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Community Contribution

Gender and Development Dialogues: A CLA Approach for Gender Integration Among USAID Implementing Partners in Cambodia

Sopheap Sreng, Peoulida Ros, Julie Grier-Villatte

USAID/Cambodia works with its partners to protect natural resources, improve health and nutrition, promote democracy and good governance, and help children improve their reading skills. The mission’s Gender Working Group identified that implementing partners and USAID staff could improve gender-aware programming and share best practices and lessons learned during implementation by adopting a continuous collaborating, learning, and adapting (CLA) approach.

CLA Approach

  • Pause & Reflect: To help promote CLA, the Gender Working Group established a forum for implementing partners to gather regularly with USAID staff to engage in dialogue about their gender approaches and test development hypotheses. At these quarterly events, known as the Gender and Development Dialogues, U.S. Government and implementing partner staff share findings and lessons learned with one another.
  • Continuous Learning & Improvement: The Gender Working Group engages with contracting and agreement officers’ representatives to ensure that future programing approaches consider gender equality and female empowerment priorities. In return, the working group receives new knowledge about the mission’s activities. We see this two-way sharing as a “win-win” strategy in which knowledge gaps are filled, enabling future adaptation.

Lessons Learned

  • Choosing a conversational, facilitated discussion format made the Gender and Development Dialogues more engaging than the presentation-style format that was originally planned.


  • The Gender and Development Dialogues give implementing partners and USAID staff a space to talk about their programs and view them through a gender lens.
  • The dialogues have opened participants’ eyes, giving them a broader understanding of gender issues in Cambodia, and contributed to increased collaboration, networking, and sharing of best practices.

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