The Safe Charity Campaign: Leveraging CLA to Counter Violent Extremism in Pakistan
This case draws on lessons learned from the USAID/Pakistan Community Resilience Office’s (CRO’s) “safe charity” campaign to highlight ways in which USAID and its partners can leverage CLA to improve the performance of countering violent extremism (CVE) programming. The safe charity campaign, implemented by Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI) through a grants under contract (GUC) mechanism, aims to reduce financial support to violent extremist groups by educating communities about how to direct their charity to safe recipients. The campaign seeks to influence behavior in a complex environment, where evolving dynamics of violent extremism and entrenched patterns of charitable giving create a need for rapid learning to inform grant design. The campaign's short-duration grants to local organizations provide the space to adapt to local complexities and to test a variety of implementation approaches, but also pose unique challenges to learning. To address these challenges, CRO and DAI partnered with the USAID/Pakistan monitoring, evaluation, and learning platform (PERFORM, managed by Management Systems International) to assess the safe charity campaign throughout the campaign's implementation.
Together, CRO, DAI, and PERFORM adopted a two-pronged approach to CLA that included a phased assessment strategy, with scheduled "pause and reflection" periods, and a formal internal collaboration process. This approach established a technical evidence base that informed grant design and facilitated timely adaptation to implementation challenges. In this way, CRO and its partners leveraged CLA principles to guide key programming decisions, including shifts in geographic focus, redirection of grant funding to new target audiences, selection of new local actors to disseminate safe charity information, and identification of indicators for future learning.