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Community Contribution

An Intro to Scenario Planning Course for USAID Implementers

Oct 26, 2022
Amy Leo

In summer 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to wreak havoc on best-laid plans the world over, the Implementer-led Design, Analysis, Evidence and Learning (IDEAL) activity developed a self-paced online course to help USAID implementers design and facilitate scenario planning processes. IDEAL is funded by the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance and implemented by Save the Children, Acute Incite, Mercy Corps, and TANGO International. 

screenshot from scenario planning course

Image Caption: Screenshot of the Introduction to Scenario Planning course, which is hosted on the Kaya platform. Participants must create a Kaya account to take the course. 

Here are three reasons to check it out: 

1) The scenario planning process is based on real-world use 

The scenario planning tool was adapted from a spreadsheet built by Andrea Procopio, (former) Senior Strategic Learning Advisor for the BHA-funded Graduating to Resilience activity in Uganda. Andrea facilitated her team through the scenario planning process during a 15-month period in 2020–2021 to adapt their activities during the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. After Andrea shared her scenario planning tool as a Resource Reveal during IDEAL’s Food Security COVID-19 Learning Event in June 2021, IDEAL adapted and expanded it for general use. Course materials include a case study brief in addition to a video recording of Andrea’s Resource Reveal presentation. 

2) It features a simple, adaptable scenario planning process 

The scenario planning process described in the course is just three steps: framing, planning, monitoring and adapting. The details of how these steps are facilitated can be adapted to each team’s unique situation. An editable Excel file is provided as part of the course materials to enable participants to easily adapt the scenario planning tool to their needs, while the Tips for Facilitating Scenario Planning document, which is also included, provides considerations on how the process can be adapted. In addition, IDEAL periodically offers an online workshop—Facilitating Scenario Planning--a discussion-based forum for leaders to dive deeper into adapting the process to their varied contexts. 

3) The course is a light lift 

The course takes less than 45 minutes to complete and it can be done anytime. After completing the course, all participants interested in going further can follow the Facilitating Scenario Planning workshop by filling out a workshop interest form. Workshops are scheduled on a rolling basis (based on interest expressed) and are open to all implementing partners who complete the online course. 

Course instruction and materials are available in English and French. 

How to enroll: Click this link to log into the free learning platform and access the course. Follow the directions on the login screen to sign in or create an account. Once you have logged in, you may see "Introduction to Scenario Planning" at the top of the screen, or return here and click the link again, to be taken directly into the course. 

Amy Leo is a Senior Adaptive Management Specialist with Acute Incite. 

About the authors
Amy Leo

Amy Leo is a senior adaptive management specialist with Acute Incite.