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From Good to Great: Meeting Conservation and Biodiversity Goals in Programming with Actionable Planning Tools

Katie McElhinny, Melissa Bevins, Rebekah Hein

How can USAID staff ensure their biodiversity programming is good, if not great, at meeting conservation goals? USAID/Biodiversity Division tackled this critical question in designing and implementing a programmatic support tool for biodiversity programming called the Good to Great (GtG) tool. The tool was designed to communicate standards for implementing high-impact, biodiversity and integrated programs at USAID, drawing upon a CLA approach to help implementers reflect on program cycle management processes, identify priorities, and design action plans to continually improve and adaptively manage programs. The GtG tool provides a spectrum of criteria across five technical components, highlighting "good" to "great". The tool harmonizes Agency guidance for programming and promotes best practices described in the Biodiversity Handbook and USAID's CLA approach, into an actionable tool for adaptive management.

The team took a CLA approach to its development to ensure appropriateness and utility. GtG was developed in partnership with the USAID/Biodiversity Division under Measuring Impact (MI), where the criteria for programming was established. USAID's Sharing Environment and Energy Knowledge (SEEK) project then converted the criteria into an actionable tool for programming. Through SEEK, the GtG tool was developed, socialized, and adapted. Finally, it was shared with a cohort of 25 individuals as a pilot under SEEK's Biodiversity Advisors program. Since the release of the tool, USAID operating units (OUs) continue to utilize it and a Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop was hosted with Measuring Impact II (MI2) facilitators to ensure the tool's sustainability.

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