Seeing the Forest for the Trees: CLA Strengthens Conservation in Mozambique
USAID/Mozambique’s biodiversity conservation programming aims to accelerate economic growth through improved natural resources management. The Mission works with the Mozambican government and the private sector to conserve biodiversity and benefit local people in two of the country’s most important conservation areas: Gorongosa National Park (GNP) and Niassa National Reserve (NNR).
In 2013, the Mission, plus USAID’s E3/Forestry and Biodiversity (FAB) Office, and FAB’s Measuring Impact (MI) engaged GNP and NNR to collaboratively develop Global Development Alliance (GDA) activities. In 2014, USAID procured its two flagship biodiversity conservation activities in Mozambique: the Integrated Gorongosa and Buffer Zone (IGBZ) activity and Niassa’s Alliance for Ecosystem Conservation, Markets and Tourism (ECOSMART). These GDAs involve both conservation and private sector partners who share common, interdependent goals of biodiversity conservation and sustainable community development.
By mid-2017, at the activities’ mid-term, shifts in the development and conservation context indicated a need for adaptive management. The Mission, FAB, and MI, designed and facilitated a cross-GDA Learning Workshop in GNP. The March 2018 event provided exchange opportunities for the two GDAs and led them through a learning exercise to revisit their theories of change, develop learning questions, and prioritize one for investigation by USAID's Mozambique Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism and Services (MMEMS).
Taking a CLA approach has allowed the Mission to further strengthen internal and external collaboration, socialize the use of “pause and reflect” exercises for adaptive management, reinforce the use of theories of change in biodiversity programming, improve collaboration and information sharing between the two protected areas, and provide a clear pathway to improve each activities’ MEL practice and outcomes.