Integrating Stakeholder Engagement into the Design Process: Liberia Strategic Analysis Communities of Practice
The Ebola crisis in Liberia clarified the importance of coordination, community engagement, and mobilization for emergency response and for development. Liberia Strategic Analysis (LSA) is a comprehensive monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) support contract that ensures that the USAID mission has the real-time evidence base it needs to learn and adapt.
- Relationships & Networks: LSA and the mission’s program office designed four communities of practice, one for each of the mission’s development objectives, to help aid workers coordinate better on emergency response and development. We recruited members through recommendations from the USAID development objective teams, implementing partners, LSA staff, and other community of practice members.
- Pause & Reflect: Following a baseline workshop, we worked with the development objective teams to review relevant action plans and debriefed on conversations from the workshop to identify the best ways to integrate the communities of practice into their learning agendas. At the teams’ request, we then engaged the communities in learning events, informal meetings, and formal workshops targeted and timed to fit each development objective team’s schedules and decision-making processes.
Building relationships is crucial. Stakeholders have to know that you value their thoughts, opinions, and experiences. This takes dedicated time, but once achieved, it enables the communities of practice to grow organically as people spread the word about the activity and engagement continues to grow.
- LSA and the mission have 110 community of practice members in our shared database.
- The most significant outcome has been that the act of bringing together communities of practice sparked a larger discussion about what stakeholder engagement means to USAID and how it can work within the structures of a mission.