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Strengthening Local Systems

Understanding of local actors and the complex systems in which they operate is fundamental to effective design, implementation and measurement of the success of locally-owned and led development.

Why We Do It

Results-based management approaches predominate the international development landscape, characterized by familiar logical frameworks, performance management plans, and clearly defined indicators. What do all of these things have in common? They provide the program designer / implementer with a means of bounding their activities to dynamics within a system that they can control. Most of these familiar project design and performance monitoring tools acknowledge the complexity of the systems within which they operate, typically in the form of an “Assumptions” or “Risks” column, box or narrative. However, they neither attempt nor succeed in capturing and adapting to them.

How We Do It

LINC’s complexity-aware local development practice attempts to anticipate impacts to the maximum extent possible, designing projects and portfolio strategy on the basis of local actor interests, maintaining flexibility to adapt to project success and failure, and measuring impact on the basis of outcomes. We have developed and successfully tested a suite of tools that assist donors, program implementers and local actors themselves to design effectively, adapt accordingly, and measure appropriately using systems-based approaches.

Our Tools

Systems mapping approaches orient clients and local stakeholders around a given system of interest, identify leverage points within it, set boundaries and prioritize interventions. Applied in iteration, systems mapping tools capture dynamic change, enabling donors and program implementers to calibrate interventions and understand their impact over time. Systems mapping tools utilized by LINC include Social Network Analysis, Causal Loop Diagrams and Systemigrams. Learn more.

Narrative generation approaches  convene, engage and help understand the narratives and perspectives of a wide range of local actors representing diverse interests and experiences. Narrative generation approaches oftentimes take the form of workshops staged over time with interim follow-up. Narrative approaches enable program designers, managers and evaluators to validate understandings of what is needed for systemic change, and collaborate with constituents as partners in the process. Learn more.

Our Projects

Public Service Provision Network Analysis in the DRC
Public Service Provision Network Analysis in the DRC
SPACES Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning
SPACES Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning
Sustainable WASH Systems (SWS)
Sustainable WASH Systems (SWS)
Local Systems Practice (LSP)
Local Systems Practice (LSP)

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