Adaptive management in the Face of ‘Wicked Problems’: Using M&E Learnings for Timely Program Innovation

Session Number: 2249
Track: International and Cross Cultural Evaluation
Session Type: Panel
Tags: adaptive management, Brazil, data use, developing countries, Implementation Science, Innovation, International and Cross Cultural Evaluat, organisational learning
Session Chair: Susan Rogers [Senior Associate, Design, Monitoring and Evaluation - Creative Associates International]
Discussant: Travis Mayo [Evaluation Specialist - USAID]
Presenter 1: Lee Sutton [Senior Advisor, Monitoring and Evaluation - AECOM International Development]
Presenter 2: Kayla Boisvert
Presenter 3: Jake Thomsen [Technical Manager - Creative Associates International]
Time: Oct 29, 2016 (08:00 AM - 09:30 AM)
Room: M101

Abstract 1 Title: Use of an Integrated Project Database to Support Adaptive Management in a Syrian Program
Presentation Abstract 1:

To have a robust adaptive management approach for continuous learning and iterative project management, there must be a structured framework that facilitates the collection and distribution of relevant and timely project information. While adaptive management is a key component of sound project management across all projects, it is especially important in conflict settings such as Syria. Under Creative Associate International’s Access to Security and Justice program, an integrated program database was designed combining community assessments, research findings, beneficiary and key stakeholder biodata, budgets, activity implementation information, and program results. Information in the database is used to support research, M&E and program delivery. This presentation will demonstrate how Information from the database holistically provides a robust picture of project communities, contributes to continuous learnings from successes and failures and enables managers to make timely adjustments to activities to achieve program outcomes.

Abstract 2 Title: Responding to Complexity: A Case Study on Adaptive Management in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Presentation Abstract 2:

About one quarter of Rio de Janeiro’s residents live in favelas, or informal settlements in the cities peripheries. Favelas are vibrant, community-oriented neighborhoods, but because of societal pressures, racism, lack of adequate government services, and other factors, they can also be places of extreme poverty, gang-related violence, and government-sanctioned militarization, violent evictions, and forced removals. Catalytic Communities (CatComm), an NGO working since 2000 on behalf of Rio’s favelas, uses adaptive management and continuous monitoring and evaluation to address issues such as sustainable development, human rights, and urban planning. CatComm “supports and empowers residents… evolving strategically to support their needs as they arise” and “is marked by flexibility, timeliness, and a keen demand-response.” This presentation will describe and assess the effectiveness of CatComm’s approach, framed by eight principles that guided analysis of interviews with CatComm staff in a case study. Findings will be discussed and concrete examples will be provided.

Abstract 3 Title: 3. Adapting and Improving an Education Program in Conflict-Affected Northern Nigeria – The Use of Feedback Loops and a Simulation Exercise to Review Data
Presentation Abstract 3:

The success of Creative Associates International’s Education Crisis Response (ECR) program in northern Nigeria will be determined by its ability to adjust to changing contextual factors, including local political religious and ethnic conflicts as well as obtain meaningful participation and buy-in from key stakeholder in partner states, using data results for transparency and accountability. This presentation discusses ECR’s use of various monitoring and assessment data for adaptive management which was the focus of the USAID Education in Conflict and Crisis Network (ECCN) workshop, Adapting and Improving Education Programs in Conflict-Affected Environments—Northern Nigeria in September 2015. The workshop utilized feedback loops, a methodology for using data to promote systemic, collaborative, organizational learning for decision-making, embedded in a simulation exercise with teams of ECR stakeholders who reviewed the various sources of data in a collaborative, consultative process/cycle which culminated in team sharing of their analysis and proposals for adaptive management.

Audience Level: Intermediate

Session Abstract: 

Adaptive management is a structured, iterative process for making decisions in the face of uncertainty that aims to facilitate modifications of behaviors, plans, and programs based on learning and experience.  Increasingly, programs are being implemented in international settings of conflict and crisis in which the context is complex and rapidly changing and there are multiple opinions of stakeholders, requiring that a reflective, iterative and continual learning process be in place that goes beyond monitoring of inputs and outputs to change monitoring and real-time evaluation that is responsive to newly available innovations that can support the achievement of goals.  This panel will provide examples from the field of how M&E formal and informal processes are being used to inform adaptive management of international programs when an original design may prove inadequate or unrealistic.