Lessons from the Learning Contract – Impacting the Future of Uganda’s Youth

Lessons from the Learning Contract – Impacting the Future of Uganda’s Youth

Since 2013, QED has been implementing a five-year Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Program in Uganda known as “The Learning Contract”. The goal of our work has been to increase USAID/Uganda’s capacity to implement a Mission-wide Collaboration, Learning and Adapting (CLA) approach, allowing the mission to be more adaptive, responsive and strategically sound.

A pivotal turning point in The Learning Contract was the Child Forum. The basis of the child forum was research and predictive analysis that showed that a focused and strategic approach was needed to deal with the state of the Ugandan child. The Child Forum which brought together more than 700 participants from all over Uganda and focused on four thematic areas of child well-being: health & nutrition, education, social protection, and child participation in decision-making, with special attention paid to young girls. Out of the Child Forum came a country-wide commitment to refocusing on Uganda’s youth to secure the nation’s future. The video of the forum can be viewed here.

Following the successful Child Forum, QED produced “The State of the Ugandan Child – An Analytical Overview”, building on the foundation of the forum and highlighting a path forward. These guided discussions led into the new Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS).

The CDCS serves as one of the greatest successes of The Learning Contract, which took nearly two years of intense discussion and collaboration to develop. The document is based on a systems-thinking approach that incorporates Human-Centered Design (HCD) and outlines an integrated development strategy in Uganda, with a particular focus on Uganda’s new priority that youth are to be included in development activities.

Following successful completion of the new mission-wide CDCS, QED has also played a leading role in developing an innovative Performance Management Plan (PMP) which details how Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) and Collaboration, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) will be built into the mission’s program cycle. This approach was also carried forward into improvement of the mission’s Performance Reporting System (PRS) to ensure the effective tracking of progress towards the goals described in the new CDCS.

Over the last five years, QED has conducted 16 evaluations, special studies and assessments; supported 51 USAID/Uganda tasks and 87 IPs in developing 14 activity MEL plans; assessed 62 indicators in formal data quality analysis processes; synthesized 16 evaluation reports; supported 41 Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) development meetings; fielded 33 local consultants and 28 international consultants; and developed 3 how-to guides.

Later this month, QED will support USAID/Uganda in the second annual Joint Agricultural Sector Annual Review (JASAR). Just as we did with the Child Forum, QED is coordinating plans to convene the major players in Uganda’s agricultural sector to achieve consensus on the path forward for strengthening the countries agricultural sector and how that can play a leading role in the continued economic growth and development of the country.

QED’s work on The Learning Contract has had a transformational impact on how programs and implementing partners work together to help the mission achieve its strategic goals. As our work on The Learning Contract concludes and Uganda continues to look to the future, it will be important to ensure a sustained approach to child well-being is adopted, particularly toward young women and girls, that includes innovative and targeted interventions by multiple stakeholders to support the realization of children’s rights. This will require the commitment of all stakeholders to policy, legislation, financing, and collaborative outcomes to ensure a forward trajectory for future generations of Ugandan youth.