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Community Contribution

Integrating CLA into Organizational Structure, Partner Management, and Project Culture

Sarah Wall, Warda Ashraf, Soeb Iftekar, Anup Roy

USAID's Agricultural Value Chains Activity in Bangladesh (AVC) takes a market systems approach to development to drive transformative change in selected value chains in Bangladesh's Southern Delta. During initial implementation, AVC employed a classic value chain approach. Technical teams were responsible for designing and implementing partner interventions in specific value chains (mango, summer vegetable, tomato, potato, pulses, groundnuts, coir and jute). At the end of year 2, however, AVC underwent a strategic re-organization moving from a classic model for value chain implementation to a more holistic market systems approach working with systemic issues across all value chains. This strategic shift presented a number of pressing challenges. First, AVC had to transform its own internal structure to reflect the more complex market system it was trying to change. Second, AVC had to quickly build the capacity of its staff to implement a market systems approach through business partnerships rather than more traditional NGOs. Third, AVC had to build a new learning organization to deal with the complex contingencies of implementing its systemic change model which requires rapid learning and adaptation—a management process not entirely conducive to target-driven development favored by some funding organizations. This case tells the story of what AVC did to accomplish this transformation linking the “inside” structure and culture to reflect the complexities of the “outside” problem domain it was trying to change and transform.

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