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The USAID Mission in Lebanon needed to rethink and redesign its strategic approach to its Economic Growth (EG) program, particularly because Lebanon is facing a “jobs crisis” that is threatening its stability. In order to better achieve our Development Objectives, the Mission decided to consolidate each of the activities under the Economic Growth (EG) portfolio into a single Project Appraisal Document (PAD) designed to improve our programmatic focus, coherence, and impact.
The CLA approach helped us do just that. The Mission first initiated a monthly “CLA Series” around different topics, creating an effective forum for learning and discussion which we fed directly into our new PAD design. Through collaboration with our implementing partner, we were able to roll out a new PAD focused on “increasing productive employment in Lebanon” with a clear and effective Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) plan and quantitative targets to measure our progress and hold us accountable. The impact has been significant around the office as well as outside in the field. Our activities are much less stove-piped and better aligned towards a common purpose with consensus and buy-in from all stakeholders. For example, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) in Lebanon has adopted a monitoring approach to its early grade reading program which was directly inspired by our CLA/MEL approach. Each of our activities under the new PAD now integrates cost-effectiveness analysis into every intervention, also based on the CLA approach. Missions should try and replicate this success by committing to systematizing CLA through monthly learning sessions, Implementing Partner’s meetings, and focusing a bit more on strategy.