WASHINGTON: The US Agency for International Development is hoping to capitalize on the goodwill it built up in the hardest hit areas of the tsunami disaster.USAID is looking for agencies in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, the countries with the highest death tolls, to tout the success of its tsunami relief efforts and improve its image in those countries.
The government, which plans to spend almost half a million dollars on the efforts over the next year, is hoping to rally political support and temper public opposition for US involvement in the region.
Both campaigns will promote the long history and benefits of US assistance programs.
In Indonesia, USAID plans to undertake a 30-day media blitz, and will enlist an agency to design and place PSAs highlighting its 55 years of foreign aid there.
The government expects to spend between $350,000 and $370,000 on the campaign, which will run through February 1.
It will also follow-up with long-term outreach to increase the visibility and stem criticism of US assistance efforts.
The initiative comes on the heels of findings from focus groups in May showing that Indonesians were generally unaware of the "scale and result" of US aid efforts, and were suspicious of them, according to the RFP.
In addition to PSAs, the selected agency will also work on developing messages about how USAID has benefited Indonesians, and personal accounts will be a key tactic.
In Sri Lanka, USAID is seeking a local agency for a one-year $94,000 campaign to help plan the 50th anniversary celebration of US assistance in the country.
USAID plans to promote the April event with posters, media tours, speaking engagements, and branded material such as hats, key chains, pens, stickers and t-shirts.
Local reporters will be invited to tour USAID mission sites, and senior Sri Lankan and international officials will be enlisted as spokespeople.
USAID is undertaking the outreach initiative as it plans multimillion-dollar projects to rebuild infrastructure, schools, and harbors across the devastated regions.