Susan D. Page, Devex: Susan Page, who served as U.N. assistant secretary-general to Haiti and in various U.S. government roles, including USAID, said that even when the agency attempts to work with smaller organizations, often the math just doesn’t work.
“It costs as much money for a big organization like USAID to manage a $5 million program … as it does for them to manage a $100,000 project — let alone a $25,000 or a $50,000 project,” said Page, now a professor at the University of Michigan. “That’s where I think the model is such that these awards would almost inevitably only go to the big firms that have managed to develop that capacity.”
“It’s the perennial question: How do you get experience if you’ve never had the job?” Page, of the University of Michigan, asked, noting the difficulty organizations face getting proposals accepted even under programs ostensibly designed exactly for their purpose. “How do you get there if you’ve never been there?”