USAID is redoubling our commitment to shift more leadership to the people and institutions with the capabilities and credibility to drive change in their countries and communities.

Locally led development is when local actors set their agendas, develop solutions, and bring the capacity, leadership, and resources to make those solutions a reality. It applies to all aspects of USAID’s engagement in a country and is essential to strengthening education systems. Local ownership is the first guiding principle of the USAID Education Policy. 

USAID’s Approach to Localization

Localization is the set of internal reforms, actions, and behavior changes USAID is undertaking to ensure our work puts local actors in the lead, strengthens local systems, and is responsive to local communities. This approach shifts more leadership, ownership, decision-making, funding, resources, and implementation to local actors and communities while still leveraging the unique capabilities of our current implementing partners. Localization entails four lines of effort: 

USAID's approach to localization

This is not a new approach to the Education sector. USAID’s localization vision aligns to the USAID Education Policy’s principles of country ownership, strengthening local systems, and fostering equitable and inclusive education. While increasing the amount of direct funding to local partners is a critical initiative, the aim of USAID’s localization commitment is to shift all activities towards increased local leadership. Localization will look different in each country and entails a combination of the above lines of effort. 


To operationalize the Agency’s localization vision, USAID works to improve our education policies and practices by: 

  • Advancing systems-thinking and practices through increased usage of systems diagnostics, such as USAID’s Applied Education System Diagnostic Toolkit
  • Facilitating inclusive participation, especially of traditionally marginalized groups, in education policy development and activity design and implementation processes, such as the Disability Inclusive Education Toolkit.
  • Increasing the share of funding going to local partners, for example, through non-traditional partnerships in HELIX, Youth Power 2, and CATALYZE EduFinance.
  • Increasing the quality of systems and capacity strengthening efforts through new Guidance for Advancing USAID’s Local Capacity Strengthening Policy in Education Programs (Forthcoming)
  • Supporting locally led research generation and use through central mechanisms, such as SHARE Youth Excel, and DECODE. 
  • Utilizing improved methods for monitoring, evaluating, and learning on the sustainability of learning outcomes, including using CBLD-9 Guidance for Education Programs (Forthcoming)

Measuring Progress 

To measure progress on our commitment, USAID has committed to two high-level indicators: 

  • USAID will directly provide at least a quarter of all our program funds to local partners by the end of Fiscal Year 2025. 
  • By Fiscal Year 2030, at least half of USAID programs will create space for local actors to exercise leadership over priority setting, activity design, implementation, and defining and measuring results. For more information, see the Locally Led Indicator reference sheet.  

Education Localization Resources

USAID Localization Resources