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The Syria Regional Program (SRP) operates in a rapidly changing conflict environment, presenting challenges to remain relevant and effective. We apply a Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) approach and rigorously use theories of change, openness, pause and reflect, and scenario planning in order to make progress toward our program goal. These CLA principles allow for the incorporation of rolling analysis, contextual information, activity learning, and community feedback into future programming. CLA principles allow SRP to operate effectively in an unpredictable conflict context, to remain compliant with regulations, and to deliver meaningful results.
In Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus under siege by the Syrian regime since 2013, SRP has been able to achieve several of its objectives. In this case study, we examine how the four above-mentioned CLA principles have helped to organize our program team’s response to context challenges. Since SRP’s first activity in the Eastern Ghouta enclave in 2014, a CLA cycle has guided the evolution of our strategy; we have tested our achievements transparently and taken time to assess what we can do differently and better. Our clustered activities over the past three years have helped our Syrian partners to gain significant public support and legitimacy in their communities, allowing them to challenge and resist extremist influence, and to better service and represent their civilian populations.