Our collaborating, learning, and adapting (CLA) work guides participants in how to adapt programming based on what they learn, and how to test those adaptations with ongoing performance management. Our hands-on, learner-centered approach also builds confidence and installs principles of self-reliance in our local partners. Facilitating this type of learning is one of the most challenging MEL tasks. We plan and facilitate learning activities for groups small and large, produce and disseminate action-oriented summaries, and bring appropriate expertise (international and local) to help process learning and ensure it transforms practice.
IDG provides CLA and knowledge management technical assistance by identifying the most relevant evidence base to answer key programmatic questions. For example, working to answer questions of effectiveness for women and men in a given project or activity, might require reviewing monitoring data, donor evaluations in the sector, and local cultural and contextual information through key informant roundtables or other participatory methods. By accessing existing data, we leverage previous organizational learning.
Layering an evaluative framework over these data, IDG facilitates access to information in formats that invite comparison, discussion, and decision-making. At senior levels, broader perspectives are helpful to decision-makers. For this type of inquiry, IDG summarizes literature on the relevant policy, strategy or initiative – like working to improve resilience, building institutional and human capacity, encouraging ownership and self-reliance, partnering with the private sector, working on sustainability, or implementing the Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy. This draws on wider worldwide research: synthetic and meta-analyses of sectors and geographies, donor and external thought leadership, and quantitative data trends analyses. In this way our methods support agency-wide learning, and inform policy, strategy, and programs.
IDG will: 1) develop, prioritize, and categorize broad Learning Questions regarding formal and informal multi-sectoral interventions and processes that when answered, can improve performance; 2) in consultation with the key partners and stakeholders, develop, implement, and manage Learning Activities such as evaluations and reviews which will answer learning questions; 3) Identify Lessons Learned from the Learning Activities (that is, the conclusions of the research); and, 4) utilize innovative, clear, and digestible Learning Products that integrate analysis produced from learning activities, delivered in Learning Events to help policy makers and implementers improve decision making at different policy and implementation levels.
In 2021, IDG launched a Communications and Knowledge Management platform known as the International Development Arena, which serves as a community of practice to share technical skills, publish relevant blog posts, trainings, and promote knowledge learning events.