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Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA)

Strategic collaboration, continuous learning, and adaptive management connect all parts of the Program Cycle.

CLA Approaches Improve Development Programming

Evidence indicates that collaborating, learning and adapting (CLA) contributes to improved organizational and development outcomes. Organizations that apply more adaptive leadership and data-driven practices perform better when compared with organizations that focus less on those practices. Working with staff and partners, USAID aims to make CLA more systematic and intentional throughout the Program Cycle and development programming.

What is CLA?

Collaborating, learning and adapting (CLA) is a set of practices that help USAID and partners improve development effectiveness. The systematic application of CLA approaches enables USAID - and partners! - to be an effective learning organization and thereby a more effective development organization.

USAID mission colleagues use the CLA Maturity Tool card deck to integrate CLA practices in the Program Cycle.

CLA Framework and Maturity Tool

The CLA Maturity Tool can help USAID Missions, teams, and partners think more deliberately about how to plan for and implement CLA approaches that are context-specific and assist in achieving their development objectives.

Using the CLA Framework and a physical (or virtual!) card deck, the CLA Maturity Tool is designed as a facilitated and interactive tool to self-assess the current state of CLA practice within a team and establish a vision and action plan to continuously improve.

Google map shows the CLA Case Competition case studies available for viewing by country and other filter options.

CLA Competition Case Map

USAID hosts the annual Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) Case Competition to capture good real-world examples of USAID staff and partners using a CLA approach for organizational learning and better development outcomes. The Case Map is a searchable database of the hundreds of practical examples that have been submitted since 2016.