Introducing USAID’s new Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance

By Trey Hicks, Assistant to the Administrator, USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance

This is an exciting time for USAID — and personally for me. I have been at the helm of USAID’s Office of Food for Peace for the past two years and have experienced firsthand how U.S. humanitarian assistance is making a difference around the world. I worked alongside the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, and together, we responded to 66 disasters in 57 countries last year, saving tens of millions of lives.

Our combined legacy — nearly 66 years in responding to hunger emergencies and 56 years of leading the U.S. Government’s response to international disasters — reflects our values as Americans in providing life-saving assistance to communities who need help the most.

USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance combines the resource, expertise, and talents of former Offices of Food for Peace and U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, each with more than half a decade’s worth of experience. Photo credits: (left) Petterik Wiggers, WFP (right) Scott Fontaine, USAID

Now, both of these offices are uniting as USAID’s new Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance. While there are some wrinkles in any organizational change, much of the way we work will remain the same. We will continue to respond to disasters and humanitarian crises on behalf of the American people.

USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance has staff in more than 45 countries around the world. Map credit: USAID/BHA

We will also continue to work together as one team, coordinating with interagency partners, other international donors, partners on the ground, and affected communities to meet our longstanding mission — save lives, alleviate suffering, and reduce the impact of humanitarian crises. This is at the core of what USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance does every day, all over the world.

At the same time, BHA builds on our humanitarian responses and sets the initial foundations for longer-term recovery through early recovery, risk reduction, and resilience programs that help the world’s most vulnerable move beyond crisis and start their own journeys to self-reliance.

But we don’t do this work alone. The new Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance will be more closely connected to the resilience and stabilization programming across the Agency, so the development gains we have worked hard to achieve are not lost when the next crisis hits.

The new Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance does more than respond to disasters. We support at-risk
populations to build stable foundations for their Journey to Self-Reliance.

Why the change now? The world is constantly changing, and we must be as nimble as the challenges we face. Humanitarian crises are getting bigger and more complex, and the scope of need is growing. With the threat of COVID-19 increasing needs around the world, there is no better time to combine USAID’s two powerhouses in humanitarian assistance.

Every day, USAID’s staff — my colleagues — show up bringing their expertise, perseverance, and can-do attitude. As a new bureau, we are stronger together, and remain dedicated to do what we do best: Bringing help and hope to those who need it most. As BHA’s Assistant to the Administrator, along with Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator Max Primorac and the rest of the leadership team, we could not be more proud to lead this Bureau.

Trey Hicks serves as Assistant to the Administrator in the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance and as alter ego for the Associate Administrator for Relief, Response, and Resilience.

Follow me at @USAIDTreyHicks and follow USAID/BHA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.



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USAID Saves Lives

USAID Saves Lives

USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance saves lives on behalf of the American people.