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Community Contribution

When we get to CLA City…

May 06, 2016
Jessica Ziegler

In this third and final post about the recent CLA Peer Sharing Event attended by CLA champions in five African USAID missions, I want to share the participants’ vision for what they hope to build as a result of their CLA efforts. After spending three days discussing their CLA journey and helping one another think through ways to remove obstacles from their path, the facilitator for the closing session asked everyone to imagine that they’ve finally made it. “When we get to CLA City, what will we find?” she asked.

Hand-drawn CLA Vision Graphic

While everyone recognized that CLA is a process (really a tailored set of relevant practices and approaches) rather than a goal in and of itself, the various visions of CLA City, and the road to get there, were inspiring and offered many common themes:

  • The road to CLA City may be bumpy, but we have to walk the talk of CLA by learning and adapting as we go and celebrating and scaling our successes. We need to have rest stops (aka learning moments or pause & reflect opportunities) along the way to ensure we are on the right path.
  • There are a lot of entry points into CLA City and we need to balance having a vision and staying flexible and open to new CLA opportunities.
  • CLA City is a place built by and for everyone—CLA has to be participatory and engage everyone.
  • CLA City should have at its center a monument of the people we are serving as a reminder that we don’t do CLA for its own sake, but in order to effect better development and achieve stronger results for them for and with them.