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A Collaborative Design: A CLA Approach to Ensuring REM Representation in Yemen

Sophien Ben-Achour
2022 CLA Case Competition Finalist Ribbon

The “Advancing Tolerance in Middle East North Africa” program, implemented by Search for Common Ground (Search), aims to understand and address key risks of violence and marginalization that religious and ethnic minority (REM) communities face. In Yemen, the program team carried out the first activity design process, which resulted in the development of several activity streams that directly contributed to addressing many of the key risks, as identified in research. However, as the team analyzed the final research findings, we noticed an additional and recurring theme emerge in the data: REM communities felt under-represented and lacked the means and opportunity to express and advocate for their needs and rights. Our initial design did not address this concern. Without integrating these elements, our program risked ignoring a core driver of fragility facing the communities that this program sought to support. Not only was a CLA approach necessary in gaining the appropriate perspectives, but without it, we risked not integrating a core element of sustainability in the activity design.

To ensure that our design adequately included these important findings, we recognized the need to apply adaptive management and technical evidence-based design to our overall design process. Our CLA approach included pause and reflect sessions, diversified analytical tools, convening a wide range of perspectives, and revising our logical framework. We hope and expect the revised design to result in greater representation of REM communities by their leaders and enhanced platforms for advocacy. At this stage, we are confident that our CLA approach allowed for a much richer design that strengthens the chances for greater sustainability.

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