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Community Contribution

Ask questions, generate learning, use learning (Wash, Rinse, Repeat)

Stephen Okoth, Tina Byenkya
CLA Case Competition Red Winner Ribbon

Somalia has faced decades of instability, intercommunal conflict, and humanitarian crises. This has resulted in a dynamic and complex operating environment. In the last two years, Somalia experienced two significant contextual shifts which directly influenced implementation and progress against the USAID/Somalia CDCS development objectives. The Mission’s approach to CLA was dispersed and inconsistently practiced. The Mission recognized that it risked ignoring unintended results and alternative causes or non-linear change. In a context like Somalia, this can mean decisions that negatively impact communities. 

The Mission’s approach to CLA creates opportunities for Mission staff and partners to identify the right questions, better engage with research and data, and use learning to make better decisions or adjustments. This CLA case describes two specific ways the Mission is rolling out this approach: a bi-annual strategy-level Pause and Reflect, supplemented by quarterly performance reviews, and a staggered Mid-Course Stocktaking. 

The approach to CLA has started to create safer spaces to ask questions. The Mission asks more questions around what is unknown. The Mission’s approach to CLA has provided the space and time to gather evidence, reflect on evidence and make sound, unrushed decisions on adaptations and shifts to the CDCS. This approach has also served as a way for the Mission to model articulation of questions, generation of learning to respond to questions, reflection on learning, and decision making.

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