supporting Equitable Global Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution To Save Lives, Protect Investments, and Support Economic Recovery
The Covid-19 pandemic is accentuating pre-existing vulnerabilities in the way vaccines are delivered and distributed around the world. Such vulnerabilities have greatly impacted access to life-saving vaccines. The 12-month cooperative agreement with Parsyl will support cold chain data collection and analytics across several African countries to help strengthen vaccine supply chain systems and uncover needed improvements to the supply chain in order to protect investments, save lives, and support countries with their economic recovery.
By bringing end-to-end data visibility and insights from the national level to the last mile during storage and transit, State Department funding will further unlock insurance capacity. These efforts will also complement the Global Health Risk Facility (GHRF), an alliance of insurance and technology partners that together provide comprehensive insurance and risk mitigation services for the storage and transit of Covid-19 vaccines, as well as other life-saving medical supplies, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.
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.
For general inquiries about the Office of Global Partnerships or the COVID-19 Fund, email Partnerships@State.gov.