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Development is measured in statistics; economic growth rates, life expectancy, literacy rates, population growth – to mention just a few – provide an objective assessment of progress. But the numbers by themselves cannot tell the whole story. Although Vietnam is rightly acknowledged as a development success, with rapid economic growth leading to improved living standards and growing prosperity, society’s most vulnerable groups have found themselves increasingly left behind. In 2014, the USAID Governance for Inclusive Growth (GIG) Program began working with Vietnamese Government partners to address these challenges by supporting governance reform to enable broader-based, inclusive growth.
Although program staff had been adapting practices based on lessons learned on an ad hoc, informal basis, it became clear that the knowledge and experience generated was in danger of being lost over time. In response, the program set out to develop a program-wide learning strategy to integrate learning activities into the program cycle. The strategy aimed to include program partners and inform both current program practice and future programming.
The learning strategy has had numerous impacts on the program. Learning between the program and its partners has measurably increased and the strategy has generated lessons learned. Collaboration and openness within the program has increased and it has prompted a deeper analysis of what we do and why. Learning has gradually become part of the GIG Program's organizational culture.