Join us! New opportunities to work at DIV & USAID
Working with DIV
Working with our sister shops at USAID!
- Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnership Specialist
- Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist - GHSI-II
- Community Relationship Specialist
- Program Analyst (Regional Support Coordinator)
Working with our grantees
- Angaza Design is hiring engineers and designers:
- KickStart is hiring a Head of Sales in Tanzania:
- Off-Grid: Electric is looking for a regional manager
- Good World Solutions is hiring a Director of Technology
Updated March 3
Meet the DIV Team! Spotlight on Brittney Bailey
What brought you to DIV/USAID? What were you up to before?
I came to DIV/USAID from nearby at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), where I focussed on incorporating conditions for social inclusion into the Bank’s lending operations. I had previously worked for USAID Colombia under phenomenal leadership and knew that I wanted to come back to the Agency at some point, but not necessarily at headquarters in Washington DC. Then came along an opportunity to work for DIV/USAID. For me, DIV represented an experimental way of doing business in development that I was surprised existed within a large bureaucracy in Washington. In addition, my smart and vibrant colleagues have remained a major incentive to work here. Although I miss the Latin culture, coffee, and languages of the IDB, I believe USAID’s DIV team is a direct reflection of the Agency’s emphasis on development innovation and “doing things differently”. It’s a really fun and thoughtful team to be on.
So, what do you actually do on the DIV team?
My role on the DIV team has evolved over time. I primarily serve as a partnerships advisor, where I help us identify and manage focussed funding opportunities and partnerships with other arms of USAID, the White House, donors, the private sector and philanthropic organizations. Now that DIV has a significant portfolio of grantees, I find myself providing much more direct partnerships support to grantees, helping them connect with additional capital or human resources and networks that may or may not derive from DIV’s formal funding opportunities.
You recently met with some of DIV’s grantees in East Africa. What were you surprised by?
I wouldn’t say I was so much surprised but I did learn a lot and am sincerely grateful to our grantees for allowing us to walk through some of their operations in Rwanda, Tanzania, and Kenya. Meeting primarily with social enterprises in the clean energy and waste management sectors shed light on what we as DIV are doing right and where we need to pivot to better select and support our grantees. My colleagues Scott Wu, Sarah Burch, and I left inspired to think more about how DIV works with grantees to help scale solutions commercially, in particular.
What are you most excited about moving forward?
I’m excited about helping to make some of this “food for thought” actionable following our East Africa trip. In general, I’m really excited about the direction of our team and the impact that many of the people I work with will have on the Agency’s work on innovation and partnerships in development. I’m appointed by the Obama Administration to support the Agency’s focus on development innovation and aid effectiveness. It has been one of the most refreshing things to report to other parts of the Administration that USAID has attracted such dynamic, smart, and non-traditional people driving innovation in development financing. I think that our team has a huge opportunity to support our portfolio grantees with whatever resources we have to bear and I’m super excited to be a part of this challenging but rewarding process!
New Award! Recruiting Voters to Improve Their Own Democracies
Can a text message get a person to the polls? What about an online social network – can a posting there persuade a voter to report back on what they observe during an election? Maybe they’d even be willing to snap and share a picture of a precinct’s public tally? These are among the questions that a team headed by UC San Diego political scientist Clark Gibsonvwill be seeking to answer during the 2014 national elections in South Africa, thanks to a $1.38 million Stage 2 Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) grant from the United States Agency for International Development.
The team’s current project in South Africa follows up on work begun in 2010 in Afghanistan. That experiment – also supported by USAID, with a Stage 1 DIV grant, and co-led by Gibson with Long and then-UC San Diego doctoral student Michael Callen, now at UCLA – demonstrated that you can reduce electoral fraud simply and cheaply: Just by notifying officials that publicly posted tallies would be photographed, the researchers showed they could reduce fraud by as much as 60 percent.
Read the full press release here.
New DIV Award! Nyanza, Western Health Sectors Receive Major Boosts
USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) is delighted to announce a new Stage 2 award of $ 1 million to the Safe Water and AIDS Project (SWAP), an NGO that has been operating in Western Kenya since 2005.
Despite decades of public health investments in Western Kenya, the region continues to suffer from a high burden of disease. The two provinces of greatest concern in the country, Western and Nyanza, are marked by the highest rates of infant and child mortality-12% and 15%, respectively, compared to the national average of 8%. HIV/AIDS prevalence in these areas is also a challenge; compared to the national average of 6.3%, 6.6% of adults in Western Province, and a staggering 14% of adults in Nyanza Province, are HIV positive (2008-09 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey).
Existing solutions to address these public health challenges rely heavily on external donations, in many cases with little sustainable economic incentives to support the supply chain, or motivate the individuals ultimately responsible for delivering products to end users.
The SWAP business model aims to address these challenges in a financially self-sustaining way. SWAP’s goal is to increase adoption and use of public health products in low-income, rural communities, while simultaneously creating local, income-generating opportunities.
Pixatel Partners With USAID to Transform Rural Education Through eLearning
Pixatel Systems, a social enterprise focused on addressing critical developmental challenges through its Citizen Empowerment Solutions (CES), announced that it has won a highly competitive USAID Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) grant to develop a cloud based eLearning Platform.
The Stage 1 DIV grant will support development of a technology platform to improve the quality of education with a focus on basic numeracy and literacy. The platform’s computer-assisted learning will cater to individual students by allowing them to learn according to their own ability and at their own pace. The platform will initially host Pixatel’s learning software that provides game-like educational applications to teach basic math skills. The program will establish baseline skills for each student, and let students advance through subsequent levels corresponding with advanced concepts.
The Tiger Roars: New DIV Grantee will Test the “Tiger Toilet” that uses Worms for Good!
DIV is delighted to announce a new Stage 1 award of over $170,000 to Bear Valley Ventures Ltd to conduct a field trial of the Tiger Toilet in India, Uganda, and Burma. The Tiger Toilet is a latrine system that has the potential to be an affordable, compact, and superior alternative to pit latrines and septic tanks. It harnesses the capabilities of composting worms such as the Tiger Worm (Eisenia fetida), to digest the solids within the system, making it very compact and particularly suitable to high density urban environments.
$1 Million USAID Grant Allows Gram Power to Provide 30,000 Rural Indians with Electricity; UC Berkeley Researchers to Evaluate Impacts
Gram Power, a start-up with ties to the University of California, Berkeley, has received a $1 million grant to provide electricity to villages in rural India that lack access to the country’s electric-power grid. The grant, from the US Agency for International Development’s Development Innovation Ventures program, will enable Gram Power to install 40 of its “Smart Grids” in rural communities in the northern provinces of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, providing reliable power to about 30,000 people.
Read more about Gram Power’s plans to reach 800,000 people in the next 3 years.
USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah Announces DIV’s Presence in Peru with Two New Awards
At Demand Solutions, an event aimed at bringing together the most creative minds in the world to discuss and share innovative solutions for addressing development issues in Latin America and the Caribbean, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah announced the two newest awards in the DIV portfolio. With investments in the Stromme Foundation and Buen Power, DIV is excited to announce its new presence in Peru!
"Today," Dr. Shah began, "I’m proud to announce two new early-stage DIV investments to test promising solutions in Peru. In a region of Peru where 86 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty, we are going to partner with a local organization called Tierra de Ninos to reduce the impact of overgrazing—without limiting livestock production. This is an especially important focus—as overgrazing represents the single most important cause of environmental degradation in the Andes.”
At DIV Stage 1, Tierra de Niños and the Stromme Foundation will test how a technical innovation called Hydroponic Green Forage (HGF), which involves cultivating grass from barley in multi-level racks in greenhouses, impacts the social, economic, and environmental problems associated with raising livestock in the Andes.
Dr. Shah also highlighted DIV’s new award to Buen Power: “Our second new DIV grant will support a Peruvian enterprise piloting a new distribution model for providing clean and affordable energy to the more than 4.2 million Peruvians living without power,” he said. “Cofounded by a Peruvian entrepreneur and an American engineer, Buen Power will rigorously test the impact using teachers as a sales force for distributing d.lights—asolar technology has a proven record with off-grid communities in East Africa.”
At Stage 1, BPP will use funding to build a network of local teachers in largely inaccessible Andean, Alpine communities to distribute clean, renewable solar light to those without access to traditional sources of electricity.
Dr. Shah highlighted these projects as examples of USAID’s commitment to harnessing the power of innovation and entrepreneurship. "Both of these grants," he said, "seek to harness a community of innovators and entrepreneurs to solve difficult development challenges." Both investments are part of USAID’s Innovation Fund for the Americas, the Americas arm of DIV that aims to invest in cost-effective, breakthrough solutions to key development challenges in the region.
Matching Product Innovation with On-the-Ground Impact
By Zaks Lubin
Necessity may be the mother of invention, but it doesn’t always lead to adoption. In the DIV selection process and grant testing, we encounter many innovators who are creating products to solve urgent problems in the developing world while also tapping into potential new markets. Often, these innovators, even across different sectors and countries, run into similar challenges to their success. These obstacles take many forms, but a lot of them can be grouped into three categories:
1. Products are too expensive—for people making $2 or less a day, even a $20 product that might save hundreds of dollars over its lifetime might be too much to spend.
2. Products cannot be delivered to market—creating a supply chain or a distribution network to bring goods to citizens in remote areas of developing countries can be close to impossible, or at the very least extremely costly.
3. People do not know how to use the product or why to use them—sometimes, people simply do not understand how much a product that will clean drinking water or remove cancer-causing smoke from the kitchen will help them, or they simply do not know how to use them properly.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) recently hosted a Commercial Innovation Conference where Clifford Samuel from Gilead Sciences, and Keith Zook from Proctor & Gamble, described how their companies confronted these problems and how they attempted to address them.