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Community Contribution

Conservation is Development: HEARTH Puts CLA to Work with the Private Sector

K. Flower, S. Carlson, E. Daut, V. Swaminathan

USAID’s cross-sectoral Health, Ecosystems and Agriculture for Resilient, Thriving Societies (HEARTH) initiative embodies the CLA principles of collaboration, learning, adapting. Launched in December 2019, HEARTH responds to today’s urgent yet complex conservation and development challenges. HEARTH is based on three big ideas: (1) cross-sectoral collaboration, (2) private sector engagement, and (3) rigorous monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning (MERL) to generate and share evidence of sustainable impact. It extends CLA across Agency bureaus, missions, and implementing partners including the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs).

Six missions initially joined HEARTH and have co-created 11 Global Development Alliances (GDAs). Today, eight missions are developing at least 14 prospective activities. USAID’s Measuring Impact II (MI2) project, implemented by Environmental Incentives (EI), Foundations of Success (FOS), and ICF, works with USAID to facilitate co-design using CLA and the Conservation Standards, emphasizing internal and external collaboration, building a technical evidence base, using theories of change (TOC), and ensuring monitoring and evaluation readiness for continuous learning and improvement. Thus, HEARTH and MI2 exemplify CLA in implementing mechanisms.

Through “rapid cycle” learning, we (more than 22 technical assistance providers from USAID/Washington and MI2) identified and applied a number of lessons learned related to participation, collaboration, and decision making in TOC-based co-design – all in COVID-19’s adapted virtual environment. As we transition into facilitating activity start-up and MERL planning, we aim to enable TOC-based learning, pause and reflect and adaptive management; and to catalyze research, including comparable baseline surveys and rigorous impact assessments, to build the evidence base for HEARTH's transformational development approach.

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