Transition Initiatives

Transition Initiatives At A Glance

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Transition Initiatives funding is assistance intended to address immediate needs to support political transitions and long-term development for countries in crisis.

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Transition Initiatives funding is assistance intended to address immediate needs to support political transitions and long-term development for countries in crisis. It is administered by the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) within USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, and was created in 1994 to bridge the gap between emergency disaster relief programs and long-term development assistance. This effort emerged after officials expressed a need for the ability to address key foreign policy priorities more quickly. OTI authority is derived from international disaster assistance provisions in Section 491 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, and the authority was expanded in the FY1994 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act (P.L. 103-87) by widening the mandate of the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) to include reconstruction activities. OTI activities were sourced from the OFDA account until the OTI budget line item was created by Congress in the FY2001 Foreign Operation Appropriations Act (P.L. 106-429). The authority permits rapid responses by granting near-complete executive discretion.  The bill language requires that the House and Senate Appropriations committees be given a five day notification prior to starting new programs. Broadly, activities funded by this account include assistance to develop, strengthen or preserve democratic institutions and processes, revitalize basic infrastructure and foster the peaceful resolution of conflict. OTI programming typically consists of small grants between $5,000-50,000 and has been carried out in approximately 40 countries since its inception. Its activities include employment programs to reintegrate combatants in a post-conflict environment, providing equipment and technical support for independent media organizations, organizing civic forums and supporting small, community-led infrastructure projects, among others.

Program Data

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