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USAID Biodiversity Programming How-To Guides

Marco Flores, Caroline Stem, Richard Margoluis

The USAID/E3 Forestry and Biodiversity Office has released three Biodiversity Programming How-To Guides to help with these questions: 1) Developing Situation Models; 2) Using Results Chains to Depict Theories of Change; and 3) Defining Outcomes and Indicators for Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning. These How-To Guides provide in-depth guidance on key tools and practices to support teams (USAID and implementing partners) as they design and manage programs within USAID’s Program Cycle and in accordance with the Agency’s Biodiversity Policy.

Every year, USAID invests enormous amounts of financial and human resources into programming directed at conserving biodiversity in priority places, and integrating biodiversity as an essential component of human development. But, how can the Agency know if that intended biodiversity conservation impact is achieved? Moreover, how can teams learn from and improve strategic approaches? The conservation community continuously works to find the best options to address these questions.

1)    The first how-to guide focuses on how to develop situation models to map out the biodiversity conservation problem context to be addressed.

2)    The second how-to guide on results chains builds off the situation model guide. It helps design teams clearly depict the program’s theory of change by using results chains as a logic model that focuses on expected results and the programmatic assumptions behind proposed strategic approaches.

3)    The third how-to guide on defining outcomes and indicators for monitoring, evaluation, and learning uses the results chains developed in the second guide. It provides help identifying key results for developing outcome statements and indicators. It also highlights the usefulness of results chains to support program evaluations and learning at and across activity, project and CDCS levels.


The focus of these How-To Guides is on biodiversity programming, but the concepts, practices, and tools described in these How-To Guides can and have been used in programming of other development sectors, as was in integrated (multi-sector)programming. The methodology described throughout these three How-To Guides is based on the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation, a resource that is widely used in the global conservation community. 


Also, these How-to Guides are aligned with and supportive of the new USAID Program Cycle Operational Policy (ADS 201) released in September of 2016.  


Enclosed you will also find the 2-page summaries of the guides.

These How-To Guides are also available as self-paced online interactive courses . For best results use Chrome instead of IE when accessing the courses.


You can also find other material related to the How-To Guides on the Biodiversity Conservation Gateway .



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