MSI Hosts 2nd Annual Scaling Up Conference

MSI, a Tetra Tech Company, hosted the 2nd annual conference of the Global Community of Practice on Scaling Up Development Outcomes at its headquarters in Arlington, VA on October 27th and 28th.

The event was attended by representatives from 27 organizations, including: USAID, GiZ, JICA, IADB, IFAD, Brookings, WRI, IFPRI, J-Pal, ODI, MasterCard Foundation, ELMA Philanthropies, Georgetown University, George Washington University, University of Michigan, Intel Corporation, ExpandNet, Evidence to Action, Millions Learning, Jphiego, TechnoServ, Save the Children Fund, World Vision, Room to Read, Sustainable Harvest, Results for Development, and MSI.

The CoP is designed to assemble, enhance and share information about scaling drawn from multiple sectors and including both public sector and commercial pathways to scale. MSI and R4D act jointly as secretariat to the CoP and Larry Cooley, MSI’s President Emeritus, co-curates the CoP with Johannes Linn. Complementing the activities of the core CoP, the community includes sectoral working groups on scaling up in education, health, and agriculture/rural development, a working group on monitoring and evaluation in support of scaling, and a working group on scaling up in fragile states.

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Managing OCI Risk

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Managing OCI for 30 Years

Management Systems International (MSI) recognizes the importance of fairness and objectivity in government contracting and holds these values as central to our own corporate culture and philosophy. As one of a number of contractors that provide both implementation and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) services to the US government, this corporate perspective is evidenced in a robust set of MSI policies and procedures that allow us to proactively manage potential Organizational Conflicts of Interest (OCI).

MSI has developed its deep expertise on OCI by working extensively with industry experts, legal counsel and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). This collaboration has produced an OCI management system that is fully consistent with the requirements of the US government and provides a comprehensive approach to identifying and addressing any OCI concerns as they arise. Using a range of OCI mitigation measures long accepted by the US government, such as firewalls and the use of non-conflicted subcontractors, MSI ensures that the principles of fairness and objectivity are upheld while fully meeting the technical needs of our clients – needs that include the delivery of highly rigorous M&E services that are designed and implemented to be fully independent.

A recent decision of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirms that our OCI policies and procedures meet the standards and expectations of our clients and the US government. In its denial of a protest of our award on a M&E contact for USAID/Indonesia, the GAO repeatedly throughout the decision validated MSI’s approach to managing OCI. After noting the in-depth review conducted by the USAID Contracting Officer prior to approving the MSI OCI plan, the GAO panel wrote that:

“the record reflects that the contracting officer reviewed the [MSI OCI] plan and… reasonably determined that its procedures–including the use of firewalls and subcontractors–adequately avoided, neutralized, or mitigated potential conflicts of interest.”Read full GAO decision here

Conflict of interest is a serious procurement issue that all USG contractors must understand and address. Our ability to identify OCIs early, the fact that we maintain full transparency with our clients, and our tested OCI procedures, make it easy for government Contracting Officers to mitigate or neutralize any OCIs that might arise under MSI’s M&E and implementation projects.

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E-Procurement System in Ukraine Reduces Corruption by 25%


The recently developed electronic procurement system in Ukraine gained international recognition and significantly reduced corruption in public procurement.

2016-8-16 Ukraine Survey Report

 

Ukraine has been implementing a robust public procurement reform program over the past two years with the goal of reducing corruption. Ukraine has been losing approximately US$2.4 million annually due to corruption in public procurements. The centerpiece of the reform is the eProcurement system called ProZorro. Originally developed by a group of Ukrainian volunteers from civil society and the private sector, ProZorro was piloted in 2015 throughout Ukraine and then transferred to the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT) in early 2016 for nationwide release. As of August 1, all public institutions of all levels are required to use ProZorro for their procurements.

MSI, in partnership with the ProZorro team at the MEDT and the Kyiv City Administration, will present results of the survey on August 19, 2016 for public and private sector stakeholders, as well for CSOs and the media.

Explore the media – click on a tab below

 

ProZorro InfographicUSAID DocumentsVideos
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Since early in 2015, MSI, A Tetra Tech Company, has assisted in assuring effective ProZorro implementation and procurement reform through USAID support. We developed a technical and business requirement assessment and recommendation for the ProZorro system strengthening and expansion, recommendations for professionalization of the procurement field in Ukraine, and advised the Kyiv City Administration with establishing a Procurement Competence Center for government and business users of ProZorro. MSI also worked to improve monitoring and audits of procurements to reduce fraud and corruption.

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In June 2016, MSI conducted a survey of businesses across Ukraine to learn about their experiences using ProZorro. More than 300 businesses participated in the web-based survey. Results show that corruption in public procurements dropped by 25 percent with the use of ProZorro – from corruption occurring in 54% of procurements under the traditional system to 29% under ProZorro. Business confidence in the public procurement system is also on the rise – 27% of respondents believe that the system completely eradicates or largely reduces corruption and 53% believe that it reduces corruption partially. These results are attributable to the improved transparency and simplification of the procurement process using ProZorro.

 

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Using a Political Economy Framework to Manage Complex Reform Efforts

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MSI’s Advancing Policy and Institutional Change (APIC) framework helps reformers assess political and organizational assets and obstacles for implementing policies, analyze stakeholder interests and concerns, and engage citizens and resolve conflicts through the design of innovative structures and processes.

 

 

MSI has developed a political economy-oriented approach to advancing policy and institutional change (APIC), helping governments and advocacy groups shape and manage complex reform efforts. Originally developed and popularized under the auspices of the USAID-funded Implementing Policy Change Project (IPC), this approach has been applied across a range of sectors in more than 40 countries; extensively documented; and acknowledged by the World Bank and other development actors as a best practice in achieving sustainable policy and institutional change.

This updated APIC framework addresses a perceived “hole” in international development’s new focus on thinking and acting politically. Much political economy thinking is done at the front end in the form of assessments that feed into design, yet it can be difficult to chart a path that responds to key findings. In addition, it has proved difficult in practice to incorporate political economy concepts into implementation. MSI’s APIC framework provides an approach and tools that facilitate on-going analysis of and responses to political context. It also incorporates new research on institutional reform and systems thinking as well as MSI’s own learning from using the approach over time. Key insights include taking a flexible and adaptive approach to reform that responds to changes in the environment and among stakeholders, empowering local systems that foster locally driven and inclusive development, and keeping the framework and tools simple so that they can be used with local stakeholders committed to pursuing reforms.

The APIC framework also broadens the lens from IPC’s strong focus on policy implementation to include policy and reform design, recognizing that these may be absent in many situations. As a result, APIC portrays an expanded number of tasks in a task wheel, which emphasizes the non-linear and interdependent nature of the tasks. This brief guide lays out the framework in summary fashion and is intended for those supporting reforms in a given context. It provides a systematic approach and common vocabulary that can be helpful in sorting through what needs to be done. MSI has used the task model to help stakeholders develop and adapt action plans for whatever stage they are at in a reform process.

Using APIC, MSI provides hands-on technical assistance, training, and process consulting to government offices, civil society groups and public-private partnerships. Our support includes assessing political and organizational assets and obstacles for implementing policies, analyzing stakeholder interests and concerns, and engaging citizens and resolving conflicts through the design of innovative structures and processes.

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BALADI CAP: Strengthening Municipalities to Face Growing Challenges in Lebanon

The Building Alliances for Local Advancement, Development and Investment – Capacity Building (BALADI -CAP) project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), launched its Civic Engagement for Democratic Governance (CEDG) component during an event held on Thursday July 14, 2106. CEDG is a two-year capacity-building component of the larger BALADI CAP program with a focus on strengthening the institutional capacities of municipalities, primarily in organizational development, financial management, information technology, and disaster management/contingency planning. With a strong emphasis on increased citizen engagement in public policy and decision-making, component activities will assist municipalities to make better decisions and deliver quality public services.

Presidents and representatives of various Lebanese municipalities attend the CEDG Kick-off event

Presidents and representatives of various Lebanese municipalities attend the CEDG Kick-off event

CEDG will work with 35 selected municipalities throughout Lebanon and is in the process of conducting a mapping of the various municipalities in order to identify a geographically diverse pool of municipality partners that will take part in CEDG’s Tailored Technical Assistance Program (TTAP). This mapping exercise will examine the capacity of municipalities to commit to the intensive TTAP capacity-building approach, including the number of full-time employees, municipal council members, active municipal committees, and overall budgets.

The event brought together presidents and municipal council representatives from 15 municipalities across Lebanon in order to provide them with detailed information about the program and gauge their interest in participating. Following introductory visits, a final list of CEDG municipality beneficiaries will be announced and implementation of the benchmark capacity assessments will begin.

BALADI CAP’s Chief of Party, Dr. Fares El Zein, presenting the CEDG component to the attendees

BALADI CAP’s Chief of Party, Dr. Fares El Zein, presenting the CEDG component to the attendees

“We hope one day we become an e-municipality, whereby everything becomes online. This will be a cornerstone to combating corruption, something which has sadly become all too familiar in Lebanon”, said Antoine Abu Younes, Vice President of the Zahle Maalka Municipality.

During his presentation, BALADI CAP’s Chief of Party, Dr. Fares El Zein, stressed the importance of the comprehensive approach the program applies during its interventions, including regular participatory benchmark capacity assessments, standard and specialized training workshops, on-the-job coaching and Community of Practice regional meetings. The tailored technical assistance and follow-up provided by BALADI-CAP’s municipal experts in improving the individual capacity of municipality staff will impact overall institutional performance, while ensuring the institutionalization and sustainability of the acquired skills within municipal institutions.

Captain Marwan Al Aawar, President of Qornayel Municipality, speaking to BALADI CAP’s Senior Communications Specialist, Ahmad Jaber

Captain Marwan Al Aawar, President of Qornayel Municipality, speaking to BALADI CAP’s Senior Communications Specialist, Ahmad Jaber

The presentation was followed by an active Question & Answer session where the attendees raised concerns and voiced challenges that they face at the municipal level, including those municipalities which are hosting a high concentration of Syrian refugees and the resulting impact on service delivery, resource management and security concerns. “Resource management is the single most important element to bring our municipality into the 21st century”, said Captain Marwan Al Aaawar, President of the Municipality of Qornayel. “We have invested in 25 young men and women by providing them with the necessary training and courses to become active members of the local police force, firefighters, etc.”

The discussion allowed for the exchange of information between municipalities and an overall consensus on the importance of CEDG in tackling these priority cross-cutting issues.

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