During this immensely challenging time, our oversight of U.S. foreign assistance is as important as ever. COVID-19 knows no borders, requiring every person on the planet to be mindful of our shared responsibilities to stop the virus’ spread and to make the best use of the resources at hand. At USAID OIG, this means protecting the health and safety of our employees and those we work with, while continuing to safeguard and strengthen U.S. foreign assistance.
To continue to provide critical oversight of Federal programs and operations under our purview, our office has implemented a three-pronged strategy:
Protecting Staff and Maintaining Operations. Staff welfare remains my top priority. At the start of the pandemic, we instituted OIG-wide telework, with staff worldwide working remotely and observing the latest guidance on travel. We also operationalized Federal guidance on other work flexibilities, including use of leave related to the pandemic. Additionally, our executive team meets frequently to confirm we are adapting operations needed to support our staff and work, such as providing just-in-time training for effectively using remote work tools and ensuring staff continue to have secure access to the resources they need.
Monitoring and Assessing COVID-19 Programs. As USAID programs and activities expand to address COVID-19 around the world, we are adjusting our oversight work accordingly to help ensure responsible stewardship of USAID funds intended to address the pandemic. Drawing on our Top Management Challenges reports, investigative observations, and past findings and recommendations, we plan to issue an advisory with key considerations for USAID as it confronts the risks of rapidly deploying a response to a public health emergency of international concern, including demands associated with coordinating with the U.S. Departments of State and Health and Human Services as well as local and international authorities.
Prioritizing Oversight of U.S. Foreign Assistance. Finally, we are continually assessing our audit and investigative priorities as the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact evolves. As our resources and operations permit, we will continue ongoing audit and investigative work related to USAID, MCC, DFC, USADF, and IAF programs and operations, while coordinating with our oversight partners and keeping agency leadership, Congress, and the public informed of the results of our work.
We remain committed to the highest levels of accountability and to keeping our stakeholders informed of our work and operations.