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USAID Resilience and Food Security Digital Strategy Action Plan

By Guest Writer on March 9, 2022

RFS Digital Strategy Action Plan
The application of digital technology within resilience and food security sectors has both sectorally unique elements, as well as some commonalities. Digital technologies present an opportunity to benefit multiple resilience and food security sectors in parallel. In fact, the potential cross-sectoral nature of digital technologies makes them all the more relevant, in terms of both increased efficiency and broader impact.

For example, the application of risk management tools used in resilience programming contribute to sustaining availability and affordability of nutritious foods. In addition, digital technologies applied to addressing food-safety risks have directly contributed to SME growth and access to finance.

However some aspects of digital development limit agriculture, food security, resilience, nutrition, and water security, sanitation and hygiene programming, including:

  • digital ecosystem barriers related to the digital divide
  • limited rural connectivity
  • inclusion and policy gaps
  • lack of widespread data literacy
  • inadequate data management and privacy protections

These barriers are more pronounced in some countries than in others. Both the availability and affordability of digital infrastructure and hardware can vary widely, even among neighboring countries. For example, the cost of mobile data in Chad is more than 86 times more expensive than in neighboring Sudan.

USAID RFS Bureau Digital Vision

The Bureau for Resilience and Food Security aims to use digital technologies effectively to create more inclusive, efficient, prosperous, healthy, and connected agriculture, food, and water systems today — and more climate-smart and resilient agriculture, food, and water systems for tomorrow that sustainably support the health, well-being, and livelihoods of our target populations.

The Bureau for Resilience and Food Security Digital Vision Statement: Responsibly and appropriately leverage digital technologies and enable digital ecosystems to support the development objectives of RFS and Missions.

This vision statement recognizes that we are now, for the most part and increasingly, living in a digital world. It is, therefore, critical that RFS employ a holistic focus in incorporating digital technologies across our portfolio to achieve our development goals and maximize the impact of our investments, as opposed to considering digital as a nice-to-have or add-on.

USAID RFS Digital Strategy Action Plan

The USAID Bureau for Resilience and Food Security Digital Strategy Action Plan (DSAP) follows the launch of USAID’s Digital Strategy 2020-2024. Our priorities for the Bureau align with the broader objectives of the Digital Strategy, as follows:

  • Improve measurable development and humanitarian assistance outcomes through the responsible use of digital technology in our programming; and
  • Strengthen the openness, inclusiveness, and security of country digital ecosystems.

The Action Plan seeks to guide RFS’s work in digital, which includes RFS support to USAID Missions on this topic, although it is not an action plan for Missions.

The RFS Digital Strategy Action Plan aims to share the issues and initiatives that RFS will prioritize during the course of the Agency’s current Digital Strategy. The priorities are grounded in an understanding of the Bureau’s current digital programming, its existing priorities and initiatives, as well as the broader context beyond USAID.

The Digital Strategy Action Plan is also consistent with a number of USAID policies and initiatives, such as USAID’s Digital Strategy, from which this Action Plan process was born, as well as overarching U.S. Government strategies that guide RFS’s work, such as the Global Food Security Strategy, the Global Water Strategy, the Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy, the Resilience Policy and forthcoming Climate Strategy.

The priorities serve as a starting point for strategic planning to facilitate greater coherence in our programming across countries, as well as engender collaboration across the technical sub areas of RFS.

A lightly edited synopsis of USAID Bureau for Resilience and Food Security Digital Strategy Action Plan 

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