The United States faces great challenges in the 21st century statecraft. Encountering political upheavals and natural disasters, the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) is an important instrument for the U.S. Government to effectively engage in contingency environments. 

 

As a unique and highly specialized office, OTI is a fast, responsive, and flexible tool in advancing U.S. foreign policy. We work in critical crises at critical times to make critical differences that help countries transition from conflict and turmoil toward peace and democracy. Our programs put comparatively small amounts of money on small targets, stressing speed, calculated risk-taking, and innovation. From its inception in 1994, OTI has developed a unique and effective operational model. 

 

Over its 20-year history, OTI has played a key role in places important to U.S. foreign policy and continues to make a significant impact by implementing catalytic programs to strengthen the resilience of our partners and beneficiaries, keeping transitional countries on a positive trajectory. 

OTI Mission Statement

In support of US foreign policy, OTI seizes emerging windows of opportunity in the political landscape to promote stability, peace, and democracy by catalyzing local initiatives through adaptive and agile programming.

 

OTI works with local agents of change, including indigenous non-governmental organizations, civil society, media groups, and local and national government offices. Programs are designed to meet the specific needs of the country and, once started, OTI programs are responsive and designed to adjust to fluid situations. In addition to the core Transition Initiatives account, OTI programs have received funding from: the Transition Initiatives account, the International Disaster and Famine Assistance (IDFA) account, the Economic Support Fund (ESF), the World Bank, and the UK's Department for International Development. OTI programs empower local partners at a national and local level to reduce conflict, increase transparency and accountability, and foster positive political change through:

 

  • Technical and logistical support to key aspects of peace processes such as constitution drafting, negotiations, and national referendums

  • Quick-impact projects that highlight peace dividends

  • Bringing people from feuding ethnic or religious groups to work productively together

  • Disseminating fair and unbiased information more widely through open media outlets

  • Reintegrating ex-combatants and displaced persons and protecting vulnerable populations, often from refugee camps and persecuted minority groups

  • Strengthening governance at the national and local level by fostering linkages between civil society and national and local government bodies and encouraging government responsiveness to citizen needs

  • Working directly with the country leadership to bolster strategic communications and functional capacity of the executive branch

 

OTI Core Principles

Through a hands-on management and monitoring structure, OTI and implementing-partner field staff are constantly assessing, adapting, and acting based on changing political situations. With a political focus and intensive management of country program strategies and activities, OTI programming often straddles the space between humanitarian response and longer-term development.

POLITICAL FOCUS:

  • OTI focuses on transforming perceptions and cultivating buy-in to peace processes.

  • OTI supports non-traditional local change agents for peaceful political transitions.

 

INTENSIVE MANAGEMENT:

  • OTI administers daily oversight with implementing partners who provide a platform for action and flexibility.

  • OTI staff in Washington, DC are responsible for contract management, which allows the field staff to focus on implementation.

 

LEARNING & INNOVATION:

  • Rigorous monitoring and evaluation occurs throughout the program cycle and informs strategic changes based on new information.

  • New technologies help analyze data and capture best practices to improve institutional learning.

 

FIELD DRIVEN:

  • OTI Country Representatives drive programmatic decisions.

  • OTI's interative programming enables immediate local pivots based on constantly changing dynamics.