You Can Always Change the Plan, But Only If You Have One: Laying the Foundation for CLA
The AVSI led consortium (AVSI Foundation, IMPAQ International, and Trickle Up) is more than 50% through the first refinement year of a seven year Food for Peace (FFP) funded activity called Graduating to Resilience (the Activity) and the lesson is clear: Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) doesn’t just happen. It is much easier to postpone an after action review until tomorrow, then the next day, and then the next until you find yourself making promises to do it next time. We all know that CLA practices improve Activity effectiveness and yet we rarely designate the personnel, time, or financial resources to make it happen. The planning stage is frequently overlooked with the focus on more exciting interventions. Yet, planning is critical for a meaningful CLA approach that meets the needs of an activity and is flexible enough to change over time.
This Activity is part of FFP’s refine and implement (R&I) approach, allowing one year to learn, modify, plan, and implement. During the refinement year, the consortium is taking tremendous steps to embed CLA methodologies in the Activity implementation. The Research and Learning Advisor works hand-in-hand with Technical Advisors when conducting pause-and-reflect sessions. AVSI leadership calls for both formal and informal before and after action reviews. Lessons are learned daily; information accumulates with each stakeholder engagement or assessment conducted. We, as a consortium, must grow and adjust in response. This is an account of those experiences during the first half of the refinement year and how we are laying the foundation for CLA in the years to come.