By Administrator Mark Green's
First off, I think almost all of us who are brought into the work of development are driven by personal experiences. And that's very much the case for me. I lived in Africa a couple of times in my life. I started off as a teacher in Kenya more than 30 years ago now, and you know, what I learned on the village level is really what inspires us.
And so, when I was a teacher, we had no electricity, we had no running water. We had one textbook for every dozen kids. But I point out to people, the entire time that I lived there in that village, not once did any of my students or their families ever ask me for money. They might ask for extra lessons. They might ask for help with books. They were never looking for a handout. They were looking for tools to help them get ahead. Very inspirational to me.
Flash forward to my days here at USAID. My first trip as an Administrator was to the Horn of Africa. And I remember going to Ethiopia, which was then in the throes of four consecutive years of drought, but had not quite fallen into famine. I was attending a food distribution that we were doing there, and I remember a wonderful lady who had just received that sack of grain that she was about to take back to her home. And she pulled me aside and she said, “I have a question.” I said, “Yes, ma'am?” She said, “First off, thank you for the grain. We need it. We're hungry. The question is, can you help us with irrigation so we never have to do this again?” That's the spirit that we're trying to bring to bear in the journey to self-reliance and the framework. It is the notion of human dignity. It is the notion of every family wanting to build their own bright future.
And we believe, as the lead agency in development, as Americans, that that notion is cooked into our DNA. So, what we believe is, where a country has taken on the tough choices in doing the difficult things that they need to do to become self-reliant and hopefully prosperous, well, we should walk with them along the way. And the Policy Framework is the connective tissue between that notion and the actual work that we do, day in and day out. What does it actually look like in “development speak” as you put it. What does it actually look like as we take on challenges, as we work with our country partners? So, that's the purpose of the Framework, and I'm delighted to be able to unveil it here. And I'm proud of our friendship and also the service that CSIS provides here in town, of fostering discussions. I think it is an irreplaceable addition to what we do.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Africa Regional Media Hub.