The Journey to Self-Reliance

According to U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), self-reliance is the capacity to plan, finance, and implement solutions to local development challenges, and a commitment to see these through effectively, inclusively, and with accountability. In order to foster self-reliance, USAID developed a Policy Framework to ensure all partner countries -like Cambodia- can eventually solve development challenges without assistance. Their approach has three principles: (1) prioritize countrywide progress toward self-reliance, by (2) making strategic investments to achieve the greatest impact, through (3) programs and partnerships that sustain results over the long term.

Two factors determine a country’s self-reliance:

  • Commitment: the degree to which a country’s laws, policies, actions, and informal governance mechanisms — such as cultures and norms — support progress towards self-reliance; and
  • Capacity: how far a country has come in its ability to manage its own development journey across the dimensions of political, social, and economic development, including the ability to work across these sectors.

As a country increases its commitment and capacity to plan, finance, and implement solutions to local development challenges, its level of self-reliance should also increase.

Self-reliance metrics help us understand where in the journey a Country is situated in the first place. This is the central goal of the 17 self-reliance metrics described below:

A full description of each of the metrics, as well as data sources, can be found here.

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