Project Profile

PEPSE PIVOT: On-the-Job Training in PSE Best Practices

Project Name



USAID Economic Growth, Environment, and Agriculture (EGEA) Division in the Office of Sustainable Development in the Africa Bureau (AFR/SD)

Prime Contractor


Partner Organization



USAID Africa Bureau Missions: Ghana, Kenya/East Africa, Madagascar, Rwanda, Southern Africa, Uganda

Time Period

March 2019 - May 2021


The African continent has some of the world’s fastest growing economies. As markets grow and local companies become increasingly sophisticated, private sector engagement (PSE) will be a critical tool for solving some of Africa’s most persistent development challenges. In 2018, USAID launched its Agency-wide PSE Policy to dramatically expand collaboration with the private sector for better humanitarian and development outcomes. This shift in organizational culture has required tactical and operational change in the way USAID and its partners work. USAID Missions are being asked to strategically and intentionally cultivate new partnerships with the private sectorand change their approach in the design and delivery of humanitarian and development programs. This has generated demand within USAID for innovative guidance and skill-building tools for putting PSE into practice.

In Africa – where the promise of PSE is great – many USAID Missions sought additional training and support to strengthen their leadership and technical skills, knowledge, and capacity to effectively harness PSE for development impact.


Under the Promoting Excellence in Private Sector Engagement (PEPSE) project, Resonance, in collaboration with two other implementing partners, is leading the PIVOT – Practical, InnoVative, On-the-Job Training – cohort program. PIVOT supports USAID Missions in Africa in responding to the Agency-wide call for cultural and operational transformation to expand PSE.

PIVOT is the Africa Bureau’s organizational change management program that advances private sector engagement (PSE) through technical and leadership skills-building for greater development impact. This year-long, immersive, cohort-based program combines leadership and collaborating, learning, and adapting (CLA) skills with on-the-job training to equip USAID field staff to be catalysts for change in their Missions and support countries in accelerating development progress. In the PIVOT program, field staff engage in “learning by doing” activities, where regular team collaboration and access to practical, intentional professional development and mentoring tools help Missions to design, launch, and implement effective PSE initiatives.

Key Results

  • PIVOT worked with 36 field staff from six Africa Missions in Ghana, Kenya/East Africa, Madagascar, Southern Africa, Uganda, and Rwanda in its pilot year.
  • PIVOT provided support to increase participants’ knowledge and skills in private sector engagement (PSE), collaborating, learning, and adapting (CLA), and leadership.
  • We helped organize four five-day, in-person Cohort sessions in Accra, Ghana; Baltimore, MD; Nairobi, Kenya; and Washington, DC. Each Cohort is made up of cross-sectoral teams from Africa Missions. During these interactive and engaging sessions, facilitators and trainers guided Mission field staff through key principles, case studies, and training exercises for PSE. Our facilitators encourage peer-to-peer learning within the Cohort as well as hands-on exercises to practice key leadership, CLA, and PSE skills.
  • We established bimonthly Cohort calls and webinars, Affinity Groups (i.e., groups organized by sector backstop or functional role), and regular in-person meetings between Cohort members to inspire peer learning and collaboration. These platforms enable experiential learning and strengthen connections between USAID/Washington and participating Mission staff.
  • We supported the creation of cross-functional Change Teams within Missions to foster team-based learning and action.
  • Together with LEARN, we supported a Learning Review to capture promising practices, lessons learned, and evidence of change from the PIVOT Cohort program in its pilot year. Key findings revealed that the PIVOT Cohort program increased the PSE skills and confidence of participants and spurred significant cultural and operational change for PSE within participating Missions.

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