Understanding CLA

On this page:   What is it?   |   How do I get started?   |   Important Tips What is it? Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) is a set of practices that help us improve our development effectiveness. Learning has always been part of USAID’s work, and most USAID missions and implementing partners are already practicing CLA in some way. Our aim now is to make CLA more systematic and in

Planning for CLA

On this page:   What is it?   |   How do I get started?   |   Important Tips What is it? Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) involves using strategic collaboration, continuous learning and adaptive management to improve organizational effectiveness and development results. Integrating CLA into development efforts takes planning. By developing a plan tailored to the context, Missions/OU

M&E for Learning

On this page:   What is it?   |   How do I get started?   |   Important Tips What is it? The purpose of monitoring, evaluation and learning practices is to apply knowledge gained from evidence and analysis to improve development outcomes and ensure accountability for the resources used to achieve them (ADS 201.3.5). When investing in monitoring and evaluation, USAID staff and implementing p

Learning Agenda

On this page:   What is it?   |   How do I get started?   |   Important Tips What is it? A learning agenda includes a (1) set of questions addressing critical knowledge gaps (2) a set of associated activities to answer them and (3) products aimed at disseminating findings and designed with usage and application in mind. A learning agenda can help you: Test and explore assumptions and hypoth

Engaging Stakeholders

On this page:   What is it?   |   How do I get started?   |   Important Tips What is it? “Achieving and sustaining any development outcome depends on the contributions of multiple and interconnected actors...Each set of interconnected actors whose collective actions produce a particular outcome is a local system.” ~ USAID Local Systems Framework Development is an inherently collaborativ

Portfolio Review and CDCS Mid-Course Stocktaking

On this page:   What is it?   |   How do I get started?   |   Important Tips What is it? Portfolio reviews and the Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) mid-course stocktaking are complementary approaches for a Mission’s ongoing learning and adapting within the Program Cycle.  Both processes play an important role, serving as key “pause and reflect” moments for the Missi

Adaptive Management

On this page:   What is it?   |   How do I get started?   | Important Tips What is it? USAID’s work takes place in environments that are often unstable and in transition. Even in more stable contexts, circumstances evolve and may affect programming in unpredictable ways. For its programs to be effective, USAID must be able to adapt in response to changes and new information. The ability

CLA in Activity Design and Implementation

On this page:   What is it?   |   How do I get started?   |   Important Tips What is it? The development results of an activity will be enhanced when programming is coordinated, grounded in evidence, and adjusted as necessary to optimize effectiveness throughout implementation.  By integrating collaborating, learning and adapting (CLA) throughout the activity design and procurement pro

Enhancing Organizational Culture for CLA

On this page:   What is it? | Important Tips What is it? A team or organization’s culture is its set of shared norms and beliefs - both spoken and unspoken. The culture, and resulting organizational climate is established over time by leaders and team members and informed by the organizational purpose and context within which it operates. Culture is continually communicated, reinforced, and ch

Resourcing CLA

On this page:   What is it?   |   How do I get started?   |  Important Tips What is it? Integrating CLA into how we design and implement programming in an intentional and systematic way requires adequate resources. For example, strategic collaboration requires staff time to identify and engage the right stakeholders. An investment of time is also required to build trusting relationships

Managing Knowledge

On this page:   What is it?   |   How do I get started?   |  Important Tips What is it? In order for staff to collaborate, learn, and adapt effectively, there needs to be a culture in place that supports openness to new learning, processes that help capture knowledge and bring evidence and institutional memory to bear in decision making, and resources to support the planning, facilitation

CLA and the Journey to Self-Reliance (J2SR) in CDCS Planning and Development

USAID’s Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) principles and approaches help staff and partners to work more effectively with local actors, country partners, and others to generate and share learning that can be used to inform strategic choices and programming decisions in a Mission’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS). This tool serves as an interface to help users understan

Additional Help: Activity Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Plan Template

Each activity is required to have an Activity Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Plan to support management of the activity and to inform USAID and the implementing partner about whether and how an activity is making progress toward stated results. The How-To Note: Activity Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Plan provides an overview of what is typically included in an Activity MEL Plan

Resourcing CLA Example: CLA Position Descriptions

Examples of position descriptions for CLA-focused staff as highlighted in the Resourcing CLA landing page of the CLA Toolkit.

Resourcing CLA Example: CLA Mechanism

Example language for a CLA Mechanism as highlighted in the Resourcing CLA landing page of the CLA Toolkit.

A Guide to Hiring Adaptive Employees

If you are involved in hiring, this tool can help you increase your chances of selecting staff members skilled in adaptive management. It will help answer the questions: Which competencies should I recruit for in order to hire more adaptive employees? Which desired qualifications should I incorporate into position descriptions to attract adaptive employees? Which interview questions should I ask t

Designing CLA Services in Support Activities

Strategic collaboration, continuous learning, and adaptive management throughout the Program Cycle helps USAID missions and operating units (OUs) achieve better development outcomes. Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) can be integrated into the procurement process, solicitation, and management of implementing mechanisms. Support activities, also known as support platforms or support mecha

Designing and Facilitating Learning-Focused Meetings

A Pause and Reflect moment can take many variations (team retreats, individual time to read and process, after-action reviews, etc.), but one of the most common missed opportunities is meetings. These include implementing partner meetings, stakeholder meetings, office meetings, all-hands meetings, portfolio reviews, mid-course stocktaking, or other recurring or one-off meetings. Using participator

Designing and Faciltiating Learning-Focused Meetings: Sample Agendas

These are four sample agendas from learning-focused meetings.

People with Possibility: Achieving Adaptive Management

At Mercy Corps, our experience and work on adaptive management has shown time and again that managers are key to creating a team culture where individuals are encouraged to collaborate, learn and adapt. We are now training managers and their teams in four specific practices to foster this adaptive culture.

The Road to Adaptive Management

There is some agreement that flexible and adaptive management, throughout the programme cycle and in the financial and operational management of implementation, is essential for programme effectiveness. Yet for a wide variety of reasons, most organisations have far to go to reach this adaptive ideal. This study provides a catalyst for an open discussion of the many challenges to adaptive managemen

10 Principles of Organizational Culture

Research shows that companies that use a few specific cultural catalysts — that is to say, those that use informal emotional approaches to influencing behavior — are significantly more likely to experience change that lasts. Of the companies that reported consciously using elements of their culture in Strategy’s 2013 Global Culture & Change Management Survey, 70 percent said their firms

Knowing When to Adapt - A Decision Tree

This job aid will help you determine how best to resolve a challenge/issue in programming. It is intended for use by USAID, partners, and others working in international development.

Managing Staff Transitions Through CLA: Preserving Institutional Memory as Staff Come and Go

Most USAID Missions and USAID/Washington operating units (OUs) have a set of guidance, policies, and templates to manage the administrative, logistical, and security aspects of onboarding and offboarding staff. Less often, however, is there a system in place to manage the transfer of institutional knowledge, contextual understanding, and critical relationships that have been acquired by the depart

Pathways to Integrating CLA in Your Work

PPL/LER developed a concept for helping staff to think about intregrating CLA on an individual level, the Pathways for Integrating CLA in Your Work.  Here is a job aid outlining that guide for thinking systematically or holistically about CLA.

Learning Activities Grid

The engagement grid below outlines a variety of approaches to conducting learning activities to help answer learning questions. Often, we rely on approaches that we have used in the past without pausing to reflect on whether those approaches are the best fit given our learning questions. This grid is intended for use by USAID and implementing partner staff when developing or reviewing learning act

Learning Questions Checklist

This checklist is intended for use by USAID and implementing partner staff when developing or reviewing learning questions during monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) planning processes. It can be used to assess the appropriateness of each learning question based on utility, focus, feasibility, and inclusivity. For more on learning questions and MEL, see also the USAID CLA Toolkit section on

Learning by Thinking: Overcoming the Bias for Action through Reflection

Research on learning has primarily focused on the role of doing (experience) in fostering progress over time. Drawing on literature in cognitive psychology and neuroscience, we propose that one of the critical components of learning is reflection, or the intentional attempt to synthesize, abstract, and articulate the key lessons taught by experience. In particular, we argue that purposeful reflect

Participatory Facilitation Techniques

A table of participatory facilitation techniques with descriptions and additional resource links.

Creating an Adaptive, Action-Oriented Team

This one-pager was created by Rebecca Herrington on behalf of the Developmental Evaluation Pilot Activity. You can find more information on developmental evaluation here.

Shock Responsive Programming and Adaptive Mechanisms

This guidance is intended to inform USAID staff, especially Mission project design and management teams and OAA staff, on options for designing flexible, shock responsive programs and as well as options to respond to shocks through existing development programs that were not designed with shock responsiveness in mind. 

Adaptive Mechanism Case Study: USAID/Central Asia's Power the Future

USAID/Central Asia's Power the Future activity is a four-year (2017-2021), $24 million single-award indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract designed to facilitate adaptive management through task orders driven by context and opportunity.

Adaptive Mechanism Case Study: USAID/Kenya's Feed the Future Innovation Engine (KIE)

Spanning five and a half years (2012-2017), USAID/Kenya's Feed the Future Innovation Engine (KIE) sought to identify, foster and bring to scale innovative private sector solutions to persistent poverty and food insecurity. KIE was a hybrid contract, combining firm fixed price (FFP), fixed-price incentive fee (FPIF) and firm-fixed price level of effort (FFP-LOE). It also incorporated a Grants Under

Adaptive Mechanism Case Study: USAID/Zimbabwe's Civil Society Strengthening Program (CSSP)

Both in the design of the mechanism and in the ways it was implemented, Zimbabwe's Civil Society Strengthening Program (CSSP) benefited from systematic and intentional incorporation of features that facilitated adaptive management. Working with an objectives-based, cost plus fixed fee (CPFF) contract, the Mission awarded Pact $26.8 million in June 2012 for a five-year program (2012-2017) that inco

Adaptive Mechanism Case Study: USAID/Kosovo’s Transparent, Effective and Accountable Municipalities (Team) Program

USAID/Kosovo's Transparent, Effective and Accountable Municipalities (TEAM) program is a five-year (2017-2022) Cost Plus Award Fee (CPAF) contract designed to facilitate adaptive management and local ownership of the activity. Language in the solicitation explicitly encouraged adaptive management, and offerors were required to submit an Adaptive Management Plan. In addition, adaptation is one of t

Adaptive Mechanism Case Study: USAID/Indonesia's Urban Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (IUWASH) Program

USAID/Indonesia's Urban Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (IUWASH) program was designed to support the Government of Indonesia (GOI) in making significant progress toward achieving its safe water and sanitation Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets. The program featured frequent and effective use of a variety of data to manage adaptively. The contract was a cost plus fixed fee contract awarded aft

Tips for Creating a Learning Agenda: Based on the findings of a Landscape Analysis of Learning Agendas at USAID

This document outlines ways a learning agenda may benefit an operating unit or team and describes characteristics of an effective learning agenda; it offers general steps to the development industry of this tool. This document was created with USAID in mind, but its contents are applicable to partners and other Agencies seeking to enhance organizational and program-related learning. This document

CLA in Activity Design and Implementation Tool Compilation

The following are three complementary and mutually reinforcing entry points to incorporating CLA practices and approaches into activity design and implementation. It is important to note that you can also incorporate CLA into existing activities, by managing them adaptively and facilitating CLA during implementation.    This tool compilation includes the following:  Incorporating CLA in the Pro

Incorporating CLA in Activity Management

This document provides insight into how to incorporate Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) into activity management. As you manage your activity, you have a chance to model these practices and to encourage and incentivize them in your implementing partner (IP). By laying the foundation for an open, trusting, and learning-oriented relationship with your IP, and facilitating collaboration, le

Incorporating CLA in Solicitations

This document provides insight into how to incorporate Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) throughout solicitations. One of the most important things we can do is infuse CLA consistently and coherently throughout the entire solicitation – in a way that is tailored to the objectives and particular theory of change for a given activity and builds upon the higher Project Purpose as outlined

Incorporating CLA in the Procurement Process

This document provides insight into how to incorporate Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) into the procurement process. Considering and planning for collaborating, learning, and adapting (CLA) is critical to ensuring that future IPs can better manage risk, shocks, and uncertainty; identify new opportunities; and deliver on the objectives of the activity. This is one part of the CLA in A

Facilitating Pause & Reflect

Pausing and reflecting on a regular basis helps us to identify what’s working and what needs adapting and it allows us to consider the impact of changes in the operating environment or context.  Here are some approaches for facilitating pause and reflection.

Plausible Contribution Memo

In its efforts to advance understandings of how to measure the effects and effectiveness of collaborating, learning, and adapting (CLA) on development results, the CLAIM Learning Network has identified a number of learning questions around assessing CLA’s 'plausible contribution' to development outcomes. These include: What is plausible contribution? What methods can help us generate evidence of

Pivot Log Template

A pivot log is an adaptive management tool to track significant changes (or pivots) that are made in an activity or a project, documenting the date and the reasoning behind the change(s), and any additional information regarding the change. 

Facilitative Leadership - Using Facilitation to Enable Strategic Collaboration

The Africa Lead program, Feed the Future’s primary capacity building program in sub-Saharan Africa, has found how to use facilitation strategically - what they call facilitative leadership - to better enable policy reform progress around agriculture. These resources draw upon examples of their work in three countries and capture useful lessons around what enables this type of facilitation to wor

Discussion Note: Adaptive Management

This Discussion Note complements ADS 201.3.1.2 Program Cycle Principles by elaborating on Principle 2: Manage Adaptively through Continuous Learning. This Discussion Note is intended for USAID staff interested in learning about recent and promising practices in adaptive management across the Program Cycle.  USAID’s work takes place in environments that are often unstable and in transition. Even

Mission-Based Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Platforms Assessment Report

In 2016, the Bureau of Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL) commissioned an internal stocktaking of USAID's mission-based MEL (Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning) Platforms. A MEL Platform is an implementing mechanism that provides a mission or other operating unit access to technical and advisory services to design and carry out various monitoring functions, (e.g., data collection and management

How-To Note: CDCS Mid-Course Stocktaking

The Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) Mid-Course Stocktaking How-To Note provides guidance on planning and conducting a mid-course stocktaking. The process described in the note can also be adapted to a Regional Development Cooperation Strategy (RDCS) or other types of strategies and operational frameworks.  ADS 201 requires that findings from stocktaking be documented in an Inform

How-To Note: Strategy-Level Portfolio Review

This How-To Note supplements ADS 201.3.2.18. It presents guidelines and recommended practices in planning and implementing a mission-wide strategy-level portfolio review. These guidelines and practices can also be adapted for Washington based Operating Unit portfolio reviews as well as project- and activity-level reviews conducted by Missions. The primary audience for this guidance includes progra

What Can the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Tell Us About Collaborating, Learning and Adapting in USAID Missions?

The concept of collaborating, learning and adapting (CLA), introduced by USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL) in 2012, has served to operationalize and strengthen the processes of strategic collaboration, continuous learning and adaptive management throughout USAID’s Program Cycle. In its effort to advance understanding of CLA implementation within USAID missions, as well as

How-To Note: Developing a Project Logic Model (and its Associated Theory of Change)

This How-To Note describes considerations for developing a project logic model, as well as steps for thinking through a more complete theory of change (TOC). A logic model is a graphic or visual depiction that summarizes key elements of a TOC, and it is often used as a facilitation tool during the design process. There are many types of logic models, including but not limited to logical frameworks

Cost-Savvy Learning and Adapting Maximizes Impact in Rural Paraguay

Midway through a five-year, $10 million cooperative agreement to increase the incomes of small producers, and with mounting concerns about project performance, USAID/Paraguay conducted an external assessment to identify opportunities for improvement. Given our very limited resources, innovation is always key. Knowing that international implementing partners (IPs) were not an option, we sought the

USAID/Jordan Health Office's Joint Work Plan: Driving Portfolio-Wide Coordination

Jordan is a small yet highly pressurized country under strain from a mounting Syrian refugee and humanitarian crisis. Jordan now hosts the world’s fifth-largest refugee population. In response to this situation, USAID Jordan’s Office of Population and Family Health (PFH) has dramatically expanded and realigned its program over the past 1.5 years to respond to these new challenges, expanding fr

Practice What You Preach: A Tool For Staff Transformation

Using a collaborating, learning and adapting (CLA) and curiosity-centered approach made it easier and more effective for program staff to work with communities on the sensitive issues of changing gender norms around women farmers and changing gender workloads. Staff noticed that it was hard for them to effectively get communities to change, and decided to examine their own behaviors first. They in

Discussion Note: Co-Creation (ADS 201 Additional Help)

The purpose of this Discussion Note is to share practical approaches on how to design USAID activities using co-creation methods. This Discussion Note recognizes that many Missions are experimenting with approaches to co-creation and seeks to stimulate new ideas to deepen USAID's engagement with partners and key stakeholders during the design of development programming.This note highlights that th

Uganda Senior Learning Advisor Position Description

This position description for a Senior Learning Advisor (PSC-14) provides useful information for those that want to apply or for those developing their own organizational learning advisor position descriptions. The original PD was updated to reflect the evolving set of CLA tasks and responsibilities that emerged at USAID/Uganda over the last three years. 

Combating Wildlife Trafficking - Cross-Mission Learning Agenda

USAID has a long history of support for biodiversity conservation, including programs that help park authorities and rural communities reduce poaching and consumption of wildlife, usually as part of broader investments in protected area management or community-based natural resource management. Wildlife trafficking, defined as illegal hunting, transport and commerce of wildlife and wildlife produc

Cross-Mission Learning Agenda for Conservation Enterprises

An intentional and collaborative strategy for continuous learning through all stages of the Program Cycle is essential to achieve development results. As a strategy for continuous learning, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment/Office of Forestry and Biodiversity (E3/FAB) is implementing a Biodiversity Cross-Missio

Landscape Analysis of Learning Agendas: USAID/Washington and Beyond

The Landscape Analysis of Learning Agendas at USAID/Washington and Beyond report details the increasing interest in learning agendas and the progress that USAID/Washington is making on using evidence to inform our work. The report surveys the number and types of efforts along with individuals’ experiences and recommendations. It makes for interesting reading for those who would like to understan

RAPID Decision-Making: What It Is, Why We Like It, and How to Get the Most Out of It

Decision making can be challenging for nonprofit leadership teams. But using tools—like RAPID®—can help nonprofit leaders and managers identify the activities that must occur in order for a decision to be made well. RAPID untangles the decision-making process—existing or upcoming—by identifying all of the various activities that must occur for a decision to be made well. The name is an ac

Additional Help: Staff Roles and Responsibilities for Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning

Monitoring, evaluation, and learning throughout the Program Cycle involves staff at all levels at a Mission. The following guidance describes various roles and responsibilities involved in these practices. Each Mission should detail their staff functions, based on these roles and responsibilities, in their Mission's Monitoring Mission Order and Evaluation Mission Order (these documents can onl

Establishing a Learning Agenda and Learning Agenda Template

A learning agenda includes a (1) set of questions addressing the critical knowledge gaps impeding informed design and implementation decisions and (2) plans for learning activities to help answer those questions. A basic process for a learning agenda includes three key steps:Understanding the context Developing and prioritizing learning questionsPlanning and resources learning activities

Before Action Review

A Before Action Review (BAR) is a method for a team starting a project, activity, or event to assess what knowledge they already have.  A BAR helps a team state their intentions just before commencing the project and helps identify potential challenges and risks by drawing on lessons learned from past experiences. In this document, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) explains why, how, and w

Learning Agenda

What is a Learning Agenda? According to the Office of Management and Budget, a learning agenda is a set of broad questions directly related to the work that an agency conducts that, when answered, enables the agency to work more effectively and efficiently, particularly pertaining to evaluation, evidence, and decision-making. Once the questions are identified, a learning agenda also prioritizes a

Drafting a Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) Plan and CLA Plan Template

This document, an ADS 201 Additional Help resource, provides direction on how to develop a Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) plan for a Mission's Performance Monitoring Plan (PMP).It outlines the information to include in a CLA plan, describes the processes Missions can use to understand their current CLA practice, and discusses how Missions should update and use the plan.

How-To Note: Activity Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Plan

Each activity is required to have an Activity Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Plan to support management of the activity and to inform USAID and the implementing partner about whether and how an activity is making progress toward stated results. This How-To Note provides an overview of what is typically included in an Activity MEL Plan and outlines practical steps for developing, review

USAID Biodiversity Programming How-To Guides

The USAID/E3 Forestry and Biodiversity Office has released three Biodiversity Programming How-To Guides to help with these questions: 1) Developing Situation Models; 2) Using Results Chains to Depict Theories of Change; and 3) Defining Outcomes and Indicators for Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning. These How-To Guides provide in-depth guidance on key tools and practices to su

Monitoring & Evaluation for a G2G Agreement

These documents provide supplemental guidance to ADS 201. Additional Help: Monitoring & Evaluation for a G2G Agreement: This document provides additional help to ADS 201 relating to Activity Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Plans for activities implemented through Government-to-Government (G2G) agreements. The primary audience for this resource includes USAID Mission staff who are

How-To Note: Prepare and Maintain a Performance Management Plan (PMP)

A Performance Management Plan (PMP) is a Mission-wide tool for planning and managing the process of (1) monitoring strategic progress, project performance, programmatic assumptions, and operational context; (2) evaluating performance and impact; and (3) learning and adapting from evidence. Each Mission must prepare a Mission-wide PMP within six months of CDCS approval. Missions that do not ha

Adaptive Management in the Context of Job Creation, Tunisian Business Reform & Competitiveness

Watch an interview with this activity's Contracting Officer's Representative William Baldridge: Tunisia faces a youth bulge and youth unemployment is more than 30% (and nearly 50% among college graduates). The USAID Business Reform and Competitiveness Project was a three-year job creation activity that targeted key constraints facing small and medium enterprises in high-potential sectors of the T

What Difference Does Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting Make to Development? Key Findings from our Literature Review

LEARN and USAID/PPL are managing an area of work known as Evidence Base for Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (EB4CLA). The purpose of this work is to answer key learning questions: Does an intentional, systematic and resourced approach to collaborating, learning and adapting contribute to development outcomes? If so, how? And under what conditions? As we began this work, we identified the nee

Glossary of Development Project Management Terms

A complete glossary of terms and definitions for all who want to learn more about project management applied in the development sector.

USAID Democracy, Human Rights and Governance Center Learning Agenda

The USAID Democracy, Human Rights and Governance (DRG) Learning Agenda is a set of twelve research questions in priority development areas for which the DRG Center intends to organize and disseminate existing data, generate new evidence, and produce conclusions and recommendations through academic research, program evaluations, and multi-method tests of the assumptions and theories of change that

Outcomes for Money (OxM): An Unorthodox Analysis of Value for Money

This experimental methodology takes a fresh look at the notion of value for money, by redefining ‘value’ as the changes experienced in terms of new knowledge, attitudes and behaviour. Shifting the focus from what has been delivered to what has been achieved brings the analysis closer to the daily realities of beneficiaries. This primarily visual analysis does not deliver a verdict of good or b

Learning Plan for the Open Contracting Partnership

The Open Contracting Partnership is driven by two goals, as articulated in its 2015-2018 strategy: building global norms and demand for open contracting; and strengthening implementation of open contracting on the ground. The pursuit of both goals hinges on learning and evidence. While the strategy describes these objectives in broad terms, this document—our approach to monitoring, evaluating, a

Handover Guidance and Handover Note Outline

Handovers are a knowledge management process critical to organizational continuity. The handover process specifically emphasizes the transfer of job‐specific operational and institutional knowledge from incumbent to successor employee using a handover note. A handover note is a factual note created by a staff member who is leaving his/her position, either temporarily or permanently, to assist th

USAID/Liberia Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Support Mechanism Example

This contract is designed to implement a five-year Liberia Strategic Analysis project in Liberia. The contractor will provide analytical and advisory services to USAID/Liberia's Office of Program and Project Development (PPD) and Development Objective (DO) teams in support of the Mission's project design, performance monitoring and evaluation, and operational learning and adapting.

Adaptable Mechanisms: An Update

This webinar and discussion with the Office of Acquisitions and Assistance provides an update on adaptable mechanisms, as of May 2015, including a discussion on new mechanism types and new rules that make grants and cooperative agreements easier to use.

Procurement Executive Bulletin on Adaptable Mechanism

This bulletin from the Office of Acquisitions and Assistance provides guidance on how to allow for learning, flexibility, and adaptability in contracts.

Getting Started with CLA

This webinar recording is available to USAID staff only. Click on the link to view the recording from ProgramNet.

Screencast: USAID/Uganda - A Mission of Leaders - Interview with the Mission Director and Deputy Director

In this screencast Mission Director Leslie Reed and Deputy Mission Director Mark Meassick present on USAID/Uganda's "Mission of Leaders" initiative, an effort to build individual staff capacity, strengthen teaming processes and behaviors, and transform the Mission's culture to more effectively support Program Cycle implementation and institutionalize collaborating, learning and adapting. The scree

Southern Africa Learning Plan and CLA Action Matrix

This resource is available to USAID staff only. Click on the link to view it on ProgramNet.

USAID/Uganda Community Connector SOW

The purpose of this contract is to reduce poverty by enabling vulnerable households in Uganda to improve nutrition and achieve sustainable food and livelihood security. This will be achieved through integrated nutrition and agriculture interventions at the community and household level. Uganda Community Connector is an example of an adaptable mechanism implemented in modular phases with evaluat

Introduction to Net-Mapping

Net-Map is an interview-based mapping tool that helps people understand, visualize, discuss, and improve situations in which many different actors influence outcomes. By creating Influence Network Maps, individuals and groups can clarify their own view of a situation, foster discussion, and develop a strategic approach to their networking activities. More specifically, Net-Map helps players to det

Feed the Future Learning Agenda

USAID’s Bureau of Food Security will develop Feed the Future’s (FTF) Learning Agenda, which includes key evaluation questions related to the FTF Results Framework. These questions will be addressed through rigorous impact evaluations. The Results Framework maps linkages between program/projects and their intended outcomes as they relate to the overall goal of sustainably reducing global hunger

CLA Framework, Maturity Tool and Spectrum Handouts

USAID/PPL/LER and its support mechanism, LEARN, have developed a Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) Framework and Maturity Tool to help USAID missions think more deliberately about how to plan for and implement CLA approaches that fit the mission’s context and assist them in achieving their development objectives. Using a series of physical cards, the CLA Maturity Tool provides a clear p

Connecting the Dots: Biodiversity Cross-Mission Learning Program

The Biodiversity Cross-Mission Learning Program has two key components: (1) a Theory of Change to serve as a common framework for implementing a learning agenda; and (2) facilitation of virtual learning groups around learning agendas that allow participants to learn at their own pace and level of engagement.The video walks through an example we are launching in 2015, the Conservation Enterprises C

Political Economy Analyses Improving Local Knowledge and Context

While USAID/Colombia has a solid understanding of national-level issues, each of Colombia’s regions have a distinct context and list of influential actors. Without this regional knowledge, the Mission felt it was at risk of erroneously applying national-level assumptions to localized context and/ or missing opportunities to have greater programmatic impact. The Mission therefore began conducting

Cultivating the CLA Enabling Environment: USAID Uganda's Mission of Leaders Program

USAID/Uganda has invested in an ever-evolving approach to developing the enabling environment for CLA at the Mission and beyond. Through a series of inter-related, multi-format activities, the Mission focuses on individual, team, and organizational effectiveness, specifically introducing methods to overcome the various counter-incentives to CLA, including culture (organizational and otherwise), in

Putting Communities at the Heart of Learning and Adapting

CARE developed a Participatory Performance Tracker to put communities at the center of our learning and adaptation, as well as our monitoring and evaluation. The tool holds us and communities accountable to progress, and allows us all to adapt programs together to get to better results. Watch this interview with Emily Janoch about the case.   This case study was submitted as part of USAID's CLA C

Realigning Strategy to Respond to Market Realities: Agricultural Inputs Uganda

In June 2015, the USAID/Uganda Feed the Future Agricultural Inputs Activity was reaching its midway point, and the team commissioned a Strategic Assessment to determine if the Activity was on track towards achieving transformational change in the agro-inputs system. The Strategic Assessment found that the Activity’s efforts to promote adoption of new business practices was not reaching a critica

USAID/Malawi's Experiment in Integration to Foster Collaboration and Improve Programmatic Decision-Making

After fifty years of development work in Malawi, it was clear that traditional development structures were failing to lift Malawians out of the poverty trap. So the Mission asked, if we change the way we work, could we achieve better, more sustainable results? To answer this question, the Mission devised its "integration experiment" as the central innovation of its 5-year strategic plan. The Missi

Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting to Develop the Bangladesh Dairy Sector

The USAID-facilitated Bangladesh Livestock Coordination group consists of seven livestock projects funded by seven different donor agencies whose purpose is to improve the productivity of the Bangladesh livestock sector, particularly the more than 35 million cattle in a targeted region that has significantly lagged behind the northern region of the country. It also aims to harmonize capacity build

Operationalizing Adaptive Management: What it takes. Why it matters.

Development actors increasingly agree that managing programs adaptively – especially complex interventions – can improve their effectiveness. A growing body of evidence supports this claim. But what does adaptive management look like in practice? What does it require of managers and donors to make happen? How can we reconfigure incentives and success metrics to support adaptation, while remain

Post-Evaluation Action Plans

This guidance and attached templates (in Microsoft Word) describe the responsibilities and steps to prepare post-evaluation action plans that respond to evaluation report findings, conclusions, and recommendations. The guidance and templates are primarily for use by USAID staff.

Developing an Evaluation Dissemination Plan

This ADS Additional Help document and template are intended to assist USAID Missions and Bureaus to develop a dissemination plan in line with USAID’s policies and USAID’s commitment to transparency, accountability, and learning. While primarily for use by USAID staff, the additional help and template may be of use for USAID’s implementing partners.For guidance on limitations to Disclosure, p

Managing the Peer Review of a Draft Evaluation Report

All draft evaluation reports are required to go through an internal review process by USAID. This document shares good practices for conducting and managing this review. This resource is for use primarily by USAID staff. A complementary resource is the Evaluation Report Checklist and Evaluation Report Template.     

Utilizing and Learning from Evaluations

The value of an evaluation is in its use. Evaluations should inform decision-making, contribute to learning, and help improve the quality of development programs. This guidance offers USAID Program Officers practical guidance to ensure that evaluations serve these purposes and support improvement and learning. While written for USAID staff, this document shares good practices in evaluation utiliza

Evaluation Statement of Work (SOW) Peer Review Process

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Submitting a USAID Evaluation to the Development Experience Clearinghouse (DEC)

This document provides detailed instructions for USAID staff on how to submit an evaluation to the DEC. Non-USAID staff members accessing the DEC’s public website are required to register for an account to submit documents.

The Facilitation Approach at USAID: A Discussion Paper

This paper provides an overview of the facilitation approach with information drawn from its use in market systems development. It is not designed to include all the relevant issues and debates related to the approach. Instead, the goal is to prompt further discussion and contribute to ongoing learning to refine what it means to implement a facilitation approach to development and how it supports

Using an Online Community of Practice to Encourage Learning and Knowledge Exchange in Diverse Settings

The University of North Carolina’s Global Learning Program (GLP) established a community of practice for mid-level health professionals in diverse settings, allowing them to share experiences through a peer-to-peer knowledge exchange forum. This was preceded by a two-year period of conventional online coursework that provided participants with foundational tools, resources, and instruction. This

Case Study: Supporting Communities to Encourage South-to-South Knowledge Sharing and Product Improvement

CapacityPlus is a USAID global project, led by IntraHealth International, with the goal of strengthening human resources for health (HRH) in low- and middle-income countries. The project uses the Integrated Human Resource Information System (iHRIS) to help countries capture information on their health workforces and maintain high quality systems for planning and management. In addition to launchin

Navigating Complexity: Adaptive Management at the Northern Karamoja Growth, Health, and Governance Program

Development actors increasingly agree that managing programs adaptively – especially complex interventions – can improve their effectiveness. A growing body of evidence supports this claim. But what does adaptive management look like in practice? And what does it require of managers and funders to make it happen?Mercy Corps commissioned Engineers Without Borders Canada to help answer these que

Closing the Loop: Effective Feedback in Humanitarian Contexts

This paper, written by Francesca Bonino, Isabella Jean and Paul Knox Clarke for ALNAP presents a guide for practitioners who are designing or implementing feedback loops into their development programs. 

Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting for More Effective Development Programs

Stacey Young, from USAID's Office of Learning, Evaluation and Research, provides detailed information about collaborating, learning and adapting within the Program Cycle. This video places emphasis on the role that implementing partners can play in improving program learning in development programs.

Complexity-Aware Monitoring Discussion Note (Screencast)

This screencast covers information included in the Complexity-Aware Monitoring Discussion Note. The topic is intended for those seeking cutting-edge solutions to monitoring complex aspects of strategies and projects. Most of the principles and promising approaches discussed here have a significant body of theory and practice behind them, but many have not been used to monitor USAID strategies and

Participatory Impact Assessment: A Design Guide

The Feinstein International Center has been developing and adapting participatory approaches to measure the impact of livelihoods based interventions since the early nineties. Originally released in 2009, this updated version of our PIA guide takes account of the continuing need to include local people in defining and measuring impact, while also using a systematic approach to gathering evidence.

Performance Management Plan Toolkit

The purpose of this Toolkit is to provide USAID staff and partners with practical resources for a critical aspect of managing for results -- developing and implementing a performance management plan (PMP). The emphasis of this Toolkit is on the how to of developing a PMP rather than a discussion of what is performance management, which is contained in the official programming policies -- the USAID

Complexity-Aware Monitoring Discussion Note (Brief)

PPL's Office of Learning, Evaluation and Research (LER) is pleased to share an updated Discussion Note: Complexity-Aware Monitoring. This paper is intended for those seeking cutting-edge solutions to monitoring complex aspects of strategies and projects.  We hope this paper will raise questions, stimulate dialogue, and – most of all -- inspire experimentation. Most of the principles provide

Resetting the Relationship - Learning About Learning: Lessons on Implementing a KM and Learning Project from the USAID KDMD Project

As part of the Learning About Learning (L-squared) initiative, this one-pager describes the success of the KDMD experience in "resetting the relationship" between client and contractor, including a definition, value proposition, implementation process and recommendations, and a mini-case study.

Designing Participatory Meetings and Brownbags

Visit this resource for ideas on designing meetings and brownbags that are engaging and build inopportunities for participant dialogue. 

Communities of Practice Guidance

A community of practice (CoP) is a group of people who share a common interest and interact often to learn from each other to advance their work.  A CoP typically has three main characteristics: A focus on a topic or subject that establishes the CoP’s identity and distinguishes it from other groups Engagement of community members A repertoire of resources and outputs This brief was written to s

Tacit Knowledge Guidance

Addressing tacit knowledge is critical for effective organizational learning. Although tacit knowledge can be challenging to identify and manage, creating processes and practices that facilitate its capture and transfer can allow organizations to create efficiencies and improve their learning practice. This document provides guidance on methods for identifying, capturing, and transferring tacit kn

Peer Assists Guidance

Peer assists are face-to-face or virtual gatherings that bring colleagues together to share knowledge, best practices, or lessons learned on a particular topic. They can be an extremely useful learning activity to facilitate knowledge sharing, participatory learning, and collective problem solving. This document provides further information on the types of peer assists, assumptions and responsibi

Webinars Guidance

Webinars can help bring together a group of individuals in different locations to learn more about a specific topic. They can be used to share highlights from a recent report or book, results from an evaluation or study, opposing viewpoints on a topic of interest, different approaches around a subject, and new tools or resources. This guidance brief provides information on requirements for webinar

Online Facilitation Guidance

USAID's work consists of international collaborations that can now be easily accomplished through virtual meetings and events. Having an effective facilitator for online events helps ensure that the agenda flows smoothly, key messages are conveyed, and participants feel welcomed, connected, and engaged. This document provides guidance on the role of the online facilitator, his/her skills and res

Uganda Draft Scope of Work for RFP for Monitoring, Evaluating and Learning activity

As part of the process of designing a new program to provide monitoring, evaluation and learning support services and build capacity of USAID/Uganda to implement USAID's Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting agenda and in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation section 15.201 part c, USAID/ Uganda is sharing a draft of the Statement of Work with all interested parties for the purpose of sol

Collaboration Mapping

Effective collaboration is a critical aspect of USAID’s work. It ensures that the Agency establishes and leverages relationships with key stakeholders, including other U.S. government actors, donors, host government counterparts, partners, civil society, and the private sector. Collaboration is important in order to identify areas of shared interest and potential cooperation, avoid duplication o

Peer Mentoring and Knowledge Transfer

In this webinar Steve Trautman presents information on how institutions effectively deal with an aging workforce and staff turn-over, and what approaches can be used to facilitate the transition of valuable knowledge and skills to a new generation of workers.

USAID Knowledge-Driven Microenterprise Development Contract Section C

This section of the USAID Knowledge Driven Microenterprise Development (KDMD) contract outlines the scope of work for the project.

After-Action Review (AAR) Guidance

This guidance provides information on conducting an After-Action Review (AAR), including goals, assumptions/requirements, how-tos, lessons learned/best practice, and resources. It should be used after a project or major activity to allow team members and leaders to discover (learn) what happened and why, reassess direction, and review both successes and challenges. This brief was written to suppor

Shell Job Handover Checklist

This is a checklist of topics to cover with exiting staff, in order to ensure the retention of key knowledge. The handover framework is dived into four main topics: people, process, technology, and results.

Tips for Producing Promising Development Hypotheses

This one-page guidance document shares tips for producing USAID development hypotheses, including "do's," "don'ts," and examples.

Uganda CLA Annex

USAID/Uganda's CLA Annex describing the value of collaborating, learning, and adapting, as well as activities that Uganda will accomplish under the CLA.

Knowledge Management Maturity Model (M3)

This framework depicts the characteristics and key focus areas of the different levels of knowledge management maturity, from ad hoc (very low) to optimized (very high). It can help organizations determine where they fall on the scale and identify processes for achieving increased knowledge management structures.

Being a Market Facilitator: A Guide to Staff Roles and Capacities with Staff Capacity Role Cards

A Guide to Staff Roles & CapacitiesThe market facilitation approach is different from traditional development approaches, so good market facilitation requires that staff take on new roles. This guide both describes the roles that market facilitators must play, and details the progression of competence in the roles of a market facilitator. This guide is for managers and field staff of market fa