United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Goodbye Binders, Hello Encrypted Flash Drives

The recruiting team for USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) supports the procurement of Personal Service Contractors (PSCs) in order to provide fast, flexible, short-term assistance targeted at key transition needs. Due to the rising popularity of OTI, the recruiting team has had to handle thousands of procurement sensitive documents and provide copies of them to Technical Evaluation Committees. For example, ...more »

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Cell Phone Usage

I find that the use of cell phones is not adequately managed.  I find $500 cell phone bills for many individuals with AFDA, OTI, FFP, DCHA being the more common ones.  An analysis reflects that much of this is “ROAMING CHARGES” related to phone calls.   It seems to me that one can buy a prepaid SIM card at almost every airport and use these which are significantly cheaper.  I understand that there’s the inconvenience ...more »

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Cell Phone Usage

In many countries cell phones are also issued for security reasons and I do not have a problem with the issuance of these.  Please note that landlines are very unreliable here.  We have two classes of cell phones – the Blackberry (which gives access to data – e-mails and the like) and another (I do not know the name, which is strictly a cell phone).  The policy has been to allow incidental use and we only review costs ...more »

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Video Conference (Skype)

Expedite the use of a “Skype” like tool for USAID – In my previous job, I used this tool to use on-line chat and call for free to 40 projects sites worldwide including subs, to discuss issues, trainings, provide updates, mentor and quickly share info even to the most remote sites. Not only is it free (no telephone bills), it reduced the number of TDYs and improved performance and multi-tasking. This will be very useful ...more »

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Computers

Regarding the nighttime computer shutoff idea: I don’t think it will be feasible to power-off computers under the current software management scheme, but if the USG were to create a Government cloud (using software from Google, Salesforce, etc.), that would greatly reduce operational costs and allow us to more easily access resources using personal computers, laptops, etc. The hardware requirements would be lower than ...more »

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Travel

Make it easier to book non-contract airline tickets. The federal travel regulations permit booking off-contract when a carrier offers the fare to the general public for cheaper. Sites like Expedia and Kayak almost always have less expensive airfares than contract rates, yet we rarely take that option.

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Network Log-in

When employees have a failed log-in on the third attempt, they are automatically locked out of the network system until a phone call is made to the CIO help desk. The amount of time calling and awaiting a response for verification is inefficient and time-consuming. Proposal: Similar to banks and other companies that ensure personal information is handled in a secure manner, allow the employee to answer electronically ...more »

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Saving money through “Capacity Building”

Saving money through “Capacity Building” I work for USAID Mali and I would like to make a proposal to President Obama’s initiative to save money through SAVE ((Securing Americans Value and Efficiency). My proposal relates to “Capacity Building” which is one of USAID principles of Development and Reconstruction Assistance. The idea is to build the capacity of small local businesses to be able to make high quality furniture ...more »

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All printing in Draft Mode

When I was in college, printer ink was my biggest expense. I changed the default on my printer to the printer quality "draft mode." It used far less ink and substantially lowered my expenses. The print quality, despite being draft, was also good enough for every project I did. I've tried to print on draft mode at work, but I'm only given the options of "best quality" or standard quality. If draft mode was the default ...more »

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SAVE ENERGY, REDUCE COOLING!

The amount of cooling (air conditioning) used in the United States is excessive , unwarranted and wasteful. Central air conditioning requires about 50 times as much power as a 75-watt light bulb. Government buildings, instead of serving as models for energy efficiency, are culprits of excessive cooling levels as are most commercial and retail establishments. The Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC and ...more »

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On-line submission of contractor and recipient plans and reports

Objectives of Program Management and Reporting System (PMRS) • Reduce the cost of submitting, analyzing, and disseminating information on foreign assistance programs • Improve the quality of information. Main Features • Web-based MIS • Standard reporting formats • On-line submission of work plans, performance management plans, and progress reports by USAID contractors and recipients • Accessible to authorized users ...more »

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Overseas Furniture

Most foreign service officers move into government furnished residences which - because of global contracts - are all furnished with almost identical pieces worldwide. Prior to arrival at Post the officers don't know what furniture they will have, nor what it looks like, nor does the Post ask what furniture the officer wants. This results in the government paying for furniture and moving costs, only to have the officer ...more »

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