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Community Contribution

Learning and Adapting Enables Civil Society Innovations in Cambodia

Kate Heuisler

Winner RibbonDevelopment Innovations (DI) is a five-year, USAID-funded project aimed to spur innovation within Cambodia's civil society and build its capacity to design and use information and communication technologies (ICTs). DI employs CLA approaches at strategic and activity levels across all program areas. Specifically, the project uses: (1) continuous learning and improvement supported by evidence from rapid demand surveys and USAID’s Mid-Term Evaluation (MTE) to rapidly refine programs for better results; (2) internal collaboration across DI departments, including online and offline collaboration tools and mechanisms; (3) quarterly and semi-annual programmatic review assessments through pause and reflect sessions; and (4) an adaptive management approach that relies on the collaborative and responsive relationship with USAID Cambodia. CLA approaches have helped the project be responsive to changing needs and demand within the civil society and tech communities, and helped DI experiment rapidly and scale up or discontinue activities quickly based on data and user feedback. Continuous learning and improvement and adaptive management have been built into the way the project and all staff operate on a daily basis, and have resulted in a large number of innovative partnerships with civil society organizations (CSOs). In addition, applying these approaches has resulted in the development and implementation of over 50 ICT-based solutions, reaching more than 1.4 million Cambodians, that address critical development challenges across the country ranging from a lack of information about public services or financial literacy, to a lack of awareness about Cambodia's extensive natural resources.

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