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Learning and Adapting

Change is constant for USAID. We work in dynamic contexts with a variety of partners across numerous sectors. As contexts change and we receive new information regarding the progress of our activities, it is imperative that we adapt our approaches and activities to achieve their desired results.

Towards that end, USAID seeks to build flexibility into its grants and contracts to allow partners and activities to adapt to pursue opportunities or address challenges that arise throughout implementation. The following tools were created for USAID staff, but demonstrate the sort of flexibility we seek in partners and our contracts and grants.

A learning agenda is a useful process through which to collaborate with peers and colleagues, fill gaps in knowledge and generate new evidence that we can then use to adapt our work. By establishing learning approaches at the outset of a project, we can plan to test our assumptions, we can identify knowledge gaps that we might have, and define how will we advance our understanding and modify decisions accordingly. 

It can also help guide performance management planning by setting knowledge and information priorities. For example, a learning agenda can assist with prioritizing evaluations and research activities as well as in determining key indicators.

Guidance and Tools