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Community Contribution

Migrating Agile Management: Herding a New CLA Approach in Ethiopia's Lowlands

A. Usman, A. Penrose, J. Simpson, and M. Mangano

The environment within which many development partners and programs operate is ever changing and complex. This is particularly true in the Ethiopia lowlands where changes in recent decades have created a rapidly evolving context with a complex landscape. This, coupled with the dynamic nature of pastoral livelihood systems that are facing increased uncertainties, makes resilience-oriented development programming in the Ethiopia lowlands more challenging and creates a greater need for adapting interventions throughout a program’s lifecycle.

Launched in 2020, the Feed the Future Ethiopia Resilience in Pastoral Areas (RIPA) program is a 5-year, USAID-funded activity that aims to build resilience through enhanced food security and inclusive economic growth within pastoral regions of Ethiopia. Given the current context and previous challenges implementing Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) approaches (including adaptive management in particular) in pastoralist and agro-pastoralist development programs, RIPA has pioneered an updated CLA approach that uses Agile Management to integrate CLA within the day-to-day management system. Agile Management is a project management framework that has been widely used in the software development industry and can be applied to other sectors as well. The framework uses backlogs and sprints to drive development and is grounded in user feedback and informed by evidence generated by analyses of data for continuous program monitoring.

RIPA’s CLA and Agile Management integrated approach has contributed to improved collaboration (both internally and with implementing partners), increased opportunity for learning through intentional pause and reflect activities, and greater utilization of learning to inform decisions around program adaptation.

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