A “Good Enough” Learning Agenda Pilot

Issuance date: February 13, 2017

Deadline to submit applications: March 2, 2017 at 11:59 PM EDT

Submission: electronic, to .

Deadline for questions: February 15, 2017, 11:59pm EDT. Questions should be submitted to

Estimated grant size: $25,000, and 40-60 hours of technical assistance depending on the scope and size of the project.

Grant period: Three (3) to Five (5) months.

Cost-share: No cost share is required.

Estimated total number of awards: Five (5). The number of awards is subject to available funding and the average size of awards made.

Start Dates: Between March and May 2017

Eligibility Criteria: Applicants must be:

A CARE Country Office or Regional Office(program and advocacy pilots are eligible)

Available to dedicate staff to this project during the allotted time period

Country Offices that have limited current investment or capacity for learning will be prioritized.

In an organization with the programming scope and complexity of CARE, there’s no shortage of things to learn about. But what topics are you really interested in? What are the piercing questions whose answers could change the way you design and implement key programs, write proposals and manage the existing portfolio? And how do the different topics you are learning about fit together? This “good enough” learning pilot aims to do three things:

  1. Give country and sub-regional offices the space to think about their own learning questions (as distinct from donor-driven or organization-wide learning mandates).
  2. Organize disparate pieces of data and research within coherent learning themes or questions, resulting in country/sub-regional-level, rather than program-level learning priorities.
  3. Strengthen systems and processes for learning

Why “Good Enough?” Because while time and effort is required for this pilot, we believe that organizational learning does not have to be daunting or complex. Though the resources provided may not suffice to answer all your learning questions, we believe they will get you off to a good start. Why participate? Perhaps your office does not have coherent practices around organizational learning and needs to get on that first rung of the ladder. Perhaps your office does but needs that extra boost to keep climbing. Either way, with support and resources from HQ, we anticipate that countries or sub-regions undertaking this pilot will:

a)Gain a much clearer understanding of their current knowledge base and areas where additional research is needed and gain a much clearer understanding of how to develop and execute research and learning questions based on existing information.

b)Gain answers that will cause them to re-evaluate and change certain aspects of programming, and fundraising.

c)Better understand what resources and systems are needed to support learning efforts over the long-term.


Each pilot participant will receive (up to five pilot participant teams will be selected):

  1. $25,000 to define learning questions and execute a plan to answer these cross-cutting questions of interest (see the five steps listed below). This can be used on staffing, consultants, workshops, travel, software or a combination of these. Supplementing with additional resources is encouraged.
  2. 40-60 hours of time from the Multiplying Impact Team, potentially inclusive of a field visit. This can be at the outset, to help define learning questions and a research process, in the middle, to advise on data analysis, or towards the end, to facilitate the reflection on the findings and the next steps.
  3. Quantitative data analysis assistance as needed and when available.
  4. A file of relevant peer-reviewed journal articles.
  5. Links to consultants.
  6. A starter packet including templates for listing learning questions, organizing data sources, estimating staffing and time needs, an expenditure report and a checklist for transitioning beyond the learning pilot.


Here are the steps to the pilot:

Create a cross-functional team who will support and participate in this learning pilot. Discuss the roles and responsibilities of team members who will participate in this process from project management to participating in analyzing and making sense of the data.

Define learning questions. Define 1-3 questions at country-office/sub-regional office level you’d really like to answer because answering these would make a big difference to CARE’s work in this office. At least one question should be broadly relevant across the office’s portfolio.

Questions may fall into the following categories:

a)A key assumption that needs to be re-examined. For example:

  • Are different strategies or approaches to women’s and girl’s empowerment more effective than others for specific programs?
  • Is our work in changing social norms having the desired multiplier effect at outcome level?

b)A piece of formative research to frame a larger research study. For example:

  • What are the key challenges refugee women face in learning new trades?
  • What are the necessary conditions for self-help groups to keep functioning after the close of a project?
  • Do we know if beneficiaries that we have targeted across programs are actually benefitting over time (e.g. why are SHOUHARDO 1 and SHOUHARDO 3 villages the same after 10 years)?

c)An area where deepening of expertise is needed because it is highly relevant to your mission or strategy. For example:

  • What have we learned to date from our work engaging men and boys?
  • Have our advocacy efforts changed over time? What strategies have become more successful? Why?
  • What capacity building efforts for local partners have proven to be successful?
  • What are the primary difficulties we’ve faced in scaling up pilots?

d)An investigation of puzzling research findings

  • Why are there worse educational outcomes with female teachers than male teachers?
  • Why has there been regression to unfavorable gender norms between mid-line and end-line evaluation?

Identify existing data sources. Identify what existing data is available to answer these questions. This should start with what is already available at country office level from existing projects, programs and initiatives, including reports, case studies, human interest stories, monitoring and evaluation data, PIIRS data, etc. Additional, data sources can also be taken into account such as field staff perspectives as they can provide rich first-hand and contextual information. The desk review should also be broadened beyond CARE for relevant data elsewhere. If the existing data does not sufficiently address the learning question, the next step would be to identify what additional primary data collection might be needed. This might take the form of a focus group discussion, a survey, social network analysis, case studies, etc.

Work together to create an analysis plan. This can be done in-house or outsourced. Support will be provided by HQ to think through and execute an analysis plan including templates for analysis and reporting. Pilot teams must be clear on what format the data analysis is expected in for key audiences, e.g. What tables and graphs are needed to present and organize the data? What length reports and how should they be structured? What briefs, PowerPoints, infographics or other communications products are needed?

Set up sensemaking sessions to reflect on the findings and identify key actions to be taken as a result of the findings.Teams from across the office should convene to discuss, reflect on and make sense of the findings. At this point, they will evaluate to what extent they have an answer to the learning question(s).The sensemaking discussion should transition to the implications of this new knowledge for programming, advocacy, operations, fundraising, etc.

In addition, offices are encouraged to reflect on this process as a whole to identify practices that could be adopted or adapted in current programming or to address future learning questions.


Participating main pilot offices agree to:

  • Engage in a kick-off meeting or call with the Multiplying Impact/RIEL team/s to refine learning questions and create a work plan (including a timeline and list of resources needed).
  • Conduct steps 1-5 and provide supporting documentation.
  • Provide a letter of support from CO leadership and participating staff and how they will be involved and/or support the process
  • Participate in monitoring and evaluation surveys or interviews associated with the pilot.
  • Document your project methods
  • Provide reflections on the lessons learned answering the following questions:
  • Why did your team decide to participate in this process? What were the incentives to do it?
  • What were the challenges to having a learning/reflection process?
  • What did you do to overcome the challenges?
  • What would have made this easier for your team?
  • What does your team plan to do with the findings from this initiative? Who will you share them with? How will they impact your work?
  • What systems are you using for archiving, sharing, and building on these findings?
  • How will the reflection process change your work? Is it something you will build on or continue?
  • Write a report and a brief presenting your findings and identify audiences to disseminate findings
  • Agree to be interviewed for a blog entry, video or brown bag panel at the end of the process.
  • Provide a brief expenditure report at the end of the pilot.


The learning pilots will be conducted between March and end of June 2017 with most expected to begin in February. Some offices may choose to carry out the process swiftly—within a month or two, start to finish—while others may spread out the steps over several months. All pilot activities must be concluded by June 30.

How to Apply

Fill out the application form and submit no later than March 2nd, 2017

Application Form

Country/Sub-regional office:

Person filling this form:


Anticipated timeline/duration of project:

  1. List three concrete ways in which you expect your office to benefit from this pilot. For example, how will you use these findings to inform future planning/implementation in your office?

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  1. List up to three potential learning questions and explain why each is important. Estimate the amount of time it will take your team to complete the steps noted in the document above for each learning question.

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  1. Is at least one potential learning question broadly applicable across your portfolio (that is, not project or program specific)? Please provide responses to one or more of the following:
  2. How does your learning question align with your Country Office program strategy?
  3. How is gender integrated into the learning questions?
  4. How is advocacy integrated into the learning questions?

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  1. Provide a tentative list of existing data sources that could be used to answer your learning question(s). Please describe the availability and quality of data available (for example, which format is the data in, do you have access to the raw data files?).

Data Source / Format (e.g., Excel, SPSS, etc.) / Access to raw data? (Y/N) / Describe the quality of data available / How do you plan to use this data source?
  1. Which steps in the pilot process would you like to receive additional support to complete by HQ or by consultants (for example, refining the learning questions, compiling data sources, developing an analysis plan)?

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  1. This pilot will require a point person to dedicate at least 20% of their time for the duration of the pilot. Please confirm the availability of at least one focal point for the pilot and team members and complete the table below. The roles on the project could include the following: project manager, data analyst, monitoring and evaluation, knowledge management). Please submit the resumes/CVs of your team.

Name / E-mail address / Title / Role on Project / % time on project
Focal Point / Click here to enter text. / Click here to enter text. / Click here to enter text. / Click here to enter text. / Click here to enter text. /
Team Member / Click here to enter text. / Click here to enter text. / Click here to enter text. / Click here to enter text. / Click here to enter text. /
Team Member / Click here to enter text. / Click here to enter text. / Click here to enter text. / Click here to enter text. / Click here to enter text. /
Team Member / Click here to enter text. / Click here to enter text. / Click here to enter text. / Click here to enter text. / Click here to enter text. /
  1. Describe a few steps that senior leadership in your office will take to promote and support the execution of this pilot.

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