Report on the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Scaling Up Community of Practice

The Executive Committee (ExCom) of the Scaling Up CoP met on 2 November 2020. Key actions agreed were as follows:  

Take-aways from the 5th Workshop

  • Summaries from the 12 sessions are included in this Newsletter. The ExCom chairs will prepare a blog with a synthesis of concrete lessons.
  • Cross-cutting issues are critical. Adaptive management, fragile states, M&E were hot-button issues.
  • A subcommittee of the ExCom will explore how best to extract cross-cutting key issues from the Workshop for further review and exploration in the CoP.

CoP focus/management

  • The CoP, under the leadership of the ExCom, will
    • develop a mission statement and a statement of agreed principles/call to action for the CoP Website and for use by individual members;
    • maintain its “organic” structure; WGs will follow their own modalities as appropriate;
    • look to expand its fundraising;
    • help scaling newcomers come up to speed with appropriate learning events and tools;
    • explore the possibility of developing CoP knowledge products.
  • A subcommittee of the ExCom will follow-up on website and social media issues.

Launch of the CoP Website!!!!

The official website for our Community of Practice went live at noon on October 30th, 2020.

In addition to a landing page with details about the CoP, its activities, and its events, it includes dedicated pages for each of the CoP’s nine Working Groups.

It includes archives of all past Newsletters and events including recordings of all 12 sessions of recently-completed 5th Annual Workshop; allows for event and information posting from all CoP participants; and includes functionality for new members to register for the CoP and for its Working Groups.

Each Working Group page also includes a repository of archived and contributed materials from members curated by the Co-Chairs of that Working Group.

In the future, we hope to add a separate section for job postings which can, until that time, be included along with other event and information postings.

We also plan to encourage members to use #scalingCoP as a Twitter hashtag for items likely to be of interest to the scaling community.

Any questions or comments about the website can be directed to

Working Groups of the Scaling Up Community of Practice

The CoP hosts nine working groups (WGs). These are listed below with the names and e-mail addresses of the chairpersons. For more information on the agenda of each working group and on how to join and contribute to a working group, please visit the CoP Website ( or contact the respective chairperson(s). You can also reach out to Larry ( or Johannes ( Future plans for individual WGs are included in the reports on the WG sessions at the 5th Workshop of our CoP. We have included a detailed report of the Agriculture and Rural Development WG under the Member News section of this Newsletter, since it has been particularly active in recent months.

Working Group topicWorking Group coordinators
EducationNitika Tolani (MSI)

Jenny Perlman Robinson (Brookings)
Fragile StatesJonathan Papoulidis (WorldVision)

Robert S Chare (World Bank)
Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD)Frank Place (IFPRI)

Lennart Woltering (CIMMYT)

Mark Huisinga (USAID)
Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)Larry Cooley (MSI)

John Floretta (J-PAL)
HealthLaura J. Ghiron (ExpandNet and Evidence to Action Project)

Ruth Simmons (ExpandNet)
Social Enterprise InnovationIsabel Guerrero (IMAGO)

Elain Tinsley (World Bank)

Join the Social Enterprise Scaling Up WG on LinkedIn. This is our networking space and we are looking forward to your contribution sharing interesting ideas, initiatives and opportunities for the development of Social Enterprises.
Youth EmploymentElizabeth Vance (International Youth Foundation)

Hisham Jabi (Consultant, World Bank)

Jessica Ngo (MSI)
NutritionChytanya Kompala (Eleanor Crook Foundation)

Dylan Walters (Nutrition International)
Climate ChangeGeorge Zedginize (Green Climate Fund)

Amar Bhattacharya (Brookings)

Report on the 5th Annual Workshop of the CoP

Our 5th Annual Workshop featured three plenary sessions and nine working group sessions, one for each of our nine working groups. The main takeaways from the 12 two-hour sessions of this Workshop are summarized below, as provided by the session moderators and/or working group chairs.

Plenary Session 1

Implications of COVID for Scaling Strategies and Pathways

(with panelists provided by the CoP Working Groups on Education, Health, and Agriculture & Rural Development)


  • Johannes Linn, Non-Resident Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution


  • Sada Danmusa, CEO at MidSpace Concepts
  • Julie Howard, Senior Advisor in the Global Food Security Program at Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Jenny Perlman Robinson, Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution
  • Edward Mabaya, Associate Director at Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development
  • Sara Ruto, CEO at People’s Action for Learning
  • Rebecka Lundgren, Center for Gender Equity and Health at University of California at San Diego and Director of Passages


  • The scale of COVID impact is global, regional, national, and local. It’s scale is massive and requires a response that systematically addresses the implications of building back better at scale, applying the scaling lessons from the past, and learning the lessons from today’s.
  • Most scaling requires a cross-sectoral perspective and cross-agency cooperation, which is not easy, but critical; perhaps we can learn from the crisis to apply such an approach postcrisis. This also provides added justification to the cross-cutting focus of the Community of Practice.
  • In many cases, responses to the crisis have involved increased openness by traditionally closed bureaucratic processes by bringing together multiple actors (government, civil society, private sector, etc.). Perhaps ironically, this has not adequately served to support the most vulnerable.
  • The crisis demonstrates the importance of a flexible, agile, adaptive responses, and these features will be more increasingly important in the future as we face climate change, pandemics, financial and political shocks.
  • The following cross-cutting issues, highlighted by the pandemic, deserve priority attention in the context of the crisis and beyond:
    • Women, children, the poor, and those with disabilities are the most affected by health and economic shocks and least resilient in terms of their ability to absorb those shocks.
    • Digitalization has shown great potential as a solution across sectors, and there are numerous lessons to be learned, including the importance of providing everyone easy and low-cost access to broadband connectivity. There are also downside risks to digitalization that need to be managed.
    • The role of the private sector including small business is central to crisis response and recovery, especially its implications for agricultural and health value chains.
    • The role of effective governments has been shown to be critical in the crisis response, but with the inevitable fiscal crunch there are very severe tradeoffs in allocating reduced budgets to priority programs. Processes for public expenditure decision making that consider the tradeoffs carefully will be required, but too often are not in place.
    • The international community/donors will have a great responsibility and opportunity to support developing countries in responding to the crisis by relieving some of the fiscal/financial pressures, by assuring access to needed resources (e.g., vaccines, food), and by offering international best practices in support of local responses.

Plenary Session 2

The Role of Political Consensus and Shifting Global Narratives in Scaling

(with panelists provided by the CoP Working Groups on Nutrition, Climate Change, and Youth Employment)


  • Isabel Guerrero, Executive Director at IMAGO Global Grassroots


  • Amar Bhattacharya, Senior Fellow at the Global Economy and Development Program at Brookings Institution
  • Hisham Jabi, Consultant, World Bank
  • Cheick Oumar Doumbia, Ambassador, One Young World
  • Jeremy Shoham, Co-founder and Partner, N4D


The session covered what movement-building means for scaling up climate change, youth employment and nutrition.  

  1. How has the global narrative shifted and what role do social movements play in shaping the policy agenda?
    • Climate change: The scale and urgency of climate change are central features of the movement. Despite the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement, milestone commitments were made by China and other intergovernmental organizations, including important subnational actors like cities; and the private sector is often ahead of governments. Huge numbers of global citizens are bringing tremendous energy to the effort, particularly young people.
    • Nutrition is an invisible problem. Key decision makers do not witness the malnutrition occurring in their countries. The nutrition scaling up movement has adopted a multisector approach to advocacy with broad, county-specific coalitions of champions that include government, donors, INGOs, local civil society, and the private sector. Although the work over the last 10 years has significantly enhanced receptivity to change, many countries still lack good monitoring of what is happening on the ground and progress has been slow in conflict countries.
    • Youth employment: Technology disruptions put youth employment on the agenda, as have recent political movements, starting with the Arab Spring. Many countries are facing crises of youth unemployment and few of the current interventions are scalable.    Changing cultural norms and establishing a political consensus are of utmost importance.  Change needs to acknowledge the underlying passion by youth for respect as well as income, and to recognize the special challenges of reaching the last mile.
  1. How has the COVID crisis affected these sectors?
    • Most training organizations and employers had to pivot sharply in response to the ongoing COVID crisis.
    • Climate: Beyond the emergency, we need to focus on recovery and transformation, especially the implications for investment policy, finance, and the international aid architecture.
    • Nutrition: Donors who finance nutrition have been less able to directly access the affected populations and needed to rely more on local societies and organizations. This may be an opportunity localize the agenda.
    • Youth Employment: There is no better time than now for young people to raise their voices and exercise leadership. The role of political leadership starts in legitimizing change.
    • Social Enterprise: There are numerous examples of social enterprises that stepped up to address this urgent humanitarian crisis, building on their ability to pivot and the trust that they had with their communities.

Plenary Session 3

Adaptive Management as a Centerpiece of Effective Scaling

(with panelists provided by the CoP Working Groups on M&E, Fragile States, and Social Enterprise)


  • Larry Cooley, Founder and President Emeritus at Management Systems International


  • Michelle Adams-Matson, Practice Area Leader for Strategy, Evaluation and Analysis at Management Systems International
  • Adanma Abalunam, Engagement Director at Busara Center for Behavioral Economics
  • Rob Chase, Practice Manager for Social Protection and Jobs at World Bank
  • Nedjma Koval-Saifi, Founder of Integrated International
  • Alastair McKechnie, Senior Research Associate at Overseas Development Institute
  • Elaine Tinsley, Private Sector Specialist, World Bank


  • Scaling is typically lengthy, complex, and context-dependent, and therefore depends for its success on a capacity and willingness to adapt interventions and scaling strategies over time. This need has been clear for some time, but there continue to be relatively few good examples.
  • The problem is no longer the capacity to generate, analyze or share the information needed to track implementation and effectiveness. We used to rely on annual reports and episodic evaluations, and on small groups of decision-makers.  Now, we have the ability to collect, compile and use the same kinds of information – and more — in real time and to engage more inclusive groups of stakeholders in that process.
  • The biggest remaining impediments are institutional incentives and legacy systems – especially those associated with accountability.
  • Adaptation implies “discretion” – entrusting someone with the power to authorize change from the original plan. Institutions with stewardship over public funds are very reluctant to yield or delegate that authority, or to acknowledge unpredictability. That means that when organizations talk about CLA – collaboration, learning, and adaptation – the C and the L are typically way ahead of the A.
  • Some of the most significant examples of adaptive management come from programing in fragile states and responses to the recent COVID experience — circumstances defined in part by hyper-uncertainty. Given no alternative, donors and implementing partners in these situations have found innovative ways to marry responsible stewardship with adaptation.  There is no reason in principle why these same lessons cannot be applied to scaling in what some might call “mainstream” development assistance.
  • Concrete actions to advance the use of adaptive management for scaling include:
    • Weigh the risk of misuse of funds against the risk of failure to make needed changes;
    • Broaden the concept of “accountability” to focus on accountability to beneficiaries and link it to broader stakeholder engagement in overseeing program implementation;
    • Reorient M&E systems to focus on real time data, short learning cycles, multi-source evidence, local audiences, iterative learning, and decision support;
    • Substantially increase the investment in public engagement and communications.

Working Group Session 1

Agriculture & Rural Development

Moderators and panelists:

  • Lennart Woltering, Scaling Catalyst, CIMMYT
  • Mark Huisenga, Agricultural Specialist, USAID/RFS
  • Frank Place, Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets, IFPRI
  • Maria del Refugio, Scaling Coordinator, CIMMYT
  • Vanessa Adams, Vice President Strategic Partnerships, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
  • Jonathan Thomas, Chief of Party, Alliance for Inclusive and Nutritious Food
  • Brent Wibberley, Director, Food Processing & Nutrition, TechnoServe
  • Benjamin K. Addom, Senior Program Manager, Digital Agricultural Development, Wageningen University and Research the Netherlands
  • Cristina Manfre, Global Gender Director, TechnoServe
  • Tom Reardon, Professor, Michigan State University


  • Designing for scale is different than designing for pilots. Cost and pricing are significant to understand (for example, price per ton and getting a higher tonnage is critical in processing efficiencies). Balancing the carbon equation between food and agriculture is challenging. The SDG objectives are very far out of reach right now.
  • The potential for digital in agriculture is huge. We are not harnessing the full impact of this is because we are not yet taking a good approach to the use of digital technologies for small farmers. The good news is that the interest and application of digital solutions has taken flight during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is accompanied by a rise in the number of digital entrepreneurs, and their solutions, that support small scale farmers in Africa. Key focal areas are Advisory Services, Financial Access, Market Linkages, Trade and Supply Chain, and Macro Agri-policy.
  • Moving from piloting to scale is a big problem for digital entrepreneurs as well as how to move beyond the number of downloads to number of engaged users. Although tempting to focus on the attractive new apps and solutions, considerable work needs to be done in improving the enabling environment for the large-scale uptake of a range of digital innovations, starting with road and network infrastructure. Also, it is important to take concerted actions to prevent the digital divide from growing larger.
  • When we’re looking at opportunities to scale, there are big differences between women and men that must be kept in mind. Underlying inequalities exacerbate the impact of emergencies on women and men.
  • There are two different ways of scaling SMEs. First, autonomous rapid and successful (estimated 800% growth in past 3 decades) scaling in “spontaneous clusters” in the “hidden middle” ( SMEs were spreading and growing individually under their own power, no NGOs, no donors, no government, no loans. The key issue is recognizing where this is already bubbling up and supporting that process by bringing enabling factors to bear. The second way of scaling is where donors, governments, NGOs etc. introduce an innovation and want it to go viral. Then the issue is not so much broad public policy and investments as figuring out what accompanying actions are needed for specific interventions to take root. Where possible, we should opt for the first of these strategies by helping clusters that are taking off on their own because of strong demand but may need some obstacles removed to help them fly higher.

Working Group Session 2


Moderators and panelists:

  • Nitika Tolani, Technical Director at MSI
  • Jenny Perlman Robinson, Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution
  • Victoria Tinio, Executive Director, FIT-ED
  • Ndondo Koolese, Director of Basic Education, Botswana Ministry of Basic Education
  • Molly Curtiss, Senior Research Analyst, Brookings Institution
  • Nina Weisenhorn, International Education Specialist, USAID
  • Ian Robert Georges Macpherson, Lead for Knowledge and Innovation Exchange, GPE Secretariat


  • The significant challenges and devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s learning and well-being have been a primary focus of many over the past months. While the immediate and longer-term repercussions should not be minimized, there are also examples emerging about ways in which the current pandemic may be presenting new opportunities for scaling or even accelerating scaling impact in education.
  • While it’s impossible to overstate the enormity of the challenges faced, we also know that real, large-scale change can occur during crises when society is more willing to accept systemic and deep structural changes. The Panel discussion of these opportunities built on the cross-cutting plenary discussions that took place the week prior on “Implications of COVID for Scaling Strategies and Pathways” and “Adaptive Management as a Centerpiece of Effective Scaling,” but with a central focus on issues particular to the education sector.
  • Key points emerging from the fireside chat and panel discussion include:
    • The importance of harnessing the power of inclusive partnerships to respond quickly to crises such as COVID-19 and act boldly in response, making use of global and regional coordination but ensuring the response remains country-led and focused at the systems level.
    • The importance of learning from what is being tried, studying what works and does not work at large-scale, in order to build the evidence base and prepare for future disruptions to children’s learning.
    • The need to break down siloes and work across sectors, given the reinforcing role that resilient education can play in improving life and societal outcomes, such as in health, nutrition, and economic development, which in turn support education outcomes. There is a huge opportunity to broaden the safety net, for example so families don’t need to choose between feeding their family or sending their children to school.
    • Context is king, and there will not be one silver bullet for how to respond to crises and continue learning opportunities across all countries. For example, how scaling is managed in a centralized system is likely to differ substantially from how it is managed in a decentralized system, as illustrated by the rollout of interventions such as the Teacher Professional Development program in the Philippines.
    • A multi-faceted approach is often needed when trying to reach all children.  For example, in Botswana, the government’s response required a multi-tiered approach of radio, television, internet, telephone, partnerships with parents and local NGOs, employing more teachers and health and safety officers, etc.
    • Accelerated and remedial education approaches have never been more important.
    • Investments in knowledge management, gathering existing resources and research and making it freely available, can help ensure that lessons learned from shocks or crises are not lost.
  • Based on a poll of members of the Education Working Group on priority topics to focus on in the year ahead, and taking into account issues already identified and discussed, members selected the following four issues of interest, which will serve as the focus for the next three discussions in 2021. Exact format, agenda and dates are forthcoming, with an initial event planned for end of January/early February:
    • Longer term tracking and assessment of pivots and adaptations as a result of COVID-19, serving as a follow up to the April 2020 Education Working Group meeting;
    • Scaling ed tech and last mile challenges (reaching those most marginalized and left behind);
    • Collecting, analyzing and using cost data to inform scaling; and
    • Global mapping of research and learning initiatives related to scaling and systems change and transformation.

Working Group Session 3


Moderators and panelists:

  • Ruth Simmons, Professor Emerita, University of Michigan School of Public Health
  • Laura Ghiron, President of Partners in Expanding Health Quality and Access
  • Jim Ricca, Director of Adaptive Management, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning, Jhpiego and MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership Program
  • Stephen Hodgins, Associate Professor, Global Health, School of Public Health, University of Alberta Editor in Chief, Global Health Science and Practice


  • Most global health work is confined to particular technical areas and often to a limited set of interventions or approaches. While this focus has been valuable in contributing to at-scale population-wide impacts, there are potential costs to a narrow focus including the risk that the program initiative may monopolize resources and attention within the system.
  • For a variety of reasons, those working with donor-funded technical assistance programs tend to be incentivized to focus on the intervention or the innovation. One reason is that donors often value innovation more than scaling up proven interventions. Associated with this intervention or innovation focus, we are also incentivized to emphasize issues related to piloting, advocating for adoption, and supporting the inception process. We tend to give less attention to issues of ongoing effective delivery, program performance, and institutionalization. What one can refer to as the ‘middle piece’ includes proof of scale piloting and ongoing iterative adaptation as new interventions and programs are progressively mainstreamed. Also included is continued vigilance ensuring robust delivery and sound program performance measured particularly in effective and sustained population coverage.
  • There also tends to be disproportionate attention paid to the content of an intervention and insufficient attention to the delivery vehicle, which is typically responsible for delivering lots of content beyond the specific packages that we’re focusing on. At the same time, we now have prominent leaders in global health promoting a vision of universal health coverage which lacks a clear focus on the delivery of specific effective interventions at high population coverage. Instead the focus tends to be on financial risk pooling and expanding the package of covered services. However, attaining and maintaining high population coverage of key interventions targeting the highest disease burden conditions needs to be understood as integral to universal health coverage.
  • It can be challenging to assess a program objectively and recognize when it is not delivering desirable results. We must structure our efforts in a way where there is an opportunity to step back and do serious reflection so that there is the possibility of changing course.
  • A couple of lessons on M&E: (a) While the randomized controlled trial is the gold standard for small, controlled studies at the proof of concept stage, they are less practical or appropriate as we go to scale. (b) At a project level, we often have complex M&E systems. As we move to scale, this is no longer practical. We need to embed the information within the health information systems.
  • The resource team or the technical work group needs to have one foot in and one foot out of the Ministry of Health structure. It’s not so much a discrete team as it is embedded within the overall structure of the Ministry at the local, district, and national levels, while still receiving inputs from others (donors, technical agencies).
  • Make sure the policy environment really is supportive before making a ‘go decision.’
  • We come together as a community of practices because: 1) we learn from each other; and 2) together we have a stronger voice and greater influence.
  • Much of scale-up knowledge is transferable across sectors as we learn by analogy and from experiences, challenges, and responses in other sectors.
  • This working group is entering a new stage of evolution. Through September 2020 the group was jointly led by the Evidence to Action Project and ExpandNet, primarily focused on the field of family planning/reproductive health. However, beginning at the CoP’s 2020 annual meeting, the group’s focus is being broadened to incorporate all technical areas of global public health, under ExpandNet’s leadership. Over the coming year the working group will organize webinars to share important scale up learning with the community. All who wish to join the exchange on critical topics of scale up are welcome. Sign up by sending an email to Laura J. Ghiron at and share the news of this opportunity with interested colleagues!

Working Group Session 4

Youth Employment

Moderators and panelists:

  • Elizabeth Vance, Program Director, Systems Change for Workforce Development, International Youth Foundation
  • Hisham Jabi, Consultant, World Bank
  • Wendy Cunningham, World Bank
  • Lisa Corsetto, Policy Manager, J-PAL
  • Katherine Kelley, Generation


  • Challenges to scaling youth employment solutions:
    • Governments and NGOs are limited in what they can do from the supply side. Young people need opportunities as well as skills.
    • There is no obvious locus of leadership in government or in society.
    • Lack of major breakthroughs that reduce unit costs or dramatically increase effectiveness in youth employment solutions.
    • The long payback period leads to hyperbolic discounting— youth employment is deprioritized.
  •  Promising approaches to address challenges:
    • In Mexico, IYF works with public school system partners, reaching about 45,000 young people annually. Direct programming and changed educational policy and practices scales up their impact to nearly 1.8 million youth annually. IYF’s COVID-19 response included a rapid assessment of teacher practices and needs, rolling out digital teacher training, developing distance learning didactic materials, and re-writing existing curricula on how to deliver curricula via social media platforms.
    • In South Africa, Harambee has implemented initiatives and partnerships with government programs during the pandemic. These include the Youth Brigades helping with COVID response, support to the President’s Youth Employment Intervention and National Youth Service system roll-out, partnership with the South African government’s Unemployment Insurance Fund to scale up capacity to respond to applications and disburse aid to 2 million workers, strategic input on South Africa’s return-to-work strategies, and accurate information reaching 3 million youth.
    • Through the USAID West Africa Trade & Investment Hub, Creative Associates International is working with over 600 companies registered on an online digital platform for co-investment grants through public-private partnerships to create jobs and sustain livelihoods and economic opportunities during the pandemic. The Trade Hub has curated a pipeline of 180 companies to design projects that will generate an estimated $1 billion in private investment and create over 300,000 new jobs, including over 200,000 for youth.
    • The USAID Empleando Futuros project in Honduras has achieved a 74% job insertion rate working with at-risk youth from the country’s most violent and vulnerable communities. During COVID-19, the project is helping businesses stay open, and helping youth receive the health & safety trainings companies are now requiring, by offering COVID-19 biosecurity trainings that have reached over 250,000 people through 9 business platforms.
  •  Breakout group takeaways
    • Identifying, refining, and sharing current solutions: 1) The broad level of industryfocused learning (transportation and logistics, English for hospitality) is scalable across countries and jobs; it’s an opportunity for large-scale upskilling and reskilling. 2) Flexible technology is an essential element of learning systems at scale—allowing access via social media, mobile, laptop, and desktop. 3) Implementing technology for learning doesn’t happen effectively unless you work within – and understand the history of – formal and informal mechanisms and coalitions on both the ‘supply’ side (educators) and the ‘demand’ sides (employers).
    • What works in public-private partnerships to deliver youth employment at scale during COVID-19: 1) Leveraging private sector capital should not only mean funding; it should include networking, facilities, knowledge, intellectual property, etc. 2) Matching investments in trade, agriculture, and manufacturing, with a particular focus on SMEs is critical to generate jobs at scale. However, it is important to ensure the resources reach at-risk youth and the informal sector. 3) The Development Finance Corporation is playing a critical role to respond to Congress’s desire to leverage local resources and attract a different kind of investment into development funding. 4) Start thinking beyond the typical “project” mindset; focus on systematic change in the local ecosystem. At the same time, we should overcome difficult regulations and laws by thinking of transaction-based partnership models.
    • Focusing on the most vulnerable youth: 1) It is important to use diverse channels to reach and deliver information, particularly in rural areas. Use platforms where youth already engage, such as Harambee’s use of Whatsapp chat boxes. 2) It is possible to work around data constraints (including the cost of internet data access for youth) by timing the programming at times of days when data costs are lower; and having smaller ‘bites’ of information. 3) Knowing who is and who is not participating is crucial, but it is not always easy to collect this information. Using multiple channels and universal design principles can help ensure that the widest range of beneficiaries have access to services.
    • Measuring results and unintended consequences: 1) Importance of “automation” in being able to track data at large scale but we need to understand technology companies better and integrate them more into our normal operations. 2) Important to develop an incentive structure for partners and participants to share information back. 3) Largescale data systems need to build in ways to gather qualitative data at scale.

Working Group Session 5

Social Enterprise

Moderators and panelists:

  • Isabel Guerrero, Director IMAGO Global Grassroots
  • Elaine Tinsley, Private Sector Specialist, World Bank
  • Smriti Iyer, Program Manager, IMAGO Global Grassroots
  • Kim Bardy Langsam, CASE, Duke University
  • Melissa Menke, Access Afya, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Chris Walker, Mercy Corps
  • Rob Shelton, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship


The workshop examined how social enterprises are being impacted and are responding to the COVID situation, the roles that intermediaries could play, and how to build resilience in social enterprises.

  • How social enterprises (SEs) are being impacted and responding to COVID: four strategies Social enterprises (SEs) are typically deploying in COVID:
    • Strategy 1: Double down on your mission.
    • Strategy 2: Build on assets. Crisis is not a time to build something new. Use this moment to take stock of the capital (human and otherwise) that social enterprises have and how they can use it to address the issues at hand.
    • Strategy 3: Mind your money. Social enterprises have to look ahead and make decisions that not only have a positive social impact but also do not break the SE’s bank.
    • Strategy 4. Create a path toward the future state. Use this time of crisis to carve out a path to future activity.
  • How intermediaries help SEs to scale during Crisis: Intermediary support for social enterprises can signal to the private sector that the social enterprise is qualified and ready for funding/scaling. What are the most effective things that intermediaries can do?
    • Embed themselves in an organization, build trust, ask the right questions and co-create processes for the intermediary function to be sustainable.
    • Play the role of mentorship and thought partner – on the phone at least once a week to help problem solve, fund raise and just be present in their journey.
    • Help social enterprises professionalize, build out their board and organization, and become funding ready.
    • Convene and facilitate conversations that help SEs expand their networks.
  • How to make SEs resilient: We need to recognize that there are many crises in addition to COVID-19, including financial and political instability, structural inequalities leading to social unrest, ecological imbalances leading to disasters and accidents. It’s not just about resilience of the business – but also resilience of the staff that must be taken care of too. What actions help SEs be more resilient:
    • Agility: Adapt the business model to work within the new paradigms, e.g., switch to online sales, meal delivery, online education, etc.
    • Online presence: SEs that already had a strong online presence had a better chance to survive during social distancing times — tap into social media, e.g. using WhatsApp to reach customers. A digital presence is not just for customers but also to build credibility and access for fundraising.
    • Empathetic networks: Belonging to meaningful networks is key to bringing resilience to SEs. It’s important to be connected to funders, accelerators, but also to empathetic networks such as diaspora, women led cohorts, or sector-specific groups.
    • Storytelling: Build your communications skills, so that in a crisis you can get your message across quickly and get support from donors and other actors.
    • Quick access to funding: Access to funding that could come quickly was also key. Important to establish and maintain closeness to funding organizations that are able and willing to respond quickly and collaboratively.
    • See and explore the opportunities in the crises—for example producing low-cost substitutes for goods that were previously imported.

Working Group Session 6

Monitoring and Evaluation

Moderators and panelists:

  • Larry Cooley, Founder and President Emeritus, Management Systems International
  • John Floretta, J-PAL
  • Laura Ghiron, Partners in Expanding Health Quality and Access and Expandnet
  • Jenny Perlman Robinson, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
  • Tim Reilly, Management Systems International


  • The M&E Working Group’s members come from all of the CoP’s other Working Groups. Cross-sectoral and cross-context perspectives have been a major source of added value for the group’s members.
  • Agreement on a simple framework about the ways M&E can contribute to successful scaling has been very useful in structuring group discussions on subjects including: assessing scalability, measuring institutionalization, the uses and limitations of case studies, real time scaling labs, data dashboards, measuring systemic spillover effects, and the transfer of M&E systems from NGOs to host governments.
  • Pilot projects can play important roles in scaling, but few pilot projects are designed and managed with those needs in mind. The consensus among Working Group members is that, since the principal purpose of pilot projects is to answer key questions about design, efficacy and scalability, pilot projects should typically allocate 20% or more of their budgets to MERL, not the usual 3-5%.
  • It is essential that issues of sustainability be integrated into scaling strategies and into their monitoring and evaluation systems. It is also essential that organizations hoping to scale interventions be willing and able to embrace adaptation.
  • Since successful scaling involves creating a “new normal sustained by an ecosystem of local actors”, scaling analyses must approach scaling-up from the perspective of the system adopting the intervention and not exclusively from the perspective of the intervention.
  • There is clear utility to a range of existing tools to help track, guide and inform scaling, but it is important to consider the extent to which these tools need to be “sectoralized” or “contextualized”. It is also the case that virtually all of the widely used tools require skilled facilitation.
  • The most commonly used tools for assessing scalability include factors related to: (1) the nature of the intervention, (2) stakeholder perceptions and interests about the intervention, (3) characteristics of the organizations originating and adopting the change, and (4) characteristics of the enabling environment.
  • In monitoring and evaluating institutionalization, it is important to tailor metrics and methods to reflect the intended pathway to scale and the necessary changes at the national, sub-national, organizational, and community level.
  • “What is most transformational is often the hardest to measure”. This includes process changes and political will.  Also critical to measure are unit costs, unintended consequences, impacts on power dynamics, and whether interventions continue to achieve intended outcomes as scale increases.
  • Routine data collection mechanisms (e.g., service delivery statistics) in any given system are not likely to be sufficient to inform decision-making processes in ways that foster productive midcourse corrections.
  • The group confirmed its intention to focus during 2021 on five topics: (1) frameworks for evidence-based decision-making about and during scaling; (2) assessing scalability and scale readiness; (3) tracking systems-level change and system level effects; (4) the use of real-time information and adaptive management to guide scaling; and (5) assessing and informing institutionalization. In addition to sharing tools, best practices and cases, the group intends to develop thought products and standards. The Group’s next meeting will be in January of 2021.

Working Group Session 7

Climate Change

Moderators and panelists:

  • George Zedginidze, Head of Knowledge and Change Management, Green Climate Fund
  • Amar Bhattacharya, Senior Fellow at Global Economy and Development Program, Brookings Institution
  • Lord Nicholas Stern, IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government and Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics
  • Yannik Glemarec, Executive Director, Green Climate Fund
  • Marc Sadler, Manager, Climate Funds Management, World Bank
  • Bella Tonkonogy, Associate Director, Climate Finance, Climate Policy Initiative
  • Johannes Linn, Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution


  • Climate change differs from any challenge we have previously faced. What sets it apart from other issues is that climate change is a truly global problem requiring a collective solution. There is also a shrinking window for action as the science necessitates an urgent response at scale. Climate change can only be addressed by connecting action at the macro level with action on the ground. As such, to scale up climate change interventions, one needs to consider: (1) Scaling up initiatives and lessons learned by front-line actors and financiers, and (2) Systemic reform issues at a national, regional, and especially global level
  • Innovation and technology to tackle climate change at scale are becoming more promising. The cost of renewable energy is decreasing dramatically, and we are increasingly able to manage digitally complex systems. While based on current trends we will not achieve SDGs or the Paris Agreement, innovation and advancements in technology can help break these trends.
  • In the context of COVID-19, finance ministries are increasingly looking inwards. Instead they need to look outwards and multilaterally. Finance ministries need to act as a coalition for climate action to promote collaborative sustainable recovery, increased lending, and support for DFIs.
  • Climate finance is not currently taking place at a large enough scale. It is important that sources of finance are brought together to complement each other, manage risk, and leverage the private sector. Funding from MDBs, DFIs and climate funds can unlock private co-financing to ensure investments take place on a larger scale and have a wider impact than they would have otherwise.
  • Innovative financial instruments are crucial for scaling by addressing investment barriers and driving private finance. Scaling through innovative financial instruments is greatly facilitated by four success factors: (i) Establishing a track record; (ii) Building economies of scale; (iii) Putting together a robust team and governance structure; (iv) Identifying the right long-term partners.
  • Country platforms can help unlock constraints and provide a robust framework for scaling up and transformative change. This can occur by bringing relevant stakeholders around a common objective with the aim of creating a replicable and scalable approach.
  • At the project level, it is important to ensure from an early stage that projects are replicable and scalable. MDBs, DFIs and climate funds should design projects that catalyze impact beyond a one-off investment.

Working Group Session 8


Moderators and panelists:

  • Chytanya Kompala, Senior Program Officer for Research, Eleanor Crook Foundation
  • Dylan Walters, Project Director, Health Economics, Global Technical Services, Nutrition International
  • Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Founding Director, Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health
  • Sakshi Jain, Research Officer, Health Economics Unit at Nutrition International
  • Johannes Linn, Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution


  • Zulfiqar A. Bhutta from the SickKids Centre for Global Child in Global Health presented the findings of the Exemplar in Global Health research on stunting reduction. The objective of this research is to understand drivers of stunting reduction from five “positive deviant” countries (Senegal, Ethiopia, Peru, Nepal, Kyrgyz Republic), focusing on key transition periods between 1990 and 2018. Key takeaways from this presentation were:
    • Pathways to stunting reduction requires both direct and indirect nutrition actions that are inside the health sector, such as maternal and newborn healthcare, and outside the health sector, such as parental education, economic improvement, improved WASH practices, and population migration.
    • While there were contextual differences across countries, and almost no country had a specific program for childhood stunting reduction, most had strategies for addressing nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive needs (e.g., investment in social sectors and targeting of poverty and food insecurity). In all cases, there was political will and coordinated leadership from various sectors.
    • Traditional tools that seek to assess the impact of nutrition interventions are limiting. They are typically limited to a few nutrition-specific interventions within the health sector and are only designed for children under 5 and women. They do not include programs targeted at adolescents, and do not include interventions such as WASH, household living conditions, education etc.
  • Chytanya Kompala and Sakshi Jain presented the initial findings from a Retrospective Review by the Working Group of the extent to which proven nutrition interventions have been scaled since 2000.
    • The review of data on the scale of nutrition interventions examined trends in national coverage data in 24 focus countries for several nutrition-specific interventions – iron and folic acid supplementation for pregnant women (IFAS), exclusive breastfeeding and complementary feeding interventions, Vitamin A supplementation (VAS), treatment of severe acute malnutrition (SAM), and universal salt iodization (USI).
    • National coverage data are very spotty. This makes it very difficult for the nutrition community to assess scale. While some interventions have increased coverage over time, many drops in coverage are observed. Improvements in coverage are generally small and not sustained over time.
    • VAS and USI showed the highest growth rate with coverage growing at a rate of 1.7% per year in the last two decades. Despite decades of programming, treatment of SAM presents the lowest coverage growth at 0.4%.
    • There are virtually no examples of sustained high coverage over time, aside from salt iodization. The findings of the review highlighted the need for a deeper commitment to supporting scaling up of nutrition approaches.
  • The Nutrition Scaling WG started its work in September 2019. In the last year, the group hosted four meetings, co-hosted a webinar in partnership with 1,000 Days, and group members have contributed to a Devex series on Scaling in Nutrition. Membership of the group has grown from approximately 50 to 145 members from a range of institutions within the global nutrition community. The WG also expects to finalize and disseminate in January 2021 the above mentioned review of evidence to date on scaling high-impact nutrition programs. The next NSWG meeting will take place on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021.

Working Group Session 9

Fragile States

Moderators and panelists:

  • Jonathan Papoulidis, Executive Advisor on Fragile States, World Vision
  • Rob Chase, Practice Manager for Social Protection and Jobs in the World Bank’s East Africa Region, World Bank
  • Pallavi Roy, Lecturer in International Economics, Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at SOAS


  • Poll on Working Group priorities: To launch the WG meeting, a quick poll was taken about which of the Fragility Working Group objectives were of greatest interest. The following are the responses in order of priority of the group:
    • promoting adaptive, resilient and politically-smart methods for scaling;
    • elaborating on the obstacles to scaling in fragile states and how they have been overcome, or when scaling should not have been attempted;
    • examining ways to strengthen country institutions and mobilize private sector finance for sustainable scaling in a range of fragile contexts; and
    • applying scaling up approaches to bridge humanitarian and development interventions.
  • General discussion:
    • A prime theme was that these objectives are deeply interconnected.
    • The COVID crisis generates a “teachable moment” which has forced donor agencies to react quickly, based on incomplete, inadequate information.
    • Operating in this “fog of war” means that political leaders in countries need to take and own risks, but also to respond flexibly to a changing environment, including ever changing outcomes and information about whether their initial efforts worked.
    • The past few months, accordingly, have been a very rich example of the need for adaptive management, not just in developing country governments, but also in Donor Partners.
    • Many of the Development Partners, particularly those that move large amounts of resources, are like supertankers. This limits their ability to embrace the agile responses needed in fragile settings.
    • COVID could potentially catalyze a rethink in how donor agencies handle their funding activities by promoting more focus on results for ultimate beneficiaries rather than on accountability for inputs from governments and other implementing agencies.
    • It also highlights how careful impact evaluation, particularly innovative methodologies focused on end results and the behaviors that can help catalyze them, can give useful inspiration to what should be scaled up and how.
    • The COVID crisis highlights how the issues that the fragility working group has been focusing on are likely relevant outside traditional “fragile environments”.
  • Takeaways from Pallavi Roy’s presentation
    • In response to governance/corruption challenges in fragile states, especially in the context of COVID-19 and the need for rapid procurement and response, there is a need for the creation of a rapid scaling consortium that involves multiple actors/delivery channels to: reduce corruption, increase early impact, showcase competences of different scaling actors, build in resilience/redundancy, and promote cost-effectiveness.
    • This approach to scaling must work in an integrated and adaptive way because it connects multiple scaling channels/interventions through “horizontal networks” and monitoring to see which channels/agents will be effective and to establish critical redundancies.
    • Pallavi Roy’s work to outcomes-based scaling illustrates the view expressed frequently in recent years by members of the Fragile States Working Group that scaling often goes beyond support for a winning pilot or innovation and focuses instead an outcomes based approach for achieving specific development goals in adaptive ways that bring in multiple partners, resources, and interventions, and promote resilience to shocks and stress.

Member News (in alphabetical order)

Agriculture and Rural Development Working Group (Agriculture)

The ARD Working Group and the CGIAR Data-Driven Agronomy CoP co-hosted three webinars on the topic of “Ingredients for Scaling – The Science of Scaling.”

  1. In the first webinar, Hayley Price-Kelly, Evaluation Program Officer of IDRC, and Marc Shut, Senior Innovation and Scaling Scientist at IITA, answered the following questions: What is the science of scaling and what have we learned so far? What critical knowledge gaps are yet to be filled? What are the roles and responsibilities of researchers and research for development centers, and how can development and research organizations learn from each other for sustainable change at scale? The video recording of the webinar is available here: .
  2. In the second webinar, Johannes Linn from the Brookings Institution and Timothy Krupnik, Senior Scientist and Systems Agronomist at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), discussed the implications of scaling on the management of projects and programs, and the role of leadership, local ownership and collaboration. Additionally, useful tools and tips for practitioners were shared in order to reach sustainable change at scale. The webinar also covered the challenges of mainstreaming a scaling agenda and approach systematically into development institutions. The video recording of the webinar is available here:
  1. In the third webinar, Ndidi Nwuneli, Co-Founder of Sahel Consulting: Agriculture & Nutrition Ltd., and Ram Dhulipala, Theme Leader – Digital Agriculture & Youth at the International Crops Research Center for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), presented examples of successful scaling by private sector actors in Africa and Asia, examined what has proven to be critical for success, and discussed important pitfalls. They also examined the role of big data in getting to scale and for monitoring at scale–both quantitatively and qualitatively. The video recording of the webinar is available here:

In addition, on Monday, 7 September 2020, the ARD WG hosted the session “Scaling and Food Systems Transformation in the PLUS-COVID-19 era”, a pre-event ahead of the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) conference. The panel (representatives from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, the African Center for Economic Transformation, Sahel Consulting, Twiga Foods, SYNGENTA Foundation, USAID, Management Systems International, CIMMYT and GIZ) explored how scaling principles and Covid-19 experiences can help inform a pivot from recovery to broader systems change and transformative impact at scale. They discussed the lessons and opportunities presented by Covid-19 for their organizations, announced major action commitments to accelerate scaling up in African agricultural systems, and discussed priorities for research, policies and actions going forward.

The session highlighted the irony that while the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the fragility of global and national food systems, it also created unexpected opportunities for local organizations and technologies to quickly fill the gap, including agile small and medium-scale enterprises, data-powered digital tools for agriculture, and empowered local leaders and organizations. These experiences of innovation and adaptation in response to COVID-19 are relevant to the larger challenges facing African food and agricultural systems to become more resilient, environmentally sustainable, and able to deliver healthier diets.

To watch the full session, click here:

Contact: Lennart Woltering (

ALL Institute, Maynooth University (Ireland) (General)

Ana Maria Sánchez Rodríguez, MSCA fellow, has been conducting a three-year project research on scaling social community innovations, particularly looking at Laos. Based on this work and in collaboration with Professor Malcolm MacLachlan, ALL Institute and Aude Brus from Humanity and Inclusion, created a three-pronged model for scaling interventions that addresses processes with special focus on inclusion of vulnerable populations. This work is the result of a systemic literature review of 20 scaling frameworks used in different policy fields. The framework focuses on inclusion as part of the scaling process of scaling in five stages: identifying, planning, implementing, learning and adapting.  It also incorporates four scaling directions: Scaling Up (influencing social structures), Scaling Down (ensuring change “on the ground”), Scaling In (adjusting the structure and functions of the organizations), and Scaling Out (Repeating the organization approach).  The study is published at the Systems Research and Behavioral Science  journal:

Contact: AnaMaria Sanchez Rodriguez (

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation/The Challenge Initiative (Family planning)

Innovators in global development across sectors have been grappling with how to bring programs to transformative scale with sustainable impact. The Challenge Initiative (TCI), funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a “business unusual” approach that empowers cities to rapidly and sustainably scale best-practice family planning and adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH) solutions for the urban poor. TCI’s demand-driven model is premised on a shared mindset and commitment to having local players lead, make change and achieve high impact at scale. Other ingredients for success – including political and financial commitment, consensus around which evidence-based interventions to scale, and capacity to implement and institutionalize those interventions – can then come together to realize that impact. Over the past three years (2016-2019), TCI has demonstrated proof of scale for its demand-driven model, and is active in 94 cities as of August 2020.

TCI recently published a blog on “Sustainable provision of quality family planning services in poor, urban areas” which explains how TCI delivers on scale, impact, cost-efficiency and sustainability as the four interlocking tenets that characterize its approach. At the heart of TCI’s philosophy is the belief that scaling global health interventions without impact is empty scale; that impact at scale without simultaneously increasing cost-efficiencies is not viable; and that cost-efficient impact at scale that is not sustained will not produce lasting change.

Contact: Maheen Malik (

CARE (Job opportunity)

CARE is looking to fill the position of Director for Impact at Scale, who will lead efforts to identify, validate, and deliver on pathways to scale across CARE’r priority program areas. 153

Contact: Ann Mei Chang (

CARE (General)

Two new resources from CARE on lessons and experience from 20 years of CARE’s Community

Score Card©: CARE is pleased to share two new resources that capture learning from the Community Score Card (CSC) and its implementation in Malawi. CARE has a long history of applying social accountability approaches across multiple sectors. A journey through the Community Score Card in Malawi: From innovation to sustainability outlines the organization’s history in designing, implementing and scaling one of its most effective social accountability tools, the CSC. It includes a synthesis from key publications that collectively demonstrate the CSC’s impact on health outcomes as well as the adaptability and sustainability of the approach itself. The report also shares how the CSC has been adapted and scaled outside of Malawi to more than 30 countries globally. Digitization efforts of the CSC are also described, as the process is being digitized so that data may be aggregated, analyzed, and shared beyond local levels to address accountability at scale.

CARE has also published an additional paper on the experience of institutionalization of social accountability efforts specifically for family planning service delivery in Malawi. One persistent challenge with social accountability approaches is that, while they can and do bring meaningful change at the individual and community-level, they often struggle to maintain momentum without significant external support and thus fail to unlock regional and national resources, making potential for scale challenging. Governmentled Community Score Card for family planning services highlights the challenges, successes, and lessons of integrating the CSC into district government systems and processes in Malawi. The report demonstrates how the CSC’s success and scale-up across several districts contributed to the adoption of the tool as the primary accountability tool by the Government of Malawi in its National Community Health Strategy. It also demonstrates how the approach promotes accountability at scale for family planning service delivery, given the allocation of national and sub-national resources to achieve Family Planning (FP2020) commitments. The CSC’s scale-up efforts across districts in Malawi enabled the institutionalization of the approach by government, opening the door for scale and sustainability across contexts and sectors.

Contact: Patience Mgoli Mwale (

Educate! (Education)

In May 2020, the United Nations Children’s Fund launched a global campaign to bridge the digital divide, acknowledging the reality that “for at least 463 million children whose schools closed due to COVID-19, there [is] no such a thing as remote learning. The repercussions could be felt in economies and societies for decades to come.” (Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director). In East Africa, where Educate! operates, at least 67 million young people are unable to access remote learning. In response, Educate! has transitioned its proven in-person model to low-tech distance learning platforms such as radio, SMS, and social media in an effort to help bridge this gap. Now, to scale this effort, Educate! partnered with UNICEF to turn its radio lesson content into a skills course for any youth anywhere in the world who wants to participate. The Educate! Youth Challenge page is home to radio lessons which teach youth how to start an enterprise, product guides to help them generate capital, and a WhatsApp business acumen quiz. When young people engage with all these features, they become eligible for a learning certificate through UNICEF. Educate! hopes that with its distance learning strategies, as a next step in scaling to expand access, it can widely distribute content that prepares young people with the 21st century skills they need to be successful. Find the challenge page at: 

Contact: Rachael Miller Buck (

Emergency Nutrition Network (ENN) (Nutrition)

ENN, in partnership with the UNICEF Regional Office of South Asia, is proud to share Field Exchange 63, a special issue on Child Wasting in South Asia released in October 2020. This special edition of Field Exchange gives a voice to the region, examining why the wasting burden is so high, identifying priority actions and learnings for regional and country practitioners and researchers. It features 12 field articles from five of the highest burden countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan), accompanied by a wide range of topical research, views and news. They complement the written edition with podcasts from national authors, researchers and programmers, available on ENNs MediaHub.  Articles that may be of particular interest to the scaling up community include:

Contact: Natalie Sessions (

Evidence to Action (E2A) Project (Health)

WEBINAR RECORDING: Synthesis of ScaleUp Lessons

Across eight years and multiple countries, E2A has applied a systematic approach to scaling up. Check out the recording and Q&A from its Synthesis of ScaleUp Lessons webinar, co-hosted with scale-up leader ExpandNet, to learn from experts and implementers who took deliberate steps to increase the impact of effective family planning and reproductive health interventions—to sustainably reach more people and to strengthen policies and programs.

Brief and report: Planning for the ScaleUp of Postabortion Family Planning for Adolescents and

Youth in Senegal (also available in French)

From September 2018–July 2019, with support from USAID and in close collaboration with

IntraHealth International’s Neema Project, E2A supported Senegal’s Ministry of Health and

Social Action to implement and plan for the scale-up of the Postabortion Family Planning for Adolescents and Youth (PAFP-AY) intervention. See how they designed the project with scale-up in mind and supported the establishment of a critical in-country PAFP-AY resource teamand hear directly from Ndeye Fanta Camara, Head Midwife at Senegal’s Mbacké Health Center, who says, “Within nine months, our health center saw a 78% family planning adoption rate among postabortion care clients, compared to just 17% at the start of the project.”

Brief and report: Planning for Systematic ScaleUp of Immediate Postpartum Family Planning in the AgnebyTiassaMé Health Region of Côte d’Ivoire (also available in French)

In 2017, following promising results from Côte d’Ivoire’s first ever immediate postpartum family planning (IPPFP) intervention at the Treichville University Hospital, the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene initiated the institutionalization of IPPFP. The government launched an appeal to international donors and technical partners to support Côte d’Ivoire’s scale-up of IPPFP to all public facilities that provide childbirth services. In response, E2A enhanced implementation through focused efforts on integrating adolescent- and youth-responsive approaches into the immediate postpartum contraception package and planning for systematic scale-up.

Want to stay up-to-date on more resources you can use from E2A? Join this mailing list to hear about upcoming webinars and new publications.

Contact: Maren Vespia (

ExpandNet (General, Global Health)

ExpandNet formally concluded its nine-year collaboration with the USAID-funded Evidence to Action (E2A) Project, the global flagship family planning service delivery project that adopted from the start a strong focus on systematic scaling.  During this tenure, E2A and ExpandNet supported several countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya,

Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Uganda, to develop and operationalize scale-up strategies using the ExpandNet framework, tools and approach. In addition, E2A and ExpandNet have been coleading the Community of Practice on Systematic Approaches to Scaling up in Family Planning/Reproductive Health, which for the last several years has also served as the Health Technical Working Group of this Community of Practice. Leadership of the USAID-sponsored group recently transitioned to the Research Utilization Division of FHI360, as part of their work under the Research for Scalable Solutions award from USAID.

During this quarter ExpandNet also published its Implementation Mapping Tool, which is intended to support project teams to conduct participatory reflection, adaptive management and documentation of the process of scaling up health and development interventions.

Contact: Laura J. Ghiron (

Green Climate Fund (GCF) (Climate)

In October 2020, the GCF published a working paper on “Tipping or turning point: Scaling up climate finance in the era of COVID-19”


The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the world to a tipping point or a turning point in the fight against climate change. Decisions taken by leaders today to revive economies will either entrench our dependence on fossil fuels or put us on a path to achieve the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For the COVID-19 pandemic to prove a turning point, climate action and COVID-19 economic stimulus measures must be mutually supportive; and developing countries must be able to access long-term affordable finance to develop and implement green recovery measures. This working paper aims to support policy makers, the financial industry and international financial institutions in these efforts by ensuring that financial decision-making takes climate change into account. Specifically, the working paper highlights the risks posed by climate change to the finance system as well the risks and opportunities related to investment in low emission, climate resilient infrastructure in developing countries. It assesses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to finance in middle and low income countries for low emission, climate resilient investments; and it identifies a combination of policy, financial and institutional initiatives to scale up climate finance to enable developing countries to realize their climate ambition in the era of COVID-19.

Contact: Andrew Hollander (

HarvestPlus (Nutrition)

Scaling biofortification will require effective partnerships to catalyze the process, and over the past three months, exciting progress has been made. HarversPlus’ partner governments are adopting evidence-based policies, allocating budgets, and summoning the political will to scale up naturally nutritious staple crops that make a meaningful impact on human health. One promising example at the country level is that Indian PM Modi endorsed biofortification as a costeffective and sustainable solution to tackle malnutrition in national programs and policies. PM Modi recently dedicated 17 new biofortified varieties of 8 crops to the nation. This year, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research also announced 10% of their frontline demonstrations of crops would be biofortified. Reaching scale will also require the deployment of digital tools, which became even more vital during COVID-19. HarvestPlus’ and its partners’ blockchain project in Nigeria’s vitamin A maize value chain has been selected as a finalist in the CGIAR Data Innovation Challenge. Also, this year, HarvestPlus is partnering with Precision Agriculture for Development to reach over 100,000 Pakistani farmers with SMS messages to help them grow and benefit nutritionally from high zinc wheat.

Contact: Destan Aytekin (

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) (Justice; education)

Building more effective Police in Mexico: Citizen perceptions of police forces’ reliability in Mexico are typically negative. Working together, Mexico City’s Ministry of Public Security and the research team adapted the procedural justice model to the Mexican context and developed a training program (and accompanying manuals) to encourage line officers and commanders to apply the principles of procedural justice to their work. After a randomized evaluation found that procedural justice training improved the behavior of officers in Mexico City, the police department decided to scale up the training to reach all of the city’s officers.

Using Data to Inform Education Programming in Peru During COVID-19: IPA, Minedu, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) partnered to design an 8,000-person nationwide survey of parents to use as the starting point of the remote learning monitoring strategy in response to COVID-19’s education challenges. These phone surveys allowed them to have updated information on areas where access to the programming was low and advise local and regional units on how to use their existing resources to improve connectivity for local students and families. Also, the insights about the socio-emotional toll of the pandemic on parents led the team to work on an SMS campaign to provide socio-emotional support to parents.

Contact: Jose Pinilla (

MacArthur Foundation/Lever for Change (Racial equity)

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has launched Racial Equity 2030, a $90 million challenge to invite, build and scale ideas for transformative change in the social, economic, political and institutional systems that uphold inequities. This challenge, managed by Lever for Change, seeks bold solutions to drive an equitable future for children, families, and communities across the globe. Teams of visionaries, change agents and community leaders from every sector are invited to join this worldwide challenge:

Contact: Marc Moorghen (

MSI (General)

MSI is currently revising its Scaling Toolkit originally published in 2012. The second edition of the toolkit is expected to be ready for publication in early 2021. The document is a companion to MSI’s widely-used 3-Step, 10-Task, Scaling Up Management (SUM) Framework. It includes revisions of MSI’s Scalability Assessment Checklist, Scaling Plan Guidelines, and Scaling Pathways Screen, and new tools for environmental scanning, assessing institutionalization, cost analysis, and implementation tracking.

Contact: Larry Cooley (

ODI (General)

Jamie Pett of ODI completed the paper Navigating adaptive approaches for development programmes: a guide for the uncertain. Working paper 589 (September 2020), London: Overseas Development Institute.

Scaling-up, i.e., facilitating transformative change in complex systems, requires an adaptive approach to development that recognizes uncertainty and volatility and requires processes for listening, learning, reflecting, making decisions and acting. This working paper compares six of the most prominent adaptive approaches to emerge over the past two decades. Three come from the world of innovation, largely in the private sector (agile, lean startup, and human-centered design), and three from the global development sector (thinking and working politically, adaptive management, and problem-driven iterative adaptation). While all of these approaches are valuable when used in the right context, practitioners may be perplexed by the multiplicity of methods and jargon. This paper aims to address some of this confusion by mapping where these approaches have come from and showing how they can be applied. Armed with this knowledge, practitioners might experiment with different combinations and sequences of adaptive approaches according to the kind of problem and context faced.

Contact: Alastair McKechnie (

Soybean Innovation Lab (Nutrition)

The FTF Soybean Innovation Lab’s Managed Research Area 5 for human nutrition announces Soybean 360: Agro Processing in SubSaharan Africa, a virtual symposium for processors in the soybean value chain featuring 37 presentations, from 16 countries, over the course of two weeks. The symposium is a result of a collaborative partnership between industry and researchers in Uganda and the United States that began after the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic. The original idea for a workshop in Uganda at Makerere University with local processors blossomed into an international symposium with the help of Makerere, The National Agricultural Research Organization – Uganda (NARO), the International Institute for Tropical

Agriculture (IITA), and The American Oil Chemist’s Society (AOCS) [an international scientific society for the oil seed industry]. Working together, these partners gathered top researchers, industry leaders and practitioners from storied organizations around the globe.

The symposium begins November 30th and runs through December 11. Daily themes are:

Monday, November 30: Keynote and Soy in the Value Chain

Tuesday, December 1: Opportunities to Expand Nutrition at Scale in the School Feeding market

Wednesday, December 2: Processor Challenges and Technical Opportunities in SSA

Thursday, December 3: Technical Innovations in Edible Oil Processing

Friday, December 4: Innovations in Plant Extrusion

Monday, December 7: Efficiencies in Processing and Production

Tuesday, December 8: Innovations in Plant Protein Technology

Wednesday, December 9: New Products and Processes with Familiar Ingredients

Thursday, December 10: Quality, Safety and Packaging

Friday, December 11: Linking to Markets and Populations

Register at any of the links above.

Contact: Annette Donnelly (

Publications and Other Initiatives

Agriculture and Rural Development

“Science of Scaling: Understanding and guiding the scaling of innovation for societal outcomes.”

By Marc Schut, Cees Leeuwis and Graham Thiele.

In Agricultural Systems, Volume 184, September 2020.

This Editorial to the Special Issue “Science of Scaling: connecting the pathways of agricultural research and development for improved food, income and nutrition security” presents the framing, overview and analysis of 10 articles focused on scaling innovation in the agricultural research for development sector. The publications cut across three categories that focus on: (i) Understanding the scaling trajectory retrospectively from a longer term, systems perspective, (ii) Understanding scaling of innovation retrospectively as part of shorter term agricultural research for development interventions, and (iii) Conceptual or methodological approaches aimed at guiding scaling prospectively. Cross-cutting review of the publications leads to several insights and critically questions dominant ways of understanding and guiding scaling of innovation in the agricultural research for development sector. This provides a starting point for proposing more outcome-oriented scaling as a third wave of understanding and guiding scaling, beyond technology adoption (first wave) and the scaling of innovation (second wave). The Editorial proposes three Research Domains for the Science of Scaling: (1) ‘Understand the big picture of scaling innovation’ that can inform more realistic ideas about the factors, conditions and dynamics that affect innovation and scaling processes; (2) ‘Develop instruments that nurture efficient and responsible scaling’ that comprises new approaches, concepts and tools that can facilitate the development of evidence-based scaling strategies; and (3) ‘Create a conducive environment for scaling innovation’ that focusses on the institutional arrangements, partnership models, and monitoring and learning for scaling of innovation.


“Saving Lives, Scaling-up Impact and Getting Back on Track: World Bank Group COVID-19 Crisis Response Approach Paper.”

World Bank: Washington, DC. June 2020

This paper sets out the World Bank Group approach to providing support exceptional in speed, scale and selectivity to countries as they tackle the unprecedented threats posed by the COVID-19 crisis. WBG support focuses on helping countries address the crisis and transition to recovery through a combination of saving lives threatened by the pandemic; protecting the poor and vulnerable; securing foundations of the economy; and strengthening policies and institutions for resilience based on transparent, sustainable debt and investments. The paper outlines the operational framework for the approach and discusses the medium-term outlook for the WBG’s financial capacity. Working as One WBG, the approach emphasizes selectivity and public-private joint interventions to scale up private sector solutions while staying focused on results.

“Scaling Up COVID-19 Social Assistance with Digital Tech.”

By Alan Gelb and Anit Mukherjee

Center for Global Development, September 2020

Countries around the world have rapidly scaled up social assistance programs in response to COVID-19, often relying on digital technology to reach the most people in the shortest time. Alan Gelb and Anit Mukherjee review the evidence on what’s worked, what’s been challenging, and how these efforts could be a first step in rethinking social assistance architecture.

Supporting Health Workers through the Pandemic.

By Helen Castell. Devex. 16 October 2020.

An interview with Monique Vledder, head of secretariat and practice manager at the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents, or GFF at the World Bank. The GFF supports health intervention at scale in low income countries. In this article Monique Vledder explains how GFF responded to the COVID crisis.

Is the COVID-19 pandemic a cash transfer tipping point?

By Michael Igoe. Devex. 19 October 2020

As the COVID-19 case count continues to climb, Ugo Gentilini, global lead for social assistance at the World Bank, has been keeping track of another statistic that is on the rise: the number of cash transfer programs that countries are deploying for social protection during the crisis. “What we have seen now in terms of expansion of coverage, but also in terms of generosity of those transfers being … almost doubled in size, didn’t occur by accident,” Gentilini tells Devex.  Devex Senior Reporter Michael Igoe digs into why the crisis is giving rise to cash transfers in global development.

Digital Connectivity

“Connecting everyone, digitally: World Bank has role to play in inclusive digital connectivity, Google says.”

By Catherine Cheney. Devex. 19 October 2020.

Connectivity is deeply personal for Sundar Pichai, CEO at Google and Alphabet, who shared what the company is doing to close the digital divide at the meetings.

Special Features

Organizations Working Together:  A Critical Aspect of Effective Scaling

By Alan Hurwitz (

The success of many scaling processes may depend in large part on the effectiveness of a group of interdependent stakeholders working as a truly collaborative system.

For some years, I have been exploring the more general phenomenon of individual organizations working together for limited, though often very important goals, as a part of my organizational development consulting activities. These goals may be political, financial, often environmental, to suggest a few possible areas. I call these organizational groupings “clusters”, similar to what some in the scaling community call “coalitions”. In studying the “clustering” dynamic of totally separate organizations working together, the following nine factors have emerged as critical for success:

  • A defined vehicle for joint planning;
  • Mechanism(s) for ongoing communication;
  • Accepted procedures or decision-making;
  • A shared base of information;
  • Common paradigms for understanding key issues; 6) Effective mechanisms for implementation;
  • Accepted ground-rules for addressing differences;
  • Clear limits and boundaries;
  • Clear and valued shared or overlapping goals or interests.

Some of these factors are relevant to collaborative situations in general, while others are more specific to “Clusters”. Those have mainly to do with the fact that groups of separate organizations usually don’t share common structures or procedures.

Anyone interested in a more complete discussion of “Clusters” can refer to my article of several years ago in Business Horizons, “Organizational Structures for the New World Order.

An example of a scaling collaboration challenge arose in the recent CoP plenary session on

Adaptive Management when we were shown a list of possible barriers to the effective use of Adaptive Management and asked to prioritize them in terms of their potential to limit the scope for flexible implementation and strategy adaptation. On reflection, I was struck by the fact that successful response to these challenges by any individual organization demanded some type of flexibility from one or more of the others involved in the scaling process, often from a different sector. Similarly, flexibility on the part of any organization could usually be made more feasible by some kind of flexibility on the part of one of the others.

For example, flexibility (adaptation) for implementors is often limited by policies, or by a narrow single purpose goal or priority, of donors. Opportunities for flexibility are more likely when the funding organization trusts project implementors, and vice versa. Positive attribution for sponsoring organizations may be limited or challenged by a need to involve additional collaborators in the process. These potential limits to adaptation demonstrate opportunities for interdependence. I suspect those involved in these activities will think of many more examples.

The necessary trade-offs occur most easily when the various actors have time to work them out, and also to develop necessary trust as a basis for initial and ongoing agreements.

Negotiating flexibilities is a common agenda for many types of collaboration; the organization design folks call it “mutual adjustment”. The need to do this kind of negotiating is a principal criterion for organizing managers or staff into effective teams in many organizations.

As a result of this reflection, I’d like to propose another limitation to the initial list from that session, and more positively a potentially important suggestion, for effective Adaptive Management, and perhaps scaling in general. If the key organizations involved in any scaling activity truly embrace the importance of adaptive management, they should prioritize trust building and mutual adjustment through joint planning among the organizations in the relevant “cluster”, planning that includes candid discussion about each organization’s aspirations, capabilities, and constraints, and reinforces the group’s commitment to the scaling agenda.

“Catalyzing Public Sector Demand for Health Innovation.”

By Richard Kohl ( ) and Tom Feeny  ( P

Results for Development (R4D) is implementing a project funded by Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) (1) to better understand and catalyze demand for, and scale-up of, health innovations by public sector actors in developing countries, and (2) to identify what GCC (and other donors) can do to encourage public sector scaling. The project began in June 2020 and has recently completed a first draft of a landscape analysis.  It is currently being revised and will be publicly available shortly. The next stage will translate the solutions proposed in the landscape analysis into concrete activities that can be field tested on-the-ground with county governments in Kenya (and potentially elsewhere, resources permitting) in collaboration with a Kenyan partner, Insight Health Advisors, and with county public health officials, policymakers, and other stakeholders. Implementation of those solutions is expected to start in Spring 2021.

Some of the key findings from the draft report are:

  • Many innovations funded by GCC and others are broadly aligned with public sector policy goals, but policy goals are not granular enough to be easily matched with appropriate innovations;
  • In many countries, public health officials have little capacity or incentive to look for or scale innovations outside the immediate, high-priority areas. They lack departments that systematically engage in scanning, assessing, adopting and scaling innovations, nor do they have staff with relevant training or expertise in those areas.
  • Political leaders’ incentives encourage scaling innovations that address urgent issues, offer quick returns, low risk, and high visibility/relevance to voters. This favors tangible investments like infrastructure.
  • The common goal of Universal Health Care (SDG 8) expands the opportunities for scaling health innovations aligned with that objective, including the availability of domestic funding for scaling.
  • The affordability of innovations and their costs compared to current technology or practices are at least as important as their impact. Public health officials particularly favor innovations that contribute to addressing existing technical, administrative or financial inefficiencies.

The report proposes a solution of having a Scaling Guide take county teams in Kenya on a scaling journey from articulating their innovation needs, to scanning and assessing innovations, to adopting and actually scaling them. GCC/R4D/IHA are actively looking for Champions and Supporters to support the piloting of this model in Kenya and/or other countries. Support could include: financing the work directly; contributing to a pot of matching scaling funds to incentivize counties; providing relevant technical expertise or support for advocacy;  partnering with related initiatives; or helping to disseminate the learnings from this project to others who would be interested in this work. Those interested in learning more about the project, the landscape analysis, and partnership opportunities should contact either Richard Kohl at or Tom Feeny at

CARE’s New Guidance for Impact at Scale

CARE’s approach to impact at scale (2020).

How does an international NGO like CARE contribute to sustainable, systemic change at scale, far beyond the direct work we and our partners carry out with communities? That is the challenge we’ve put at the heart of our new 10year strategy. Drawing on learning from within CARE’s programs and within the wider scaling up community, we have also developed a new guidance note, outlining six pathways to Impact at Scale. These pathways are framed around Riddell and Moore’s three approaches of scaling up, scaling out and scaling deep.

The first is the perhaps traditional pathway of scaling up and adapting successful models, within CARE’s own programs and with and through others, such as in our savings group scaleup strategy. Our second pathway is advocacy to influence the policies, budgets or programs of government or other power-holders, an approach we have already seen as contributing over half of CARE’s global impact numbers. As an organization focused on gender equality, the third pathway is on promoting social norms change, both to trigger change at scale but also to ensure that work through other pathways leads to deep changes in gender-inequitable social norms, without which progressive policies remain unimplemented or scaled up models can just scratch the surface. CARE and our partners’ work challenging norms around masculinity in the Balkans shows the importance of this pathway to complement work to scale up models or influence government guidelines. Systems strengthening is the fourth pathway, ensuring the wider capacities and systems within Government or others within which policies can be implemented or models scaled up, in an accountable way. CARE India’s health program in Bihar demonstrates well the need for working with Government to ensure improved infrastructure, equipment and increased staffing in health facilities, and stronger data systems to track progress, to complement the scaling up of innovative models. Weldon and Htun have proven how critical feminist movements are for gender equality policies, and CARE’s wider learning on strengthening social movements shows this is a critical pathway for changes in gender equality at scale. Finally, making market systems more inclusive, beyond individual private sector partners with whom we work, can be another important pathway for inclusive change at scale.

The guidance note outlines a number of examples from CARE’s programs at global, regional or national levels, that apply different combinations of these pathways, such as the Multilingual Education Program in Cambodia. It also highlights learning from others, including such as MSI’s Scaling Up Management framework, WHO’s ExpandNet, IDIA’s insights on scaling innovation and principles, and The Learning Collaborative to Advance Normative Change’s work on scaling up normsshifting interventions.

Any feedback or reflections from the Scaling Community of Practice would be hugely welcome: please contact Jay Goulden ( or David Leege ( for further information.

BRAC Radio School: Education at Scale During Pandemic

BRAC Education Programme (BEP), in cooperation with BRAC’s Community Empowerment Programme (CEP) and BRAC Institute of Education and Development’s (BIED) Social Innovation Lab (SIL), has initiated an innovative approach called ‘Radio School’. It is a supplement to the national efforts of reaching pre-primary children through distance learning and assisting parents in nurturing their children in a better way, particularly focusing on their mental and physical developmental needs. It is broadcast every Monday and Friday evening at 7:30 PM through BRAC’s internal Radio ‘Pollikontho’. A few teachers from BRAC’s pre-primary schools were trained to host shows and facilitate the teaching-learning initiative in cooperation with two radio jockeys (hosts).

BEP’s curriculum team has incorporated all the major domains of learning — Language and Communication, Pre-Math and Science, Technology, and Health and Safety — in the script. Although the scripts include rhymes, stories, and songs, as well as crafts, physical exercise, and plays that are easy to do at home with parents. Parents facilitate their children’s lessons with real objects like pebbles, jackfruit seeds, pens, plants, flowers, doors, and windows. Teachers and Programme Organizers communicate with Parents before the programs. They call them on their mobile phones to remind them about listening to the programs and, at the same time, to follow up on their children’s learning progress.

BRAC’s Radio School pilot in Sylhet became one of the central topics of discussion during this pandemic. Since all educational institutions were closed in March 2020, this Radio School program has introduced a new approach to learning, where children along with their parents get the opportunity to listen to songs, rhymes, and stories, and to engage in interactive lessons sitting in the comfort of their own homes. BEP has partnered with the other 10 community radios of Bangladesh to scale up this Radio School program in all BRAC pre-primary schools. For more information, contact Farzina Siraj Rahee (

CRS’s Approach to Strengthening Local Systems for Scaling-up Safe and Dignified Shelter and Housing Solutions

By Mehul Savla ( and Sahdia Khan (

Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) Homes and Communities (H&C) approach is committed to ensuring safe, dignified H&C through direct humanitarian service provision for 1.5 million crisis-affected people by 2030. In addition, CRS aims to influence governments, markets, humanitarian, and development actors so they take up innovations and good practices thus enabling 8.5 million affected people indirectly to access safe and dignified H&C by 2030.

Loss of home and internal displacement are common in Bangladesh due to natural hazards.  The country is heavily prone to earthquakes, cyclones and floods, and the situation is worsening with climate change. Most relief efforts remain short-term, without addressing the longer-term housing needs of affected people or the underlying causes of unsafe housing conditions. Additionally, Bangladesh is hosting 909,000 Rohingya refugees and stateless persons who need shelter in the camps. CRS’ approach to H&C addresses the humanitarian needs in the camps and underlying systemic causes that bring about destruction.

CRS’ approach focuses on strengthening local organizations, on-the-ground  first responders who can take shelter and housing solutions to scale. One of these local organizations is Caritas Bangladesh, which is working in partnership with key Government departments, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, and a variety of other local actors to influence government policies, and to replicate innovations at scale. The first scaling-up occurred through Caritas’ network. To date it has supported more than 400,000 households with shelter assistance across Bangladesh and construction of 246 Multi-Purpose Cyclone Evacuation Shelters, thus enabling more than 250,000 persons to evacuate safely in the frequent cyclone seasons.

Caritas’ experience scaling-up Multi-Purpose Shelters demonstrates how these hazard shelters can be sustained by the local communities providing vocational training with a certified curriculum near the communities. Another level of scaling-up is likely to occur through peer agencies that are engaged in disaster preparedness, evacuation, rescue, and relief such as the local Red Cross whose volunteers can support 3,268 shelters  through a network that spans the country. Ultimately, through gradual scaling and demonstration with influential partnerships, the aim is to institutionalise the guidelines for training local youth on operation and maintenance of Multi-Purpose Shelters through the Ministry of Disaster, Relief and Rehabilitation and to strengthen the capacity of the Disaster Management Committees closest to the communities. This gradual process will allow to bake-in resilience in the local disaster preparedness system in a sustainable manner.

For more information contact Mehul Savla ( and Sahdia Khan (, respectively H&C manager CRS Bangladesh and H&C Strategic Change Platform Global Coordinator.


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