KDAD Spurs Innovation Through “Evidence Base for CLA” Grant Awards

Does an intentional, systematic and resourced approach to collaborating, learning, and adapting (CLA) contribute to development outcomes? If so, how? And under what conditions?

With support from USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL) in partnership with the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment’s localworks program, QED issued a Request for Applications to specifically address these questions. The RFA was issued through QED’s subcontract with Insight Systems Corporation under the USAID-funded Feed the Future Knowledge-Driven Agricultural Development (KDAD) Project.

Utilizing the combined strength of varied approaches and collaboration in fostering innovation, QED offered grant awards to talented partners who could explore the evidence base and value associated with Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA). Specifically, these grants and the associated Learning Network (facilitated in partnership with the LEARN contract) aim to understand, measure, and assess the impact of CLA in international development.

After reviewing many application submissions, Grants-Under-Contract (GUCs) were awarded to the organizations listed below. GUCs are a funding mechanism that provides assistance for the initiative entitled Evidence Base for Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (EB4CLA):

  • Counterpart International
  • Global Knowledge Initiative (GKI)
  • MarketShare Associates (MSA)
  • MercyCorps
  • Pollen Group

Currently, QED is proud to manage a total of 11 GUCs on the KDAD project alone. In addition to EB4CLA, other grant-making initiatives include:

  • Scaling Innovation Through Videos
  • Livestock Learning
  • African Evaluation Association (AfrEA) Professional Association Institutional Capability Development
  • The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) e-Learning Assessment Project

Awarding grants, such as the GUCs for EB4CLA, highlights just one of the ways QED encourages innovative thinking. Innovation happens when insights, ideas, and experience merge. Since this rarely happens in a vacuum, grant-making fosters innovation by presenting a challenge, seeking varied perspectives, and rapidly testing solutions for viability. When successful solutions are identified, they are shared and scaled—and in almost every case they help move ideas forward such that they can be adapted and iteratively improved upon. In this way, grants provide a quick and relatively inexpensive forum for fostering innovation. QED’s goal is to facilitate the spirit of innovation through initiatives such as grant awards that invite partners to jointly seek solutions with collaborative co-creation.

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