USAID Digital Development Advisors Training Workshop

Training for the leading edge in ICT4D

Developed and led by TechChange, this in-person training prepared the key implementers and influencers of USAID’s Digital strategy to accelerate its implementation Agency-wide and realize a more open, secure, and inclusive digital ecosystem.

About the Client

The United States Agency for International Development is the world’s premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. Digital Development Advisors (DDAs) help USAID Missions around the world to implement the Agency’s Digital Strategy and support the integration of digital tools and approaches in USAID programming.

Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI) helps USAID to implement its Digital Strategy via the Digital Frontiers funding mechanism. TechChange partnered with USAID and DAI to design and execute a highly engaging, 5-day workshop.

Defining the Solution

USAID wanted to bring DDAs together to grow their networks, build confidence as digital development communicators, and review best practices and the latest happenings in digital development to help them succeed in their roles as Mission champions for digital development.

TechChange worked with key Agency stakeholders to define the learning objectives for the training through an ideation workshop and then developed a custom high-level agenda to achieve those objectives, including the recruitment of internal and external speakers, creation of custom interactive activities, and logistics planning and management.


"I’ve worked for USG for 16 years and this is the best training I’ve done. To see so many colleagues has been amazing. Especially to see people in person. Knowing my colleagues now, and learning from them, I do not feel lonely any more.”

-Digital Development Advisor (participant) from Vietnam

TechChange’s Role

TechChange provided comprehensive training development, management and delivery services, culminating in a successful five-day workshop held in Washington, DC. The project team leveraged human-centered design principles to engage participants to provide feedback from the inception of this workshop through the ideation session all the way through the workshop activities themselves to ensure that the targeted community felt included. Peer-to peer learning was a key feature of the training. Participants shared their own expertise and experiences through case study presentations embedded throughout the workshop. The case studies provided all participants with valuable insights and illustrated the real-world application of the high-level information presented in the training sessions. The project team intentionally took participants’ needs into consideration when curating workshop content and activities, creating a meaningful experience for all involved.

22 participants from 22 countries on 6 continents
30 sessions on topics from cybersecurity to interoperability
2 off-site visits with Microsoft and Google to view cutting edge technologies
100% of participants agreed that workshop achieved objectives and was engaging

A Week of Learning, Connection, and Exploration

TechChange created a dynamic and diverse agenda of sessions across foundational and advanced topics within digital development, from understanding digital literacy concerns in programming to using artificial intelligence (AI) to “burden bust” common mission challenges. Speakers from across USAID program areas were recruited and coached to deliver interactive sessions. The project team leveraged internal expertise to create a custom session on gender and its cross-cutting implications in digital development work. TechChange’s CEO Nick Martin facilitated a “speed-dating” networking activity and delivered a session on generative AI. Site-visits with Google and Microsoft immersed participants in real-world examples of how the cloud, AI, machine learning, 5G, mixed reality, and other innovations can advance government initiatives.

Ongoing Learning and Community

DDAs are leaders who drive forward digital innovation from Kenya to Columbia, Liberia to Vietnam. One of the most valuable outcomes of this inspiring workshop was that DDAs reported feeling more connected to each other, and to key leadership within USAID. DDAs had face-to-face closing sessions with USAID Administrator Samantha Power and USAID Counselor Clinton White to share questions and reflections on the future of the Digital Strategy at the agency. At the end of the week, participants requested more DDA workshops and convenings in the future, from a yearly workshop to regional or virtual global meetings to continue to connect and collaborate across diverse settings.


This five-day workshop provided 22 participants with the opportunity to enhance their skills and knowledge via 30 different immersive sessions, build their networks with internal and external resources, and engage in external site visits to cutting edge technology partners. As a foundation and template for future trainings, the workshop built a solid base for future DDA programming.

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