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Community Contribution

Using CLA to Revisit Past Failures and Adapt Future Approaches for Greater Impact

Saeqah Kabir, Iqbal Azad, Ayatullah Mamun, and Rubayat Ahsan

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Through the USAID-funded Nobo Jatra (New Beginning) project, World Vision Bangladesh uses CLA to revisit past failures to improve and adapt future approaches. While staff were open to applying CLA in their work, there was limited understanding of the benefits of applying CLA to learn from failures at an overall project level. Despite a commitment to continuous learning and improvement, Nobo Jatra typically only scaled and replicated successful solutions. In doing so, there was a missed opportunity to apply a culture of learning, reflection, and adaptation to revisit potentially higher impact approaches.

Recognizing the opportunity to improve impact, Nobo Jatra took used CLA to learn from previous failures and revisit initiatives that had a higher promise of effectiveness, scale, and efficiency Specifically, the project revisited a past approach to increase access to safe drinking water through Reverse Osmosis plants to see what could be done differently to increase the chance of success. Revisiting the approach with a CLA lens required support not just from senior leadership but from multiple teams and communities themselves to leverage past experiences, apply lessons learned, and identify critical areas that could be done differently. Through implementation of the CLA approach since 2019, Nobo Jatra has installed 10 Reverse Osmosis plants that are providing safe drinking water all year round to approximately 18,000 people each month. With strong operation and maintenance structures and payment systems for water, the Reverse Osmosis plants have continued to function during the COVID-19 crisis and in the aftermath of cyclones, which is an indicator of the sustainability of the systems.

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