On Tuesday, October 1st, the USAID Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) congratulated Cloudburst as one of four small businesses that were awarded a Small Business Applied Research contract co-created with the Cambodia Mission. Cloudburst, along with PartnersGlobal and the DevLab at Duke University, will implement an innovative Randomized Control Trial (RCT) to test a civil society resiliency strengthening model designed to build the organizational capacity of civil society organizations and decrease their reliance on funding from government and large international donors.

As USAID focuses more attention on the Journey to Self-Reliance (J2SR), which emphasizes achieving locally sustained capacity to work toward a time when foreign assistance is no longer necessary, the development community and USAID together need to understand what capacity-building models are most effective to foster local resilience and self-reliance. For USAID/Cambodia, this includes developing a path to self-reliance for local civil society organizations who contribute to USAID’s development goals in three key sectors of Public Health/Education, Food Security/Environment, and Democracy/Governance to achieve desired results.

Building from PartnersGlobal’s trademark Resiliency+ Framework, Cloudburst will assist organizations in these three sectors to become more resilient against civic space threats and enable them to identify potential sustainable and long-term revenue sources. Mentoring will help organizations to expand their network connections, improve their organization and technical capacity to effectively manage and diversify source of incomes, develop strategies to become self-reliant, and improve their programming.

To test the impact of the Resiliency+ Framework on organizational adaptive capacities and resiliency in the face of closing civic space, a RCT will measure which elements of Resiliency+ Framework have what effects on resilience and key outcome indicators to enable a careful cost-benefit analysis of the R+ interventions. The results of the RCT will inform both the proof of concept and the feasibility of scaling the intervention. In particular, the impact evaluation will examine the casual link between promoting financial diversification and CSO performance (i.e., sustained resilience) in challenging environments. If the evaluation results demonstrate that the Resiliency+ Framework increases CSO financial diversity, which then improves CSO performance, this model can be scaled to promote organizational self-reliance globally.

The Cloudburst Group is a mission-driven Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business that works to improve social, economic, and environmental resilience. Through translating research and evidence into strategic capacity-building, training, and knowledge generation, particularly in the democracy, human rights, governance, and natural resource management sectors globally, Cloudburst works to create lasting impact in communities.