Kelsall,T,. Laws, E. and Befani, (2021) “The ingredients of successful adaptive programming’ London:ODI.

This study identifies the core ingredients of adaptive programming by using a qualitative comparative analysis of the UK-Irish funded Institutions for Inclusive Development programme in Tanzania (2016-2021).

The core ingredients of adaptive programming include:

Step 1. Assemble your team

  • Enlist locally based staff, preferably with strong local networks or membership in a relevant national organisation.
  • Add a team leader or another senior staff member with a track record of successfully delivering an adaptive programme

Step 2. Identify a problem

  • Look for an issue that is already receiving a high level of political attention.
  • Use a combination of light-touch political economy and light-touch systems mapping and
    analysis to deepen your understanding of the problem and plot possible solutions. Apply more rigorous analysis as appropriate.
  • Formulate a loose theory of change or set of hypotheses about how change might happen.

Step 3. Design your intervention

  • If possible, enlist positive deviants and/or leverage external best practice to start generating possiblesolutions.
  • Combine with human-centred design principles, particularly when trying to create more inclusive decision- making, planning or policy processes.
  • Have a credible plan in advance for taking interventions to scale.

Step 4. Test and learn

  • Test one approach or potential solution to your problem, gather feedback and adapt as necessary.
  • Enlist the support of implementing agencies and non-state actors, and – especially if you anticipate or encounter organised opposition – high- level political actors.
  • Take care to also maintain the support of your funding organisation(s).
  • At regular intervals, review your progress using light-touch political analysis tools, perhaps with more in-depth analysis at critical junctures.

Step 5. Spend strategically and stay flexible

  • As your intervention matures, use programme funds in a strategic way. You may look for solutions through brokering and convening, but be prepared to provide funds for pilots, small-scale infrastructure, technical assistance or core funding.
  • As needs arise, and depending on your problem, you may also need to build capacity for innovative behaviour or innovative technology; alternatively, it may besufficient to improviseon existing solutions.
  • Maintain flexibility to be able to respond appropriately.
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