The Integration of CLA into the Implementation of USAID's Digital Strategy

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Author(s):
Laura Ahearn
Organization(s):
Date Published:
September 16, 2021
Contribution:
Community Contribution

USAID released its Digital Strategy in April 2020, outlining a series of 16 initiatives across four implementation tracks to be managed by the Innovation, Technology, and Research Hub’s Technology Division (ITR/T) within the Bureau for Democracy, Development, and Innovation (DDI). Recognizing the complexity of managing a global strategy with a small number of staff and such a wide range of workstreams, ITR/T leaders decided to invest in a developmental evaluation (DE) through the DEPA-MERL mechanism to support CLA throughout the first year of the Strategy’s implementation. The DE was tasked with supporting CLA in four initiatives (one in each “track” of Strategy implementation initiatives) and fostering cross-initiative coordination beyond those four to avoid silos as teams pursued their own workstreams.

Throughout the Digital Strategy’s first year, the Developmental Evaluator embarked on the learning activities each team had chosen, reinforced efforts to utilize data effectively, and gradually introduced new CLA practices across the initiatives. Activities ranged from data collection through surveys or interviews to facilitating events or instituting new opportunities for collaboration, such as weekly Connect & Reflect sessions. In all instances, the emphasis was on making sure the data or well-designed sessions informed adaptive management and continuous learning, resulting in the following changes:
-- More systematic real-time learning and adaptive management.
-- Better collaboration and less siloing across the 16 Digital Strategy initiatives.
-- More intentional choices about how to use time productively.
-- Better knowledge management (KM) practices instituted.

DE has been a successful approach to supporting intentional CLA in the Digital Strategy implementation.

Filed Under: Case Study, United States

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