After a long Memorial Day weekend, I am looking forward to the second week of my summer internship with the National Center for State Courts International Programs Division.

Shortly before my arrival last week, the Center received Requests for Proposals (RFPs) from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for anticipated projects in Peru and El Salvador. I spent my first day at the Center learning exactly what this means:

USAID, the government agency responsible for administering civilian foreign aid, provides financial and technical assistance through country-specific programs designed to address particular issues. When USAID issues an RFP for an anticipated program, many organizations, businesses and non-profits alike, are invited to submit proposals for how they would implement the program and effect any requested changes. Much like contractors submitting bids for a construction job, these proposals must be detailed as to the methodology, cost and resources required for their implementation. The winning bidder, selected by USAID, is contracted to implement the program in the host country.

The Center exists to improve the judicial administration of courts in the United States and, through the International Programs Division, the world. It works to strengthen rule of law by providing technical assistance, training and technology to countries in need.  I will spend the next few weeks conducting research on the justice systems of Peru and El Salvador to aid in preparing the proposals we will submit to USAID at the end of June.  The Center, which currently implements a State Department-funded program in Honduras, is hoping to expand its Latin American presence.