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Community Contribution

Scenario Planning in Sudan: CLA for Impact in a Conflict Environment

Catharine Struss, CEPPS Sudan program team

The 2019 popular uprising that ended a thirty year-long military dictatorship in Sudan marked a political opening for Sudan. To support the country’s transition to democracy, the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS)—comprised of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), the International Republican Institute (IRI), and the National Democratic Institute (NDI)— has worked to implement the USAID-funded Improving Electoral and Political Processes for Change in Sudan (IEPP) Activity. CEPPS confronted multiple challenges in implementing the IEPP Activity, such as rapid shifts in the operating context, including protests, coup d’états, and internal armed conflict, as well as tensions and lack of trust among key stakeholders. To navigate these challenges, CEPPS applied the Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) framework in its democracy, human rights and governance (DRG) work which enabled CEPPS to support Sudan’s transitioning democracy, while adapting to rapidly changing circumstances in a way that centered local actors in the process.

To do so, CEPPS utilized a test-and-respond approach, combining short-term planning, scenario development and reflection sessions with local partners, stakeholders, and participants to develop possible alternative interventions based on potential action-forcing events. This CLA approach prioritizes collaborative planning and activity design with local partners, who generate ideas and provide feedback on CEPPS activities and approaches. This enabled locally led adaptation of the IEPP activity and helped sustain the momentum in building the foundations of a peaceful, stable, inclusive democratic society in Sudan.

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