Learning

Saferworld is committed to creating and sustaining a culture of learning. We want to create an environment where sharing learning and knowledge is a fundamental part of who we are. Our learning isn’t just about how we do things right, but also about how we do things wrong. Learning from our mistakes – and candidly talking about those mistakes – is important to help us improve our approaches and ensure we have the biggest impact for people who are affected by conflict and insecurity.

Our work

Learning from each other

Saferworld creates space and opportunities for staff to share experiences, exchange insights, strengthen their skills and use their knowledge to increase the positive difference they can make. In 2012, we started a learning and practice group for staff working with communities to improve people’s security and justice. The group promotes quality control, accountability and coherence across our programming. Discussion and learning from the group led to the production of a Community Security Handbook.

We promote learning on issues such as youth and gender, bringing together staff from different countries through remote learning spaces, like WhatsApp, to think through questions and share experiences. We also enable staff to participate in each other’s activities and review processes by supporting exchange visits between programmes.

Learning with and from our partners

We also have a lot to learn from others – our partners and networks around the world have a wide range of insight and experience that can benefit our work both individually and collaboratively. Acknowledging that we can learn from one another, and facilitating that two-way learning, is an important step in ensuring we continue to work towards promoting more equitable partnerships.

Outcomes and impact

Five years ago, we introduced a new approach to monitoring, evaluation, learning and accountability that focuses on measuring our impact. We developed an approach that looks at achievements – or ‘outcomes’ – and gets staff to come together to talk about them, learn from them and share them with other teams so that they can use them in their own programmes (see: Doing things differently). Given Saferworld’s focus on changing behaviours and relationships in conflict-affected countries through our country programmes, policy and advocacy, this ‘outcome harvesting’ approach allows us to get to the heart of what matters. It is a straightforward and accessible way of shifting attention away from activities – the ‘what did we do?’ question – and on to looking at the changes in behaviour of those we want to influence.

Our approach is participatory and inclusive. We train partners and communities to monitor changes in behaviour and relationships in their areas of work, and to come up with their own ideas for how to measure success.

Learn more about our approach to monitoring, evaluation and learning by listening to a podcast with Madeline Church, Saferworld's Head of the Organisational Development Unit. 

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Reviewing and evaluating our work

Saferworld conducts external reviews and evaluations of our work. Evaluation teams, accompanied by expert staff from other Saferworld programmes, talk to the communities, donors and partners we work with. This system of organisational learning enables Saferworld employees to absorb knowledge and learning from wider programmes, and to then apply this learning when adapting or designing other programmes. The results demonstrate an increased effectiveness in our work.

We also work with the peacebuilding community to combine our knowledge and learning. In 2017 we began a joint research programme with Conciliation Resources and International Alert  to generate knowledge, lessons and recommendations for improving peace and security interventions around the world.

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