In every development initiative, we need to put in place systems and processes that will enable us to make the right decisions within a particular context. At the beginning of the initiative, we draw on various methodologies and approaches (such as the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) or Participatory Rural Appraisals (PRAs) to develop an in-depth understanding of a situation. We use this understanding to articulate our collective beliefs or theories on how change occurs within the particular situation. We agree on our vision for the future and identify and prioritize problems and opportunities (using tools such as problem trees or conceptual modeling). Finally, we develop and map out strategies most appropriate to contribute to our future vision or overall goals (using tools such as causal mapping or output-impact chains).

Strategic guidance is also about being able to adapt and react quickly to change our strategies as needs arise. The world we engage in is rarely static and none of our interventions occur in a vacuum. The change we seek to bring about today is influenced by yesterday’s events, which include those that we influence and those that are outside of our control throughout the course of implementation. We also need to bear in mind that as we implement, we gain experiences and learn lessons. These experiences and lessons can change the way in which we view things over time and therefore the decisions that we make.  We therefore need to be able to regularly use information and data and understand changes and dynamics taking place and adapt our strategic plans based on these insights.

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