Documents/USAIDCSP/1: PROGRAMMING RESOURCES TOOLBOX

SIGNATURE INITIATIVE: PROGRAMMING RESOURCES TOOLBOX

Make USAID’s programming resources available to a wide variety of customers in a single, easily navigable and accessible website.

Other Information:

Overview: USAID and its partners have created a wealth of resources to guide programming activities worldwide. Despite the invaluable information they contain, these resources are not readily accessible in a central location for the purposes of empowering USAID customers and the international development community to improve development activities. The USAID Programming Resources Toolbox will remedy this problem by making USAID’s programming resources available to a wide variety of customers in a single, easily navigable and accessible website. Key Customer Groups: Agency staff; other USG staff; General Public Timing: Fall 2011: Develop graphical interface and architecture and pilot Winter 2011: Develop documentation and training materials Spring 2012: Make system available and provide user training Overview: The USAID Programming Resources Toolbox, which embraces the USAID Forward mandate for innovation, will put more than 200 of USAID’s programming resources at users’ fingertips within seconds. The resources will address the entire programming cycle from needs assessment to program planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, bringing together strategies, policies, standards, guidelines, databases, and websites, in a single, easy-to-navigate site. Each resource will be tagged according to its applicability across sectors and cross cutting themes. The Toolbox will empower users to locate the right resource quickly without extensive searching. Online capabilities will allow users to sort, search, rank, tag, discuss, and add new resources as USAID enriches its expertise as the world’s premier development agency. The Toolbox initiative employs a forward-thinking approach to technology. Rather than duplicating items which are resident in other databases, it pulls from them directly through an automated interface. For instance, the Toolbox consumes metadata from USAID’s Development Experience Clearinghouse, automatically tagging and categorizing documents for easier search and retrieval by end users. The graphical interface is designed with a focus on ease-of-use, providing multiple views of the Toolbox to accommodate users who may be searching for a single item, or groupings of items focused on sectors, programming phases, or special initiatives. An on-line suggestion feature allows end users, whether from USAID or the general public, to propose other tools for inclusion in the Toolbox. These suggestions are then routed automatically to subject matter experts for further review and cataloging. Visualization engines resident within the Toolbox provide immediate, graphical representations of Toolbox content, allowing users to quickly grasp the overall content and organization without extensive use. Finally, the Toolbox also provides an automated web service, enabling its content to be directly shared with other web-based systems. Impact and Benefits - Delivery Acceleration: While rich in content, USAID’s technical guidance and programming tools are found in multiple locations ranging from centralized databases to bureau and mission websites to websites of implementing partners. Consolidating programming resources in a central database expedites search and retrieval and obviates the need for USAID staffers to expend valuable time culling multiple sites for critical information. - Public Transparency: Many of the resources contained within the Toolbox had been previously housed on various USAID intranet sites. The Toolbox has intentionally moved these resources into the public domain in order to increase transparency and public awareness. - Cost Reduction: The Toolbox initiative will lower costs associated with staff hours spent on search and retrieval for programming resources. Its integration with other systems via web services decreases overall operations and maintenance costs associated with maintaining separate document management systems. Key Milestones and Timeline * Fall 2011: Develop graphical interface and architecture and pilot * Winter 2011: Develop documentation and training materials * Spring 2012: Make system available and provide user training

Stakeholder(s):

  • USAID Staff

  • USG Staff

  • General Public

Objective(s):