Leader with Associate Agreement

Higher Education for Development (HED), under a Leader with Associate Agreement (LWA), provides resources across each of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s program areas. Through Associate Awards, HED works directly with Missions to design programs that access the expertise and resources of an estimated 2,800 higher education institutions and their overseas partners.  

Services for Missions  

  • Program design, open communication to identify partners,merit-based implementation and partnership management.  
  • World-class university expertise that can be made available to Missions within a certain timeframe.  
  • Identification of expert advisory assistance. 
  • Roundtables on important development issues.  

The Leader with Associate Agreement (LWA) expands mechanisms available to implement programs, reduces the oversight required in issuing and managing cooperative agreements, and expedites the assistance process. The following are important characteristics of the LWA: 

  • Pre-competed award to the American Council on Education streamlines the assistance process, saving USAID time and conserving resources.
  • Missions can immediately access the Leader’s resources to design, develop and implement projects (unlike Indefinite Quantity Contracts). 
  • Associate Awards allow Missions to control programs and partnerships, and guarantee flexibility in their implementation.
  • Programs and partnerships operate as stand-alone agreements or support larger USAID programs. 
  • USAID has a single point of contact: one agreement, one reporting point.  

What are key differences between an LWA and an IQC?  

  • Under an Indefinite Quantity Contract, each task order is required to be competed among the pool of contractors identified in the IQC. The opposite is true under an LWA. The Leader recipient is awarded an Associate Agreement without any further competition. 
  • Associate Agreements are flexible. The Mission cognizant technical officer maintains a close relationship with the Leader recipient to develop and monitor the program. However, the Leader recipient takes responsibility for management and oversight, enabling and supporting the work of Mission staff. 
  • An Associate Agreement can be fast-tracked and signed within one month, with only a program description, budget, and marking plan needed for implementation.