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Summary updates on the Learning Labs
Laos (and Vietnam)
Summary aim of P Shift work in FY09 (to year 1 review workshop early in FY10):
Develop a clear understanding of what the programmatic country office/ business unit looks like.
Establish an understanding of the preconditions for Country Offices/ business units to engage in the programmatic shift.
Develop information and evidence on funding mechanisms for programs
CARE Bangladesh has been in the process of moving forward with the design of four programs, and then beginning to operationalize one of them, that on women's empowerment. Although they don't yet have any 'final' program framework designs - meaning that they do not yet have coherent theories of change - Bangladesh have nevertheless undertaking a series of design exercises aimed at strengthening their understanding of the role of these theories in program design and how to strengthen them. Operationalization of the women's empowerment program has begun in the Sunamganj area of NE Bangladesh. The CO also hopes to complete the program design frameworks before the end of this calendar year. Already a series of new project designs have occurred within the draft designs. A workshop was also held which provided the CO with a preliminary idea of a process for defining program outcome and impact indicators.
Ecuador has also undertaken a significant amount of programmatic work. They have three program areas - Democracy, Environment and economic development, and social services, some more developed than others as programs. The CO has also undertaken a great deal of organizational alignment work, particularly with respect to finance, human resources and fund raising.
CARE Ethiopia, like Bangladesh remains with a large CO staff. As a result, given the toughening restrictions on NGO activity in Ethiopia, the CO has placed a large emphasis on developing widespread staff understanding and ownership of the program shift work being embarked upon. The Ubora PQ tool was piloted as part of this orientation. Since then the design of program frameworks has begun with an exercise involving a wide number of staff, including in field offices, in a preliminary exercise around defining program impact groups. A synthesis process for this has now been undertaken, and a final validation with all staff is underway. The next steps for program design are now being planned, beginning with pulling together all the analytical work the CO has at its disposal.
Laos (and Vietnam)
CARE Laos has begun to define three program areas, and the existing projects that would relate to these. A country UCP analysis will be undertaken using the MDGs as a basis for analysis.
Malawi, with Ethiopia and Mali, was one of the learning labs to undertake an early pilot of the Ubora PQ tool (since then Egypt had also piloted the tool). Following this exercise, a decision was made to go ahead with the development of one program framework.
CARE Mali undertook a pilot of the Ubora took in an event which included representatives from Niger and the Gulf of Guinea. From last year's LRSP exercise, CARE Mali had decided to develop an overarching Theory of Change for the CO as part of its strategy, and decided upon three program areas.
CARE Sri Lanka has begun developing its program designs with the plantation sector. An initial design exercise was facilitated and a road map for the remainder of the process completed. Two other programs are intended; one in the southern dry zone, and the other, which will be by far the most complex to develop, in the conflict affected areas.
Has a Regional Program Quality group in place, which meets twice a year, and which has helped to initiate a variety of cross-country exchanges and sharing, as well as a common regional PQ agenda.
ECARMU has an ACD forum which is scheduled to evolve into a broader program quality group early in 2009. A variety of regional cross-learning exchanges and initiatives have already taken place.
For the LAC region, analytical work has been conducted to look at factors affecting gender inequity across the region, and the status of the women's movement today. An innovative methodology was used, with 65 influential women involved in woman's networks and movements, policy making, universities etc, being interviewed from both CARE and non-CARE countries. In addition, an analytical piece was commissioned from Sofia Montenegro, a feminist activist based in Nicaragua, which reflected on the history of the women's movement in the region and potential strategic roles for CARE.
At the regional level, LAC also has an RLT, which in the last meeting included ACDs and program quality point people, so functioned as a program quality meeting, and an ACDs forum, which is also inclusive of program quality people.
Peru have been doing a lot of detailed work around their program framework, starting to look at, for instance, theories of change in certain areas, impact measurement systems, and their overall program framework. This framework remains highly complex, consisting of a series of eight 'sub-programs' oriented towards MDGs and largely sectoral in nature. Collectively these address five UCPs, and there are also a series of cross-cutting themes around governance, cultural inclusion, gender equity and so on.
Since Istanbul, Central America has been rethinking their program strategy. They have identified three different impact groups to focus on - marginalized groups of women; marginalized groups of girls; and rural subsistence producers. For each of these factors, some of the major issues and underlying causes affecting them have been identified, and the major, relevant, MDGs. Fuller elaboration of a set of program strategies for these three impact groups will now take place.
MERMU has just undergone a reorganization, with two new coordinators in place for the MENA countries (Middle East and North Africa), and then for Eastern Europe (the Balkans and the Caucasus). Their sub-regional strategies will evolve. Georgia attended the Istanbul meeting, but with recent events its participation as a learning lab has been put on hold until 2009. A sub-regional approach may possibly end up being the focus of a learning lab in the Caucasus.
The previous SWARMU region had a series of 3 theme team groups. These will now be reorganized, as the region cannot keep so many groups going, and a single program quality group is likely to be created, which can also combine theme based sessions, if required.
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