Bureau for Resilience and Food Security Policy Division

Samjhana Chaudhary (left), is an agricultural extension worker teaching Nepali maize farmer Rupa Chaudhary (right) about farming practices that can improve yield and quality to meet market demand. Photo by: Rabik Upadhayay for USAID


The Policy Division is housed in the Policy, Analysis, and Engagement Office of USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security (RFS). The division supports USAID Missions and regional organizations to improve policy, decision-making, and accountability for achieving development outcomes in partner countries. The division's approach emphasizes localization, networking, and capacity-strengthening of partner institutions. We define policy as a set of three interlinked components: Agenda, Architecture, and Accountability. Our work is guided by three overarching U.S. Government initiatives:

Please see the GFSS Activity Design Guidance for Programming Approaches for Policy Systems Strengthening for more details on the Policy Division’s approach.

Improve policy, decision-making, and accountability for achieving development outcomes in partner countries.

Policy Programming

Strong and inclusive policy systems are essential for system-level change and country self-reliance. They can incentivize private sector investment, civic agency, and accountability, and they can encourage and accelerate good development outcomes. History tells us that no country has successfully developed its agriculture and improved nutrition, water access, and resilience without effective government policies and institutions. As development practitioners, we ignore or underinvest in public policy at our own peril.

The USAID/RFS  Policy Team describes the policy system as having three interrelated components:

  • the discrete laws or regulations that make up a country’s policy agenda,
  • the institutions and actors that define and implement those policies, or the institutional architecture, and
  • the process through which countries define and implement those policies and hold stakeholders to their commitments through mutual accountability.

Each of the Policy Team’s activities is designed to strengthen parts or all three legs of the policy system. Our activities described below provide Missions and RFS Centers with unique opportunities and tools for improving country capacity and commitment toward policy change, accelerating inclusive prosperity, and supporting food systems change across multiple sectors.


AKADEMIYA2063 is a world-class policy research organization headquartered in Kigali, Rwanda, resulting from the long-planned devolution of three IFPRI programs: the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS), the African Growth and Development Policy (AGRODEP), and the Malabo Montpellier Panel (MaMo). AKADEMIYA2063 mobilizes strong partnerships and collaborative networks across the continent to harness the best available knowledge and evidence to advance the African agenda. USAID/RFS was instrumental in establishing Akademiya2063. Read more about AKADEMIYA2063.


Policy Leadership, Interactions, Networks, and Knowledge (Policy LINK)

Policy LINK is a global Feed the Future program to advance leadership and collaboration for better policy systems.  Because effective policy systems require cooperation among diverse institutions and stakeholders, Policy LINK works with local and regional partners to develop sustainable partnerships between governments, the private sector, and other non-state actors for accelerated policy implementation.  Read more about Policy LINK, and contact Courtney Buck [email protected]  for more information. 


Policy, Evidence, Analytics, Research and Learning (PEARL)

The Policy, Evidence, Analytics, Research and Learning (PEARL) activity aims to generate and apply analytic tools and strengthen policy systems to promote inclusive agriculture-led growth, nutrition, resilience, and water security, sanitation, and hygiene. The program is centrally managed from within USAID/RFS to allow for the flexibility to respond to Missions in addressing country-specific needs. PEARL is implemented by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Read more about IFPRI, and contact Biniam lyob [email protected] for more information.  


Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research Capacity and Influence (PRCI)

The PRCI Innovation Lab focuses on enhancing the ability of local policy research organizations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to conduct high-quality, policy-relevant food security research. The PRCI Innovation Lab offers Missions and RFS Centers a unique opportunity to tap into an emerging infrastructure of local think tanks, institutes, and networks for countries to sustainably produce their own food security policy research. The Lab partners with policy research centers in Africa and Asia and mentors these centers through a rigorous self-assessment of their strengths and weaknesses for shaping effective policy systems. The activity also connects these institutes across regional networks generating peer-to-peer learning and cross-country evidence.  Read more about PRCI Innovation lab.