We know that change is hard. That’s why we created the Lift open contracting program, to help reformers deliver results. We know it can be tough to bring together different agencies to align data, policy, and politics around a single goal to achieve impact.
Like many public procurement changemakers around the world, the Lift teams are navigating complex situations while developing their ambitious reform plans. In the first phase of the program, two of our Lift teams had elections, one of which brought a new party to power. Another team had to cope with a cyber attack, which left the entire local government locked out of its emails and electronic files.
Yet over the past several months, the Lift teams proved resilient. Over and over, they showed that it’s possible to advance meaningful reforms even in difficult circumstances. Since October, the teams have been focusing on thorough preparation. Through Lift, the teams have identified strategic entry points, created a cohesive theory of change, built buy-in with team members and engaged stakeholders. These are the five initiatives we are supporting:
- The team from Mexico City is expanding its successful ‘Ecobici’ bike-share program, bringing more bicycles to more neighborhoods through an open and competitive procurement process. With the new contract due to be awarded this summer, the team is already thinking about how to encourage others in city hall to replicate open contracting approaches beyond Ecobici.
- The City of Buenos Aires aims to promote local economic development through stronger and better participation of smaller businesses in public contracting. To make sure their solutions are feasible, the team will conduct a robust series of user research interviews with SMEs to understand the barriers they face to participating in city procurement.
- The team from the City of New Orleans is rethinking its procurement process to better represent the city’s values, with an eye to increasing vendor diversity and the amount of contracts awarded to local women- and minority-owned small businesses. Their reform plan includes creating a robust map of their entire procurement lifecycle, and translating this into a useful resource for city employees and vendors.
- The team in Ecuador, a partnership of the national procurement agency and civil society, has set out the ambitious impact goal of establishing a strong and efficient open procurement ecosystem. They are now pushing ahead to reach their objectives of publishing high-quality and open contracting data and launching a civil society public procurement observatory.
- Moldova’s Positive Initiative is advancing with their project to improve medical procurement, in particular by making the procurement of high-quality medicines for HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis more efficient. They will analyze the list of medicines the government currently purchases to identify lower-cost generic alternatives.
With strong plans in place developed throughout the first phase of the Lift program, we are excited to accompany them in the next phase: implementation.
We recognize that the teams will move forward at different speeds depending on the scope of their ambitions and logistical realities. So, we will continue working with the groups on two tracks at different levels of intensity as they put their plans into action. The three teams that are closest to impact – Buenos Aires, Mexico City, and Moldova’s Positive Initiative – will be on the Results track, and receive intensive support from us over the next 10 months to accelerate their journey. The City of New Orleans and the team in Ecuador will be on the Foundations track. These two teams need more time to reach their impact goals, as their reform plans require more systemic change. They will receive OCP support over the coming years as their projects progress.
We don’t yet know all the challenges that await the Lift teams as they proceed with implementation. But we are confident that these savvy reformers have the skills, plans, and drive to overcome barriers and achieve impact.
We are honored to accompany them, every step of the way. Stay tuned for Lift team project updates, progress, and impact stories on our program page.