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Community Contribution

February Month & Learn: The Evolution of Learning from Evidence

May 24, 2022
USAID Learning Lab Team

Did you know that USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning published the Agency’s Evaluation Policy 11 years ago? Last month, in January, USAID drew attention to the role of evidence in development programming and outcomes, marking the decade-plus anniversary of the evaluation policy and other sector-specific learning efforts. The Agency’s Anti-Corruption Task Force and the Center for Democracy, Human Rights and Governance co-hosted the first ever Anti-Corruption Evidence and Learning Week, another milestone. Agency staff and partners are continuing to advance practices around building and learning from evidence, so our Month & Learn theme is dedicated to The Evolution of Learning from Evidence to bring you tools and insights that shed light on this progress.

All across the Agency, we know that evidence is collected, organized, analyzed, and interpreted in order to draw conclusions and disseminate new knowledge. Many sectors and cross-cutting areas have made significant advances in how evidence is collected and disseminated to make decisions, strengthen programming and organizational processes, and contribute to shareable and usable learning. Here are just a few examples:

  • The Global Learning for Adaptive Management (GLAM), a joint initiative between USAID and the Department for International Development (DFID), developed a resource in 2019 on using evidence for decision-making in adaptive management.

  • During the pandemic, USAID’s Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning Team collected and analyzed evidence that resulted in a report on organizations’ knowledge management practices and experiences during COVID-19.

  • A new guide on participatory evaluations was developed by USAID’s Local, Faith and Transformative Partnerships Hub to examine how ‘localization’ - the involvement of local stakeholders - in evaluations promotes local ownership of evaluation results and leverages and builds local capacity. It offers practical guidance and examples to help the Agency and partners carry out evaluations in more participatory, locally led ways.

  • Ever heard of a meta evaluation? It’s one of the many approaches to evidence building that is now entering the conversation.

Over the years, Learning Lab contributors have shared many learning-from-evidence milestones, including the innovations and challenges navigated by their teams and organizations particularly during COVID-19. With so many useful tools and insightful experiences to feature, we’re breaking down the month’s theme into weekly headings:

Week 1: Evidence and Learning: General Overview

Week 2: Evidence and Evaluations

Week 3: Localizing and Adapting Evaluations and Evidence

Week 4: Learning from Evidence

To find out about each week’s content, follow us on Twitter at @USAIDLearning and look out for our February newsletter Learning Matters (subscribe to get it in your inbox!).