Saturday, February 15, 2014

USAID Public Relations Problems

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) feels it has a publicity problem. In military parlance that could mean Public Affairs (PR), information operations (IO), or inform and influence activities (IIA). Whatever you want to call it - PR, IO, or IAA - USAID has a perception problem. The USAID has been on the receiving end of countless reports detailing waste, fraud, and corruption in the development projects it oversees in Afghanistan. So in an attempt to counter the bad publicity it has been getting it wants to hire professional photographers to photograph its various projects upon which it has oversight. However, it appears (according to the solicitation) that photographer needs to be able to operate within Afghanistan independent of USAID and military forces - as the photographer will be visiting places USAID and the US military no longer can visit because of security reasons (security still is not that great in Afghanistan evidently). This begs the question. If USAID can't visit the project sites to take its own photographs how can USAID provide proper oversight on those projects involving millions of dollars? Things that make you go "Hmmmmm". Read more in "USAID struggles to capture a different picture of Afghanistan", The Washington Post, February 13, 2014.

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