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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Scenario Planning for Development

CEDAR's Sustainability Framework has long talked about the importance of planning for various scenarios by taking the long view in project planning, management, and evaluation activities, reiterated again in a recent paper by Eric Sarriot et al., A causal loop analysis of the sustainability of integrated community case management in Rwanda which also studied scenarios.

As Wilson Center's New Security Beat writes in its article Scenario Planning for Development: It's About Time, "scenario planning systematically looks at existing and emerging trends and their plausible - though sometimes unlikely - combinations in order to reduce risk. It's an exercise that does not produce single point predictions, but examines a range of possible situations to help prepare for the unexpected."

It's interesting, and heartening, to see USAID changing its approach to development over the last few years by incorporating longer term goals, "adaptive programming" to better respond to external influences such as natural disasters, disease outbreaks, or shifts in governance structures, and increasing focus on "exit pathways". New Security Beat writes of these adaptive approaches that are increasingly embraced, in line with and in response to the rise in uncertainty, preparedness/response shortfalls, and growing complexity. This indeed seems a direction to impact development work for years to come.

Read more about scenario planning and its increasing use by USAID here.

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