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Christian Aid Ireland’s adaptive programme management

Governance, gender, peace building and human rights Tackling the problems of poverty, vulnerability and exclusion that persist in parts of the world that continue to be affected by violence or political insecurity is difficult for several reasons. For one, because of the complexity of the prevailing social, economic and political systems, solutions to chronic problems are far from obvious. One response to this aspect of the challenge is adaptive programme design and management. This paper, 'Learning to make a difference: Christian Aid Ireland’s adaptive programme management in governance, gender, peace building and human rights', is the product of a multi-year collaboration between ODI and the core team of Christian Aid Ireland to assess the relevance of adaptive or trial-and-error approaches to the field of governance, peace building and human rights. It explains the basis on which Christian Aid Ireland’s current five-year programme funded by Irish Aid has become committed to an adaptive approach. It then describes and seeks to draw lessons from the programme’s first year of experience, considering the possible implications for implementation over the coming years.

Humanitarian response to populations affected by violence in Konduga

A Christian Aid (CA) humanitarian response programme funded by the European Union’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations has reached more than 40,000 people affected by the conflict in Konduga area, within Borno State. Food Security and Livelihoods (FSL) and Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) are the major response areas which has targeted the most vulnerable persons. ECHO has empowered Christian Aid to support access to food for the most vulnerable persons in Konduga through cash based interventions. The food security response targeted 18,000 people through a cash transfer intervention to help the vulnerable access food. Those reached through food assistance are spread across five communities within Konduga Local Government Area, in Borno State.

Case study - WASH in Nigeria

Now in its second phase, one goal of Christian Aid’s SCHH project is to empower communities to demand quality health services from government and take ownership of their health in a more independent and sustainable way. Community Development Committees (CDCs)  have been established to promote the health of community members, using a rights-based approach to request quality services. The CDC doubles as the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) committee, appealing to local government around health needs and promoting WASH principles to improve community health.

Case study - an all-encompassing 'fruitbowl' approach in Nigeria

Providing health education to communities and households on various issues including family planning, HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, maternal and child health (MCH), and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

LPRR: action learning research

In order for productive learning to occur within the context of this project, monitoring practices must be robust and go beyond collecting data against indicators. This is especially important within a resilience context, as the pre-emptive baseline measurement that is usually used for measuring progress/success is not desirable here. Instead, an ‘outcome harvesting’ approach is more practical, as it does not measure progress towards predetermined outcomes or objectives, but rather collects evidence of what has been achieved, and works backward to determine whether and how the project or intervention contributed to the change. Within the LPRR project there is a need for rigorous evaluation, which balances accountability and learning. Given the ever-evolving evidence base of ‘what works under what conditions’ coupled with the need to demonstrate quality, impactful programming in both upwards and downwards accountability, these types of robust evaluations are essential. In order to ensure learning and accountability are achieved through evaluations, they must be well-planned and budgeted for. This is where the role of the learning strand comes in; by recognising that learning is essential at the outset, it enables it to be included within the design of the project.