New USAID Biodiversity Programming How-To Guides

The USAID E3/Forestry and Biodiversity Office has released three USAID Biodiversity Programming How-To Guides: 1) Developing Situation Models; 2) Using Results Chains to Depict Theories of Change; and 3) Defining Outcomes and Indicators for Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning. These How-To Guides provide in-depth guidance on key tools and practices to support teams (USAID and Implementing Partners) as they design and manage biodiversity programs within USAID’s Program Cycle and in accordance with the Agency’s Biodiversity Policy. The methodology described throughout these three How-To Guides is based on the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation

1)    The first how-to guide focuses on how to develop situation models (aka conceptual models) to map out the biodiversity conservation problem context to be addressed.

2)    The second how-to guide on results chains builds off the situation model guide. It helps design teams clearly depict the program’s theory of change by using results chains as a logic model that focuses on expected results and the programmatic assumptions behind proposed strategic approaches.

3)    The third how-to guide on defining outcomes and indicators for monitoring, evaluation, and learning uses the results chains developed in the second guide. It provides help identifying key results for developing outcome statements and indicators. It also highlights the usefulness of results chains to support program evaluations and learning at and across USAID activity, project and CDCS levels.

The focus of these How-To Guides is on biodiversity programming, but the concepts, practices, and tools described in these How-To Guides can and have been used in programming of other development sectors, as was in integrated (multi-sector) programming. These guides are aligned with and supportive of the new USAID Program Cycle Operational Policy (ADS 201) released on September 7th.  Though TOC are now required by the ADS 201 for all programming, results chains are just one of the logic model options planning teams have to depict the TOC.  In the context of biodiversity programming within USAID, methodology is not itself required, but highly recommended.