Accelerating change through Knowledge

Accelerating change through Knowledge

Accelerating change through knowledge-building and sharing emanates from CARE India’s Strategic Programming Framework which has a clear focus, commitment and impetus needed to facilitate CARE India’s transition into a knowledge organisation. The Strategic Programming Framework shapes CARE India’s direction with two Long Term Programmes focused on the most marginalised women and girls from Dalit and Adivasi communities.

The journey began with CARE India re-thinking the organisation’s priorities towards the kind of knowledge it wants to create; the impact it wants to see among the Dalit and Adivasi communities; forms of utilisation of the knowledge in the organisation, and embedding a learning culture. In this respect, CARE India’s on-ground programmes were identified as the appropriate arenas for learning and knowledge-building.

Going forward, the organisation evolved a four-dimensional architecture to address the varied aspects of Knowledge Management, Impact Monitoring and Learning (KMIML). The KMIML architecture provides the framework for CARE India’s vision of becoming a knowledge organisation.

KMIML has four dimensions envisaged to facilitate the shift towards building a learning organisation.

Measuring Quality, Performance and Progress: Acceleration of change through knowledge includes monitoring the organisation’s performance by reviewing programme quality, accountability and feedback mechanisms. CARE India’s system of review on programme quality and performance of projects through the Programme Quality and Performance Assessment Tool (PQPAT) has led to an overall improvement in programme quality within the organisation. The process of examining a project’s progress is periodically examined to ensure alignment with the organisation’s Strategic Programming Framework.

The overall data is collected, studied and shared through this architecture, which has helped in providing regular insights and analysis on organisational level performance.

Impact Monitoring and Sense Making: Every project is guided by a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) plan which includes an assessment of the impact and outcomes.

During its transition into a knowledge organisation, among the key steps that CARE India took were to test the theories of change, best approaches, flagship strategies amongst other aspects. Few projects initiated special studies with a focused learning agenda, assessment of strategies and methods that may or may not have worked.

The organisation routinely undertakes researches to establish if innovative approaches have led to desired results. Added emphasis is also given on evaluation through randomised control trials, video documentation of stories of change, progress markers and mobile-based application of real-time monitoring. CARE India has also developed policies on evaluation and measurement strategies to support the generation of knowledge around impact. At CARE India, understanding the impact is pursued with increased attention to hold accountability to results, learning to improve quality of work, and facilitating evidence-based advocacy.

Knowledge sharing culture: The next stage in the KMIML process is the adoption of a knowledge-sharing culture and promoting capacity, within the organisation and among its partners.

In FY 2015-16, CARE India pursued numerous measures to advance the organisational learning culture. To strengthen learning and reflection, the organisation took steps to create an enabling environment, by creating structures for reflection called Hub platforms (project clusters in our Adivasi and Dalit programme Hubs). Project-based review meetings further added to the continuous reflection process.

The reflection forum met each quarter to learn from the experiences of internal teams and external resources. This has led to a process of mutual learning within the organisation. These learning platforms have led to increased connectedness, inclusiveness, opportunities to learn and contribute, and promotion of leadership within teams.

Knowledge Management Impact Monitoring and Learning Architecture

Knowledge Management: This stage focuses on proper archiving, retrieving and large-scale sharing of knowledge products across projects and initiatives. Employing appropriate communication channels and platforms is pivotal in knowledge management.

Knowledge sharing and dissemination had been embedded as a key strategy in project management. Towards multiplying impact, CARE India strived towards scaling up of successful practices into the existing government systems across education, health and livelihood sectors.

By disseminating knowledge generated through national and state level conferences, policy dialogues and consultation, media and other communication channels, CARE India contributed to the acceleration of the change making process.

Knowledge and Learning Themes: These are themes around which CARE India intends to initiate research for finding solutions to the yet unaddressed questions rooted in the theory of change of long-term programmes. These are areas of inquiry that aim to generate knowledge for improving the quality of programmes or evidence for advocacy and policy influence.

CARE India does this by testing the theory of change and examining the evidence from a range of indicators. Through the approaches mentioned above, CARE India is constantly learning and evolving to become a knowledge organisation.