Exchange Visitor and Participant Training Policy and Procedures
August 25, 2011 - 11:30 a.m.
||James Nindel, USAID Office of Education
Ethel Brooks, USAID Office of Education
This session provided participants with an overview of USAID policy and best-practice procedures regarding exchange visitors and participant training. James Nindel, Acting Team Leader of the Participant Training- HICD Team, discussed the modifications that will be made to the Automated Directive Systems (ADS) policies, including changes related to dependent travel and observers. Specifically explained were the ADS 252- Visa Compliance for Exchange Visitors and the ADS 253-Training for Development policies. ADS 252 relates to visa compliance for foreign nationals sponsored by USAID (using any amount of USAID funds) for all activities based in the United States, except training. ADS 253 focuses on all Participant Training activities for foreign nationals sponsored by USAID in both the United States and third countries, as long as the activity falls under USAID’s definition of Participant Training. Nindel noted that the selection criteria will be modified, and although ADS 252 and 253 have different scopes and therefore slightly different selection criteria, the two chapters should still be aligned.
Nindel provided information regarding USAID policy modifications and discussed dependent travel criteria and how Missions should establish their own dependent travel policies. A dependent is the spouse or child of the selected participant and there are different rules for selecting dependents according to the location of activities. A new provision will be added to ADS 253 with regard to observers, which will define the appropriate role of an observer and include information on what is or is not allowable.
Linda Walker of USAID discussed the Health and Accidental Coverage (HAC) policy. She advised the session participants to be aware of the HAC related notices that will come out in October. Walker also provided information on allowance rates. A participant addressed his concerns with the required HAC medical exams, including fraud. Walker emphasized the importance of the medical exams and stated that USAID wants to ensure that participants are healthy and beneficial to the program.
Ethel Brooks, Field Technical Advisor/International Training Specialist for USAID’s Office of Education, discussed some of the problems that occur regarding observers, citing her experience with a program called Community Connections. Sometimes a Mission will want an observer to come along with the group. The observer may be one of the stakeholders involved in the action plan, such as a technical assistance person. However, the involvement of observers has, in some cases, caused negative training experiences in the past.
Key take away points discussed were the modifications that will be made to the ADS policies including the changes related to dependent travel and observers. The selection criteria for ADS 252 (Visa Compliance for Exchange Visitors) and ADS 253 (Participant Training for Capacity Development) will be modified, including an additional provision in ADS 253 regarding observers.
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