A guide to support planning, monitoring, evaluation and learning: integrating adaptive programming with theory of change

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Monitoring and accountability, Sustainability
Maria Angelina Deme, 37, the Chief of the Water Committee (GMF), fixes a water tap in Timor-Leste. 2017
Image: WaterAid/ Jerry Galea

Development professionals work in complex, constantly changing environments. How do we learn and adapt in order to navigate them and achieve our mission?

Our handbook A guide to support planning, monitoring, evaluation and learning sets out our approach to adaptive programming. It outlines how we use adaptive programming principles to:

  • plan and design learning-oriented initiatives 
  • monitor progress (both for accountability and learning) 
  • manage adaptively in response to change, evidence and opportunity

The guide is structured around six components that we see as critical to supporting planning, monitoring, evaluating and learning through an adaptive programming approach. We use theory of change to help structure the design and management process, on the basis of an absolute commitment to ongoing context analysis and learning-driven decision making. We have found that developing a theory of change supports a more robust design process; a theory of change identifies key assumptions and provides a point around which adaptations can be made. Download a PDF of the guide to learn more.