2019 DRG Partners Forum Introduction

2019 DRG Partners Forum Introduction


Barb: As Jerry said, my name is Barb Lauer. I am the senior training advisor in the DRG Center. I’m also the coordinator of the last two weeks of events as well as today’s events. Jerry: Hi, I’m Jerry Lavery. I am the technical director of CEPPS. I’m really happy to be here this morning. We know– you look at the
post, you look at what’s going on in our world today; we know how many things are going on and how many priorities you have today, which makes me incredibly both excited and grateful that you have chosen to spend your day with us today.
So thank you. Jerry and I are going to go over a few details and then just a few challenges for you for what we’re looking at for today. First is the agenda. Everyone who took the survey last March: Thank you! Today’s agenda is based on your results and also your comments for how you would like the day to go. So thank you. One of the things we heard loudest from partners and DRG officers is that you really wanted to cover a couple of topics. The main one everybody talked about was this whole resurgence of the authoritarian regimes and what does that mean in our space of working both politically and sensitively, yet being very supportive of what’s going on. We also, throughout the day, have two sessions that are breakouts in each of those breakouts there’s a couple of options. There’s six options for how you
want to spend your time. A couple of those are big picture that relate to everyone in the room. A couple of them are focused on just technical areas, and then a couple are just– as professionals– how can we be the strongest professionals that we want to be, especially in this space? Something that’s not on the agenda that just came up is while we know an agenda the Administrator is opening for us in a few minutes, we’re closing today with the
Deputy Administrator, Bonnie Glick. I think that’s just a sign of the
importance of DRG in the world and to USAID today. I just wanted to recognize she will be joining us. After her closing, we’ll have a happy hour out there. She will join us for that and I hope all of
you will join as well. The one other thing you’re gonna see in your books and on the tables are evaluations. Just like we took it real seriously about you giving us from the survey, please let us know how you’re liking today; what you
don’t like; what’s going on; whether it works for you or not. So thank you very much for following that. There’s a couple of interesting things we’re doing in this time. We have Mark back there who is doing graphic recording. Jerry: Hi, Mark! Barb: Everyone say hi to Mark. [Audience: Hi, Mark.] Mark will be capturing the most important
messages of the day and we will use that as we’re moving forward. The other thing
is on the table out there, there was these ribbons. The ribbons are used for–
pick the ones both technically and personally that are interesting to you
and use them as a way of networking, getting to know people. Let me hand it over to Jerry. Jerry: Great, thanks so much, Barb. All right, so you’re probably
wondering what Herman Cain and the 999 plan have to do with the 2019 DRG
Partners Forum. I promise we’ll get to that, don’t worry. I am actually at the right conference as well. I’m not going to regale you with exciting tales of tax reform and I’ll circle back to Herman in a bit. So as we’ve already established I am NOT Herman Cain, I am Jerry Lavery. Part of why I believe I am here today,
why USAID asked me to kick off these festivities, is that they know that I’ve
attended many of these these forum over the years, both while I was with USAID but also as an implementer. Having worn both of these hats, I would like to think I have some insights into strategies for making sure we all make the most of today. This is a great opportunity that we’re
all in here. I’m very excited not to be tethered to my desk today. It’s so great
to see so many familiar faces in this room. I want us all to take full advantage of this opportunity. I am also very grateful for USAID for making this now an annual event as opposed to a biannual partners conference. It’s
fantastic that I saw many of the same faces in this room last year and it’s
great to see you all again this year. All right, so getting back to Herman Cain
and the 999 plan. So Herman inspired me to create what I call “Lavrey’s Three Double-C’s Plan for Ensuring that We All Get the Most Out of Today’s Conference” I promise you it’s not quite as lengthy as the 999 plan. We won’t get into the tax reform bit, but I’m just gonna try to give you some helpful pointers, I hope at
least, that I think will help me at least maximize what I hope to get out of the
conference today and hopefully that will prove helpful for all of you as well. All right, so the first set of double C’s: be community-focused and collegial. We need to recognize that we have shared goals and responsibilities. We’re all committed
to working for democracy and to making democracy work. We’re colleagues and
partners. This is an opportunity for us to have genuine dialogue today, right? It’s so great to see folks face-to-face. Be engaged. This is, in fact, a community. In order for it to remain vibrant, we need all of you to be active participants. Looking around this room, I don’t think that’s gonna be much of an issue today but I encourage you all to be engaged. Network! Obviously that’s a big reason why we do this, as well. It’s so great to catch up with lots of old friends. It’s also important for us all to make new
friends today, as well. All right, so, moving on to the second set of CCs: be constructive rather than critical. It’s much easier, as we all know, to identify problems and complain than it is to put forward workable solutions. Respect
different perspectives. We’re not all going to see eye to eye on everything and that’s perfectly okay. Different perspectives make our community stronger in the end. It’s also important that we use this as an opportunity to commiserate a bit. As we’re going to discuss, these are challenging times for democracy. These challenging times make the work that we do more important now than ever, but this is the community where we could share our grievances and the struggles that we’re having, and I’m really looking forward to the agenda in the discussions we have set forward for the rest of the day. These events I always find a bit cathartic, frankly, right? You’re my people and I can share my
hopes, aspirations, dreams with all of you. I hope that you all do that as well going forward. It’s also important that we be realistic but also ambitious. We’re not going to be able to solve all of the problems in the sector today, but if we can move the conversation forward that’s a
big win in and of itself. I’m confident we’ll be able to do that. The last set of CCs in my plan is be courageous and creative. It’s much easier to share success stories than it is to discuss challenges, but we often learn as
much if not more from our failures than we do from our successes. So on that bit,
I encourage everybody to share lessons learned which include not just the
successes but also the challenges that we all face and some of the obstacles to
success. So be creative. Explore new topics or new approaches to old problems. Step out of your comfort zone. Go to a session or topic you’re unfamiliar with. That’s a great opportunity that we all face in this, there’s frankly too many interesting topics for us to attend all of them. So I encourage you to step out
of your comfort zone a bit. The last bit, and there should not be a problem with this crowd, but we should all have fun. As I mentioned, it’s great that we’re actually doing this every year now. I look forward to these events every
year. This is a really great crowd and I’m hoping that we can all make the best
use of this time today and with that I’m sure that will make the agenda great and will make the event a success. So thank you all for your time and hopefully these little pointers are helpful going forward. Barb: Thank you, a few thank-yous. Right now, here’s just a question for this group: how many
organizations are represented in this room? Give me a number. 50? 100? 60? 110. As you’re looking around, there’s a hundred and ten organizations represented by almost 200 partner
representatives. I’m asking another question but I’m gonna ask the USAID people to not respond to this. How many countries are represented in this room by USAID representatives? Come on, give a number. 65? 40? Right in between those: 51. Fifty-one countries. We believe we have DRG programming– we say believe because it’s a little squishy– in about 70, so almost all of our
countries are represented here today. Thank you, so thank you, all of you
for making that time. The second is all of the co-leads. The conference people who have spent the time and energy preparing these sessions
today. We will have 20 different sessions, from plenaries and breakouts, so that’s at
least 40, and so just a deep thank you for those of you who who put time into
that. Every session is co-led by a partner and USAID. That’s not only important for today, that is important for how we operate as a community. That
we must be side to side in this work so thank you for that. The last thank you I want to do is– is Jen here? I see. Okay, there is a group of people who have worked tirelessly for months putting this together. The contract is called GROW and they are led by Jen Collins-Foley who is out
there working. All of the GROW team have blue nametags, so if you need
anything today please reach out to them. So please give a round of applause for
everybody we just thanked.

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