December is here and, at NGS, we are marveling over the progress we have seen in 2022. I am personally feeling incredibly grateful for all that NGS has accomplished this year. Partners and clients increasingly trust our team to design and support innovative, impactful development programming. We have successfully completed our first prime contract in Cambodia with exceptional reviews. Most importantly, our staff is expanding (nearly 300% growth!) with incredibly bright, thoughtful professionals who care about nurturing our network, growing our reputation, and truly making a difference around the world.
With the holiday season upon us, we are grateful to you – our colleagues, partners, and friends – for your continued support of NGS. From our team to yours… Happy holidays! We look forward to expanding our work together in 2023.
NGS team at our holiday party on December 8, 2022
Welcome to New Staff Member, Robert Gerstein!
Robert Gerstein joined NGS on November 1st as a Technical Advisor supporting the Democracy, Rights and Governance portfolio. Robert isn’t new to NGS, as he has been supporting the USAID DRG Center institutional support contract as a consultant since early 2022. His role as Strategy and Design Expert for the USG Partnerships for Democracy (PfD) will continue, and he will take on other tasks at NGS including PEA, facilitation, and analytical services, helping to expand our DRG practice.
New Beginnings | Peacebuilding, Evaluation, Analysis, Research, and Learning (PEARL) Task Order
NGS is excited to announce that USAID has awarded us, under prime contractor Integrity, the Peacebuilding Evaluation, Analysis, Research, and Learning (PEARL) under the USAID Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning’s EVAL-ME II IDIQ mechanism. The mechanism will provide support to the field and advance learning in support of USAID’s peacebuilding
community of practice.
NGS and Integrity are developing a customizable suite of analytic products, including violence and conflict assessments; rapid analytics, including assessments of conflict and/or violence dynamics in target geographic regions; conflict sensitivity analyses focused on the intersection of conflict and violence dynamics with development sectors such as health, economic growth, food security, climate change, land and natural resource management, gender, or education and youth programming; impact and performance evaluations for
peacebuilding, violence prevention, and conflict-sensitive programming; geospatial data products, including mapping of key dynamics and indicators in violence and conflict-affected contexts, interactive GIS data dashboards, and geo-visualizations; and field-based and desk research on key issues of interest to Missions, such as atrocity risk, violent extremism, interpersonal violence, and organized crime.
Saying Goodbye to Cambodia OW4C
NGS has successfully concluded our first prime contract: the USAID/Cambodia One Window for Citizens (OW4C) activity. We would like to thank the entire project team for their dedication and impeccable work on the project that made this a success in linking Cambodian citizens to transparent information on government services and creating platforms for a citizen-government dialogue to hold officials accountable for improved public services.
We are grateful for the direction and leadership of USAID/Cambodia – especially the Contracting Officer’s Representative for the OW4C Activity Mr. Terith Chy – as well as the OW4C Chief of Party Lendell Foan, API’s Executive Director Socheat Lam, InSTEDD’s Managing Director Channé Suy Lan, and the entire integrated NGS/API/InSTEDD staff that served as the core of the project from 2019 to 2022. OW4C would like to express its sincere thanks to the 95 Youth Ambassadors that were a cornerstone to the project’s community
outreach and engagement with citizens. The Youth Ambassadors truly represent the future leaders of Cambodia and the representative voice of its citizens. OW4C’s open, collaborative dialogue with Cambodian government stakeholders – including the Ministry of the Interior; the Provincial Administrations of Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, and Kampong Chhnang;
the OWSO administrations and OWSO staff; and the Ombudspersons in the districts where the project was piloted – and their willingness to listen to the voices of the citizens, enabled OW4C to achieve results more effectively.
Democracy and Governance at Work
NGS continues to provide expertise to USAID's Democracy, Rights, and Governance (DRG) Center under its subcontract to WWC Global. DRG consultant Benjamin Naimark-Rowse just completed a primer report on Nonviolent Collective Action in Democratic Development. This primer is designed to assist development professionals at USAID to deepen their
understanding of nonviolent collective action. This includes what it is, how it works, how USAID has supported it in the past, and how USAID can better support it in the future. The primer offers concrete recommendations as well as a wide range of actionable principles, strategies, and practices that USAID personnel can adopt and adapt. The primer highlights ethical and operational considerations as well as the possibilities for USAID to promote democratic development more effectively, primarily through indirect support for nonviolent
Justice, Rights, and Security expert, Teresa Cannady, has been conducting essential GESI research to prepare for the People Centered Justice Practitioner’s Brief, including the USAID updated Gender and Women’s Empowerment policy and USAID’s new GESI Toolkit, which is under review. Cannady utilized her expertise to provide comments and brainstorming comments for the Gender Working Group on gender integration concepts. For more information on Theresa’s work in democracy and governance, check out her latest blog post on Rule of Law programming at USAID and the future of people-centered justice.
NGS Labor Expert Samir Goswami prepared a comprehensive report on the USAID Labor Assessment where he discusses the USAID Global Labor Program (GLP) and the importance of Decent Work wherein workers’ human rights are upheld, serving as a key enabler of development, and the creation of democratic societies. In the assessment, Goswami analyzed the current work environment throughout the world and adversely, how to advance development goals by upholding labor rights.
Chris Doten has been working with the DRG center on development of Digital Democracy Donor Principles to guide USAID on the use of technology to support democracy and fight digital authoritarianism. After over fifty interviews with practitioners, think tanks, NGOs, and across USAID, the principles are being drafted and shared for discussion. As a part of the Summit for Democracy process and the Advancing Digital Democracy initiative, these principles will be implemented next Spring.
During the last quarter, Jessica Benton Cooney, Senior Communications and Outreach Specialist, assisted the launch of an exciting research project between the DRG Center and the Metropolitan Group, which is conducting global and customized country research regarding pro-democracy and pro-authoritarian narratives to help the National Security Council, the interagency, and implementing partners tell their story leading up to the second Summit for Democracy in Spring of 2023 – and beyond. Jessica has also led the drafting of the USAID public engagement and communications plan for the second S4D,
including conveying these ideas for USAID at the NSC, and serves on the Center’s S4D Executive Team.
OTI Project Prioritizing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility
NGS’s support to OTI – under the OTI Institutional support services project with WWC Global – continues to grow. In addition to providing a strong team of M&E Advisors and a full roster of OTI Administrative/Operations staff, NGS has prioritized the recruitment of a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Advisor. The DEIA Advisor will provide support to OTI leadership and the DEIA Working Group to identify priorities, develop a strategic plan, and recommend activities needed to implement change efforts. NGS is also recruiting a Communications Advisor and a Communications Specialist who will serve as integral members of OTI’s Communications team and support the implementation of the Office’s strategic communications plan.
Local Governance Program Hits the Ground Running
NGS has hit the ground running on the new Local Governance Program in Georgia with our partners at Tetra Tech ARD. Shorena Kobaidze, NGS’s Gender Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI) Coordinator, has been working diligently on the political economy analysis (PEA) and GESI strategy, alongside Senior Advisor Christina Schultz. The PEA team, consisted of four local and one international expert, conducted research in the form of a document review
and approximately 100 qualitative interviews with key informants from the central government, local self-governments, civil society, academia, the private sector, the media, and international actors to gain perspectives on the local governance system. Kobaidze has also been developing the GESI strategy, which will provide a framework to inform USAID’s Program. The approach to GESI aligns with the Program’s four objectives to ensure that the needs and priorities of underrepresented groups are integrated along program activities. All program activities will be analyzed from a GESI lens to consider how they will affect women, youth, and other groups who are the most vulnerable or excluded, and how existing GESI-related norms, attitudes and behavior will affect the outcomes envisioned by the program.
Introducing the New NGS Website!
We are very excited to share the new website for NGS, which launched on November 16! Our team has worked over the past several months to build a new online presence that accurately reflects our brand and values. The website represents the voice of NGS and was built with the intention to showcase who we are, what we do, and where we are going. In addition to new brand colors that capture our personality as an organization, our new website includes: An easy to navigate home page NGS’ values A map that captures NGS’ global reach The NGS story New photos of our dedicated corporate team & so much more! We invite you to visit our new website and thank you in advance for taking a moment to celebrate this important milestone with us.
Join Our Growing Team!
NGS is continuing to grow both our home office and our project teams! We are working to build our home office business development team well-position ourselves for new business opportunities in the new year and hiring a Business Development Manager. Also in the home office, we are looking to hire a Director to lead and expand our growing Peacebuilding, Stabilization, and Transition (PST) portfolio.