The USAID initiative – Learning Group Explores the Effectiveness of Enterprises as a Conservation Strategy, received an Honorable Mention in the 2018 Case Study competition.
The team working within USAID developed a Conservation Enterprise Learning Agenda that defines a theory of change and a set of learning questions to explore key assumptions. The work included:
- synthesis of evidence from existing documentation regarding the effectiveness of conservation enterprises;
- retrospective assessment of conservation enterprise approaches that have been in place for 20 years;
- prospective to help set up monitoring, evaluation, and learning so that evidence can be generated.
The team found that examining not only “if,” but also “why” desired results are or are not achieved has led to important insights on common key assumptions in implementing conservation enterprises. The team has synthesized lessons in a readily usable way for others wishing to design and implement conservation enterprises.
The judges were impressed by the scale of this work and the potential it provides to support learning, improvement, and adaptation by any team considering conservation enterprises – a core strategy of many bilateral and multilateral conservation and community development investments. If we get this right, it has potential to directly support attainment of the SDGs.