Increasing the Mission’s Internal and External Collaboration
CLAimDev’s engagement with OEd began when it was facing a difficult summer. The Office had been working remotely for more than a year. Staff were feeling overwhelmed balancing their work and family responsibilities. Two staff positions were vacant, the Deputy Director was leaving for her next post, and the Director would be on annual leave. OEd requested CLAimDev’s support to facilitate a series of meetings to help the Education team plan for the transition, divide up work among the staff, and improve their internal collaboration to strengthen their processes and the team’s ability to work together to achieve OEd’s objectives.
The initial transition meetings led to a willingness among the OEd team to begin a more sustained engagement with CLAimDev. OEd requested CLAimDev to facilitate a series of workshops to help the Office clearly define their CLA priorities and create an action plan to implement them. During the workshops, OEd identified internal and external collaboration as a shared priority. They developed a CLA action plan for the coming year that included regular CLA action plan check-ins, holding quarterly IP meetings, co-developing the next higher education project, and actively engaging government stakeholders.
CLAimDev’s active engagement with OEd continued during the following two years, holding CLA action plan follow-up meetings quarterly and facilitating a strategic planning office retreat a year after the initial CLA priorities workshop. During the strategic planning retreat, CLAimDev facilitated OEd discussions on how to manage their relationship with their government counterparts and resources for OEd activities. OEd also discussed staff professional development and had internal discussions with Mission support offices. These regularly scheduled, intentional internal collaboration activities improved OEd internal processes, a pre-condition for CLA, and created space for OEd to focus on its programming and development outcomes.
OEd’s external collaboration with its partners and stakeholders had suffered during the pandemic. It had been two years since the office had been able to hold an IP meeting. Previously, OEd had been meeting with its partners once each year, but the pandemic paused these meetings. The Office wanted to reinvigorate and deepen its collaboration with and across its partners. Over the next year and a half, CLAimDev worked with OEd to develop interactive, thematically focused IP meetings that emphasized collaboration and learning across partners, with most of the meeting time dedicated to small group discussions of the topics. The first meetings were remote due to continuing pandemic restrictions. Gradually, as the Philippines lifted restrictions, the meetings became hybrid remote and in-person, and then fully in-person. CLAimDev’s Collaboration Space, a large, dividable conference room with capabilities for hybrid and in person meetings, made it easy for OEd to meet with its partners without the scheduling or logistics difficulties of using Mission conference room facilities. The IP meeting topics included:
- Opportunities, challenges, and pivots in implementation during COVID-19 lockdowns and movement restrictions (July 2021)
- Current efforts and challenges in gender equality, women’s empowerment, and gender-based violence and climate change resiliency (October 2021)
- Reflections and learning on disaster preparedness and response (January 2022)
- Managing the transition in national and local government leadership following the May 2022 elections (April 2022)
- Opportunities and challenges in the education sector under the new administration and fostering and deepening cross-activity collaboration to improve development outcomes (September 2022)
- Achieving 2023 results and updates from the Asia Regional Education Workshop (March 2023)Opportunities for USAID and its partners from Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM II) (June 2023)
CLAimDev also supported OEd’s efforts to increase their collaboration with their government stakeholders by presenting evidence to these stakeholders to inform their policy decisions. OEd’s higher education program, STRIDE, focused on supporting the Philippines innovation ecosystem by catalyzing collaboration among academic researchers, the private sector, and local government. Drawing on the results of CLAimDev’s final performance evaluation of STRIDE, CLAimDev and OEd government stakeholders co-developed a set of recommendations for policy and procedural changes to further incentivize innovation in the Philippines.
CLAimDev also conducted an evaluation of OEd’s flagship early grade literacy project, ABC+. The evaluation found strong evidence of the effectiveness of a literacy strategy employed by the implementing partner. OEd invited CLAimDev to present this evidence at a large workshop for DepEd officials from around the country; this led to the DepEd’s decision to scale up the literacy strategy.