Author: Mercy Corps & International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Full Citation: Mercy Corps & IRC. (2016). ADAPTing aid: Lessons from six case studies. Mercy Corps. Retrieved from https://www.mercycorps.org/research/adaptive-management-case-studies
Overview: The ADAPT partnership between the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Mercy Corps exists to address practical and conceptual gaps in adaptive management. The goal of ADAPT–Analysis Driven Agile Programming Techniques–is to bring about a step change in the way implementing and donor agencies plan, resource, and implement programs. This report describes six case studies in brief (with links to the IRC and Mercy Corps websites for the full cases) and draws out the key cross-cutting themes that generated the most discussion at a workshop held in 2016. The case studies were:
- Building an Adaptive Team for Market Systems Development in Acholi, Uganda
- Ensuring Contextual Awareness and Flexible Partnership in South and Central Syria
- Leveraging an Informant Network for Rapid Relief Response in Diffa, Niger
- Pivoting Approaches in the Face of a Crisis in Sierra Leone: Comparative Case
- Promoting Partner Autonomy and Learning to Fight Ebola in Liberia
- Tailoring Health Programming to Context Variations in Kayah State, Myanmar
Methodology: Over the past year, we have conducted in-depth field research into six interventions in complex and volatile contexts. The output of this research was six case studies that shed light on three questions:
- What does adaptive management look like in practice?
- What impact can it have on programs?
- How can it best be nurtured?
Findings: The six case studies form the basis for an initial set of lessons and insights into how we can make adaptive management a reality. These lessons fall broadly into five categories:
- Dynamic and collaborative teams
- Agile and integrated operations
- Appropriate data and reflective analysis
- Trusting and flexible partnerships
- Responsive decision-making and action