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Walking the CLA Talk at Startup


Panagora has learned that doing effective collaboration, learning and adapting (CLA) requires that you integrate it into an activity’s many components from the ground up. And there’s no better time to tweak and tailor an activity’s culture, processes and resources than at start up. This case presents lessons and key takeaways from our recent start up of the USAID CLA-dedicated activity in the Philippines, including steps to begin fostering a collaborative and trusting environment crucial to effective CLA activities.  

For example, we saw how bringing a team together to name an activity can help unite a team as well as ensure that everyone understands an activity’s overall goal. Using this exercise, the “CLA Activity Task Order” became “Collaborating, Learning and Adapting for Improved Health (CLAimHealth), which emphasizes the activity’s goal of improved health for Filipinos and reminds the team and others that CLA is not an end in itself, but rather a means to achieve health goals. 

USAID/Philippines’ Office of Health designed CLAimHealth to strengthen synergies across its diverse health activities and help optimize its Health Portfolio results by adapting interventions based on evidence. Panagora designed a participatory, integrated reflection and analysis approach to CLA to leverage learning insights at both the activity and full portfolio levels. To succeed, both aims require a strong culture of trust, open communication, and collaboration within and among USAID and implementing partners (IPs). The CLAimHealth team used its startup tasks, events and processes to elevate and launch this crucial relationship and trust building. 

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