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Community Contribution

Reflecting on and Re-envisioning Education in Africa

Chris Backwood

This case concerns a shift in processes within the Africa Bureau’s Education Division of the Office of Sustainable Development (AFR/SD/ED), leading to multiple actions to set the foundation of CLA within the team and its USAID counterparts. A 2017 desk review of the team’s processes revealed a significant overlap in work (both within the team and with other operating units (OUs)), yet collaboration was not always happening despite it. There were many different players and moving parts, and utilizing evaluation and data was a challenge. This highlighted an initial need for improved processes in the CLA sub-components of knowledge management (KM) and pause and reflect (P&R), which was corroborated by the facilitation of the CLA Maturity Tool for AFR/SD/ED in May 2017. The conversations and action planning that resulted from this tool led to a shift in mindset that led to multiple outcomes using a CLA approach. These included internal team practices such as ongoing meetings to share information and updating filing protocols to make information more collaborative and accessible to the team as a whole. This shift also influenced an initiative to create a shared inventory of learning activities within education sector OUs, resulting in the collection of information on 87 learning activities in its first phase. Furthermore, this shift contributed to the team’s design of the Africa Regional Education Workshop (AREW), the content of which was shaped to emphasize the usage of evaluation results to influence future programming in Africa-based education programs.