The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) issued a presolicitation notice on a new opportunity called Women in Transition. This is a species of opportunity that is increasingly rare – it’s new and it is large. Considering the possible value of $260 million over five years this is going to get a lot of attention.
Women in Transition represents an opportunity to do real and lasting good. We all recognize that any program in the public sector – whether it supports national security, law enforcement, and health care – has a direct or indirect impact on people’s lives. This particular opportunity is focused on social and training services. Maybe that’s too clinical of a statement considering this program may very well change lives in a real and positive way.
The Women in Transition program is supposed to empower Afghan women to have greater opportunities Afghanistan. Read the below paragraph borrowed from the recent Women in Transition program concept paper to give you a sense of the big picture.
Investments in women over the last decade have produced significant results. Today, nearly 40 percent of school-aged girls—almost 3 million—are enrolled in school, including 164,000 girls in secondary school. An additional 40,000 young women attend public or private universities or technical and vocational training institutes, with more enrolling each year; life expectancy has increased to 64 for both women and men; 27 percent of seats in the Afghan National Assembly and 25 percent in the provincial councils are reserved for women; women’s organizations are working to end violence and discrimination against women; and equal rights for women are enshrined in the Afghan Constitution and official Afghan policy.
Not only is this life changing for Afghan women, but it represents a great new opportunity for U.S. businesses. The Women in Transition concept paper linked earlier provides program background and concepts. The paper is very well written so I won’t do it injustice by trying to re-create it here. If you’re interested in learning more background you should read the paper.
If the Women in Transition program fits your company’s strategy and capabilities, it’s important to consider the funding numbers. As mentioned earlier, USAID claims the Women in Transition program has a value of $260 million over a five-year period. If you look at previous budgets and the FY2013 request there is nearly $1.6 billion requested for a variety of Afghanistan focused programs. Further, the FY2013 budget request has over $174 million for a single year of funding related to women’s empowerment programs. Considering the fact that USAID spends an average of $5 billion a year in professional services and Women in Transition is so well aligned with U.S. national interests and USAID’s mission this is a good opportunity to consider. You should also consider the big picture here…even though Afghanistan seems to be slipping from the public conscience (a shame if you ask me considering the investment by the U.S. in terms of our lost lives and financial investment to date) I have serious doubts that this program would be anywhere but in the highest set of priorities for USAID going forward.
Let’s take a quick look at what the contractor(s) would do. USAID has a preliminary CLIN structure with estimated funding available in its presolicitation notice.
- CLIN 1: Women in the Economy (WE) – $150 million
- CLIN 2: Women’s Rights Groups and Coalitions – $40 million
- CLIN 3: Women in Government – $50 million
- CLIN 4: Women’s Leadership Development – $20 million
What does each area of work mean?
CLIN 1: Women in the Economy (WE) –The purpose of this CLIN is to enable Afghan women to increase their participation in the mainstream, formal economy by securing management level employment or establishing/expanding viable small- to medium- to large-sized businesses.
CLIN 2: Women’s Rights Groups and Coalitions – The purpose of this CLIN is to strengthen women’s rights organizations by building their technical gender knowledge, applying their technical gender skills, and combining forces to influence public policies and social practices to benefit Afghan women.
CLIN 3: Women in Government – The purpose of this CLIN is to increase the number of women in professional and leadership positions in government.
CLIN 4: Women’s Leadership Development – The purpose of this CLIN is to enable women to apply advanced management and leadership skills in public, private and civil service sectors.
How does all of this tie together? Start with the goal in mind and the stated USAID Women in Transition goal is stated as follows:
A new generation of educated Afghan women assumes leadership roles in mainstream social, political and economic sectors to improve the status of women and accelerate inclusive, sustainable development in Afghanistan.
It’s rare to see a new opportunity and especially one on this scale. If this opportunity fits your business strategy it would be a great idea to attend the industry day on August 27.
- $260 million opportunities don’t come along every day…if this fits your growth objectives you should consider a pursuit
- This is a new and large opportunity. While you might have to compete against the usual who’s who in USAID contracting (Chemonics, Deloitte, DAI, etc.) the right capture strategy with the right teammates can get you to the winner’s circle
- The acquisition strategy appears to be still shaping…not sure if this will really be single award or multiple award
- The funding profile for this opportunity looks good even with imminent budget cuts
Keep tuned to the USAID to learn more about the opportunity as it unfolds.
Stay focused. Do your capture homework. There are some great opportunities out there. Good hunting!