Monday, December 12, 2005

More zeroes to a single organization?

Most of our work here is devoted to the immediate requirements of our project. However, there is discussion of the long term US objectives in Iraq and reconstruction policy. Though our project will run until June 2007, we wonder about our friends at other organizations.

For most, the future is uncertain. Rumour has it that all reconstruction activities will be centralized under a single contract. The release of a new grant lends creedence to this. In terms of US foreign aid, the funds discussed in this proposal are mind-boggling. A single organiztion will be awarded more money to spend in Iraq over four years than were spent on all of Africa in 2003. Though some perspective is necessary given the general scale of Iraq reconstruction. Almost every project, including the one that employs me, has more funding than the total support given to most African countries.

This does not make sense to me. Why centralize funding in a single partner? How can a single organization realistically manage so much money? Every contract has a certain risk that the work will be poorly executed or that the contract will be mismanaged. Why not contract with several organizations and diminish the risk of complete failure? Perhaps the costs of coordinating multiple partners is so high that it is more cost-effective to work with a single organization. Its not immediately evident to me how this could be the case. Though the due date for applications is more than one month away, I heard that the partner organization has already been identified.

Andrew Natsios, director of USAID, resigned last week. Maybe he is as baffled as I am. Though the possibility of suddenly working for the State Department is a more likely cause.

Rereading the RFA, I am curious about the 10 strategic cities. I have been told there are 9: Mosul, Baghdad, Fallujah, Ramadi, Hilla, Baguba, Najaf, Samarra, Tikrit. Perhaps the remaining one is to be determined based the focus of the "Insurgency" which, curiously, is capitalized.


Post a Comment

<< Home