Resilience Learning Activity (RLA)

The Resilience Learning Activity (RLA) is an Associate Award under the Feed the Future Kenya Livestock Market Systems Activity, a Leader with Associates (LWA) contracting mechanism, held by ACDI/VOCA. This LWA enables USAID missions in the East Africa region to access specialized services. Learn more here.

Background Narrative

The Resilience Learning Activity (RLA) is a five-year, USAID/Kenya and East Africa-funded Activity under the Feed the Future Kenya Livestock Market Systems Leader with Associates (LWA), led by ACDI/VOCA. With the goal of strengthening resilience capacities and evidence-based resilience programming in the Horn of Africa, RLA supports regional, national, and local organizations and institutions in Northern Kenya, Somalia, and the Horn of Africa to undertake analysis while building their capacities for analytics, facilitating learning for adaptive management, and improving knowledge management and communications, advancing the objectives of USAID’s Journey to Self-Reliance (J2SR) and the Horn of Africa Regional Resilience Framework. RLA works closely with the Partnership for Resilience and Economic Growth (PREG), the Horn of Africa Resilience Network (HoRN), and the Somalia Resilience Partnership (SRP) to strengthen their ability to lead, manage, and advance collaboration, learning, and adapting (CLA) in resilience programming.

Led by local actors and focused on the right actors (local governments, local organizations, host country academic institutions, communities, and households), RLA is helping to lay the foundation for strengthening absorptive, adaptive, and transformative capacities of families, communities, and systems that will ultimately ensure the sustainability of resilience programming by local organizations and institutions. As local actors’ capacities for analytics, knowledge management, learning and adaptive management are strengthened and networks and systems for CLA are established, local communities and institutions will increase their resilience capacity to handle shocks and stresses.

  • Increased analytics and analytic capacity for local and host country organizations
  • Facilitated learning for adaptative management by local and host country organizations
  • Improved knowledge management and strategic communication for local and host country organizations
  • Establishing and strengthening systems and networks for CLA

Two overarching strategies successfully guide RLA programming:

  • Aligning the project with USAID’s Journey to Self-Reliance (J2SR) to advance the goal of strengthening local capacities and working with host country governments and partners to make progress toward self-reliance and locally sustained results. RLA supports partners to pivot to J2SR in their partnership work, facilitating county governments in the six PREG counties to become more engaged in the partnership with USAID, and building the capacity of local organizations through trainings, mentorship, and direct grants. 
  • Building up Collaboration, Leaning, and Adapting (CLA) as a strategy that transcends programmatic sectors, shaping RLA’s approach for building the capabilities of local facilitator organizations to strengthen adaptive management processes within local organizations.

Activities include:

  • Facilitate the development of County Resilience Profiles;
  • Following data analytics needs assessment, design capacity building training for local organizations;
  • Support GIS training at PREG county and Somalia levels;
  • Develop shared PREG indicators, measurement, and PREG learning agenda;
  • Provide PREG and SEK (Southeast Kenya Coordination Mechanism) backbone support;
  • Create a learning community bringing market system actors together, and defining a common learning agenda for implementation;
  • Facilitate the development, production, and documentation of knowledge management and communications learning products;
  • Support the operationalization of the NDMA knowledge management strategy and platform
  • The project has benefited 484 participants from county governments, private sector and local partner organizations through capacity strengthening programs, joint work planning activities, analytical technical assistance, experiential learning sessions, among others.
  • Trained County Directors of Communication in the nine target counties and journalists from local media outlets on knowledge management and strategic communication trainings.
  • Strengthened the capacities of six County governments with skills needed to achieve the Journey to Self-Reliance (J2SR) goal. The capacity building activities include technical assistance on knowledge management, data analytics trainings, targeting and layering to avoid duplication of efforts.
  • The project has trained members of six County Steering Groups, local partner organizations, and private sector players to use data analytics to influence evidence-based decisions, use of social media to effectively disseminate unbiased information.

Access the Annual Program Statement (APS): Technical and Capacity Building Grants under the Resilience Learning Activity, uploaded October 20, 2021, here.

View the “County-Owned, County-Led: Strengthening KM & Communications Capacities at County Level, Kitui County” video here, uploaded July 2021.

Access the Strengthening County Governments’ Resilience Capacities Through Knowledge Management and Strategic Communications Practices PowerPoint, July 2021.

Access the Request for Application (RFA), Strengthening Data Analytics Capacity

Access Annex I: Grant Application Form

Access Annex II: Budget Template

Access the Isiolo County Government CLA Case Story

Access the National Drought Management Authority Learning Brief

Access the Locally Led Joint Documentation Initiative

Access the Making Data Systems Work for Counties Briefer

Opening photo credit: Mark Wambui

Funder: USAID

Mike Thayer headshot

Project Director: Mike Thayer,

Project Specialist: Madelyn Dynes,

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