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USAID requires all projects to address gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) as a crosscutting theme and regularly undergo rigorous GESI analysis and compliance evaluation. As part of project design, USAID calls for mandatory use of GESI Action Plan and reporting on it as one of the key project deliverables. USAID’s GESI Action Plan framework uses the CLA Maturity Matrix which incorporates the key enabling conditions such as the implementing partners own GESI policy, senior management’s readiness to understand the importance of teamwork in undertaking GESI responsibilities, and their commitment to provide a fair, dignified and safe work environment to women and marginalized groups.
In USAID’s Hariyo Ban (Green Forests) forestry and climate change adaptation project in Nepal we observed successful application of CLA approaches in GESI Action Plans. Success of the CLA approach was due in large part to USAID’s facilitation of the project for using the CLA approach and the project’s undertaking of CLA from the planning through implementation stage. Using CLA approaches in GESI action plans helped in creating enabling conditions such as formulating organizational policy, developing inclusive working culture, enhancing GESI capacities, and demonstrating leadership support for GESI advancement. The continuous reflection and learning increased the project’s ability to use that information to timely adapt during the planning and implementation of the next phase.