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.
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.
Five years ago, we introduced a new approach to monitoring, evaluation, learning and accountability that focuses on our impact. We developed an outcome monitoring and harvesting approach which enables our teams to gather outcomes, discuss them, learn from them, share them with other programmes and adapt their own programmes in the light of them (see: Doing things differently). Given Saferworld’s primary focus on behaviour and relationship change in complex contexts – by and between social actors, working through on-the-ground programming, policy and advocacy – outcome harvesting offers a way for us to get to the heart of what matters. It particularly appeals as a straightforward and easy-to-understand way of shifting attention away from activities (what did we do?), onto the practical, observable shifts in actions by the actors our programmes are seeking to influence (what did they do differently?).
Our approach is participatory and inclusive. We train partners and communities as part of joint programmes to monitor behaviour and relationship changes in their environments, and identify their own indicators of success.
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.