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Community Contribution

Shifting the Locus of Learning: Catalyzing Private Sector Learning to Drive Systemic Change Webinar

Event Details

Date and time

May 16, 2023






USAID's Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning; Feed the Future Market Systems and Partnerships
Shifting the Locus of Learning: Catalyzing Private sector Learning to Drive Systemic Change

Event Description

This event brings together Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) practitioners, systems thinkers, and private sector engagement specialists to make the case for why USAID is increasingly sharpening its focus on strengthening learning capacities not only within USAID staff and its implementing partners, but also within stakeholder partners and the systems in which USAID engages. Co-hosted jointly by USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning and the Feed the Future Market Systems and Partnerships Activity, the webinar will explore insights from a new paper, Shifting the Locus of Learning: Catalyzing Private Sector Learning to Drive Systemic Change.

The webinar will discuss why programs can and should shift the locus of learning from being only program-focused to system-focused. This implies a shift in agency away from a program directing the learning process to strengthening the capacity of market actors (e.g., firms, other organizations) and the system itself to better learn and adapt on their own. It represents an evolution in the focus and purpose of learning from being oriented primarily towards funder reporting (i.e., “prove”) and program improvement (i.e., “improve”) to also focusing on system transformation (i.e., “transform”) – a shift in the ‘locus’ of learning.

Through an engaging ‘talk show’ format, representatives from multiple perspectives will unpack why USAID sees this as central to its programming and how CLA can be used to advance this mindset. The discussion will feature USAID influencers in the Agency’s new Local Capacity Strengthening Policy and PSE Modernize, as well as a Mission overseeing innovative programming in this space.



Facilitator: Lane Pollack, Senior Learning Advisor, USAID's Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL)

Lane is a Senior Learning Advisor with USAID's Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL). She serves on the Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) team in the Office of Learning, Evaluation and Research (LER). In this role, she provides direct Mission support and collaborates with regional and technical bureaus to help teams integrate CLA practices into their programming and operations. Lane contributes to PPL-led as well as other technical trainings, resources and engagements to advance CLA across the Agency and engages with US-based partner institutions to share and learn from Agency-wide approaches and the broader development community in areas related to organizational learning and Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL). From 2012-2016, she served as Organizational Learning Advisor for USAID Uganda, and prior to that as a Knowledge Management and Enterprise Development Advisor in USAID's Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment (E3). Lane holds MBA degrees from the University of Texas and Pontificia Universidad de Católica in Santiago, Chile.

Mandeep Jangi, Acting Managing Director, External Influence Team, USAID’s Private Sector Engagement Hub

Mandeep serves as Acting Managing Director of the Private Sector Engagement (PSE) Hub’s External Influence Team. The team is building the Agency’s capacity to demonstrate USAID’s value proposition as a strategic collaborator to the private sector, promote development-positive corporate behavior, and listen to and learn from private sector feedback. Prior to this, he has worked in financial services, environment, social, governance (ESG) consulting, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Namibia. Mandeep received his MBA from Esade Business School and B.S. from Penn State University. He is also a SASB Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting (FSA) credential holder.

Jorge Reyes Reina, Project Management Specialist (Food Security and Energy), USAID/Honduras

Jorge is a Project Management Specialist with 18 years of experience working in the development field. He joined USAID/Honduras in 2013; supporting implementation of the Feed the Future, private sector engagement, energy and digital development portfolios within the Economic Growth office. Currently, managing the Transforming Market Systems (TMS) activity which fosters inclusive economic development opportunities through a facilitative approach based on close collaboration with local private and public sector stakeholders. He also manages an alliance between USAID and a consortium of private sector actors to support 20,000 Honduran coffee farmers. Prior to joining USAID, he served as Project Manager with Peace Corps Honduras for seven years, managing three different projects: first the HIV/AIDS Prevention & Child Survival project, then the Local Economic Development project and finally, the Food Security project. Jorge has a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Management and a Master’s degree in Project Management.

Jessica Bagdonis (PhD), Human and Institutional Capacity Development Advisor in the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security

Jessica is a Human and Institutional Capacity Development Advisor in the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security’s Inclusive Development Division at USAID, focusing on localization and local capacity strengthening. She was previously a senior evaluation officer at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and served at the American Council on Education and the International Research and Exchanges Board. She holds a Ph.D in Agricultura and Extension Education and in Comparative and International Education, as well as a M.S. in rural sociology, both from Penn State University.

Ben Fowler, Co-Founder and CEO, MarketShare Associates

Ben specializes in identifying, implementing and measuring business solutions for positive social impact. Ben is the Co-Founder and CEO at MarketShare Associates (MSA), a global consulting firm that generates actionable insights for economic development. Ben has 20 years of experience in social impact across more than 30 countries, working with private sector consultancies and technology companies, multilateral institutions, universities, impact investors and bilateral governments. Ben is the author of numerous papers on transformative learning for social impact, including most recently Shifting the Locus of Learning: Catalyzing Private Sector Learning to Drive Systemic Change. He is based in Denver. MarketShare Associates is a consortium member on Feed the Future Market Systems and Partnerships (MSP) Activity, led by DAI.