News from the Scaling Up Community of Practice

Six years after its creation, the Scaling Up Community of Practice (CoP) is going strong, with over 800 members from 320 organizations, nine active Working Groups (WGs), annual workshops, quarterly newsletters, and generous financial support from 5 “Sustaining Members.” An active 24-member Executive Committee (ExCom) of members guides the CoP.

Crosscutting issues: The Year 2021 promises to be a year of further growth for the CoP. Based on the successful Annual Workshop with 12 virtual sessions, the ExCom decided to place additional focus on a shortlist of issues that cut across the nine sectoral and thematic areas covered by our nine WGs. Based on the effective work of a subgroup of the ExCom (consisting of Larry Cooley, Laura Ghiron, Isabel Guerrero, Johannes Linn, Ruth Simmons, Sabrina Strom, and Lennart Woltering), the CoP will organize quarterly webinars on selected crosscutting issues and commission knowledge products to be posted on the CoP website ( In preparation for the webinar series, the ExCom commissioned a CoP Working Paper prepared by Richard Kohl, which identified key crosscutting issues. That paper has been posted on the CoP website; and, based on this paper, Larry Cooley, Richard Kohl, and Johannes Linn also posted a blog.

Webinars on crosscutting issues: Based on the priority issues identified, the first webinar on crosscutting issues has been tentatively scheduled for 4 May 2021 on the topic “Scaling versus Systems Change: Competing or Complementary Approaches?.” Lennart Woltering has agreed to coordinate preparation for this webinar with the assistance of a group of interested colleagues. Richard Kohl will prepare an issues note to be distributed in advance and a summary of takeaways after the event.

A second webinar will be organized for early July 2021 on the topic of “Mainstreaming Scaling in Development Organizations: Opportunities and Challenges.” Announcements for the specific times and links will be distributed to all CoP members by e-mail and posted on the CoP website in due course.

Next CoP Annual Workshop: With the COVID-19 pandemic still not under control in many parts of the world, we expect to organize the next Annual Workshop again as a virtual event during the last two weeks of October 2021.

Developing “CoP Scaling Principles”: The ExCom decided to develop a set of CoP Scaling Principles, based on review of such principles in the literature and practice. These Principles will serve as basic, high-level guidance for scaling, drawing on lessons from the vast experience of CoP members. A background paper will be prepared for and discussed at the next Annual Workshop. Based on this discussion, the ExCom will distill provisional principles for wide dissemination and consideration by CoP members. Intended as a “living” element of CoP engagement, these Principles will be updated and reviewed annually in connection with the annual CoP Workshops.

Posting of knowledge products on website: The website is now also the repository of all knowledge products posted by CoP members. All blogs from past newsletters have now been reposted on the website. Members are invited to submit their knowledge products (blogs, working papers, etc.) for posting or reposting. Larry Cooley and Johannes Linn will provide editorial review and guidance for any knowledge products submitted for publication on the general resource page of the website. WG chairs will serve in the editorial capacity for knowledge products and news items to be posted on the WG pages. The CoP Newsletter will no longer publish blogs. Note: All knowledge products to be posted should meet the following criteria: (i) focus on scaling issues, approaches or tools; (ii) report on lessons and implications of scaling experience; (iii) blogs should have 800-1000 words.

Registration on website: With the CoP Website now active, all members are encouraged strongly to register on the website. To facilitate registration, we have provisionally registered and send provisional passwords to all members we have on our current lists; we invite you visit the site to confirm your registration, ensure that the information about you is correct, and change your password. This will help the ExCom and the Working Group chairs to keep everyone informed. If there are other individuals you think would benefit from and contribute to the CoP, please encourage them to register as well through the website. If you or they have any difficulty in registering, reach out to Natalie Colangelo at

Working Groups of the Scaling Up Community of Practice

The CoP hosts nine working groups (WGs). Their recent and currently planned activities are listed below, together with the names and e-mail addresses of the chairpersons. All groups are open to any CoP member. For more information on 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 (

Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) Working Group

Mark Huisinga (USAID)

Frank Place (IFPRI)

Lennart Woltering (CIMMYT)

Julie Howard (CSIS) Maria Boa (CIMMYT)

Preliminary calendar of meetings for the ARD Work Group:

  • Scaling and Food Systems transformation (May 2021): The conceptual framework is changing from “ag and productivity” to “food systems” – which links ag purposefully to environmental sustainability and health/nutrition. How should we think about scaling in this expanded framework?
  • Ag-Nutrition (TBC) (June 2021): A webinar focused on the interfaces between agriculture and nutrition, including implications for scaling and for the UN Food Systems Summit.
  • Capacities to scale (September 2021): If we can’t “make” things go to scale, how do we identify and strengthen local and regional capacities to scale?
  • Ag-M&E (November 2021): A joint webinar with the M&E WG focused on the role of M&E to facilitate scaling and agricultural transformation to incorporate learning and redesign of programs throughout their life, attribution/contribution, measuring and reporting on change as important indicators for successful scaling.

Climate Change Working Group

George Zedginize (Green Climate Fund) Amar Bhattacharya (Brookings)

The Climate Change Working Group is currently developing its program for future meetings and activities. It would like to draw your attention to recent publications from members of the Working Group:

Education Working Group

Jenny Perlman Robinson (Brookings)

Gaelle Simon (MSI)

The Education Working Group is planning four webinars in 2021 to foster learning and knowledge sharing among its members. The themes build upon interests expressed by working group members and include:

  • Translating scaling research into practice (March 25, 2021): This webinar will focus on sharing a recently launched Education Scalability Checklist and User Guide to help plan for and support scaling in education.
  • Lessons learned from adaptations as a result of COVID-19 (June 2021): This discussion will build on the Education Working Group’s April 2020 roundtable that discussed specific needs in low- and middle-income countries as a result of the global pandemic and will re-visit adaptations made in response, lessons learned, and what recommendations to take forward to address current and future disruptions to learning.
  • Edtech solutions and their scaling implications, particularly in reaching the “last mile” (September 2021). This session will focus on the promise and perils of education technology for improving education for all sustainably and at scale.
  • Exploring how costing data can inform scaling decisions (November 2021): This session will focus on the importance of cost data to inform scaling decisions, and more specifically, how to move from a focus on project resources to larger-scale and more sustainable sources of financing, such as national education budgets.

The Education Working Group invites all CoP members to participate in any of these sessions as well as to contribute to facilitating discussions, presenting relevant work, and/or suggesting a presenter. After each webinar, the working group plans to post a reflection piece synthesizing the discussion on the CoP website.

Fragile States Working Group

Jonathan Papoulidis (World Vision)

Robert S Chase (World Bank)

  • The working group hosted a discussion on March 26th led by two of its members, Aprille Knox (JPAL) and Nessa Kenny (IPA), on Intergroup Contact in Fragile Contexts: Emerging Insights for Adapting and Scaling Interventions. A recording is available to WG members and on the website.
  • On February 12, several working group/CoP members participated in a workshop on adaptive scaling hosted by Columbia World Projects, where Jonathan Papoulidis is currently a fellow and working on this topic. A report from the workshop is expected in May and will be shared with the WG and posted on the website. Larry Cooley and Jonathan Papoulidis are also working on a paper on adaptive scaling in fragile states which will be shared with the WG for input.
  • The working group’s scope of work involves: (a) applying scaling up approaches to bridge humanitarian and development interventions; (b) elaborating on the obstacles to scaling in fragile states and how they have been overcome, or when scaling should not have been attempted; (c) promoting adaptive, resilient and politically-smart methods for scaling; and (d) examining ways to strengthen country institutions and mobilize private sector finance for sustainable scaling in a range of fragile contexts.

The group’s next meeting will take place in June. If WG colleagues would like to present on their work and its implications for scaling in fragile states, or invite their partners/collaborators to present, please contact Rob and Jonathan.

Health Working Group

Laura J. Ghiron (ExpandNet and the Evidence to Action Project)

The Health Working group (HWG) is transitioning from its double-hatted role when it served simultaneously as the Community of Practice on Systematic Scale up in Family Planning and Reproductive Health, led by the Evidence to Action Project, the leadership for which now rests with FHI360. In its new direction, the Health Technical Working Group is taking on a broader mandate to address scaling issues in global public health across a range of technical areas. The goal is to provide an interdisciplinary forum in which technical exchange on scale up can take place across often verticalized thematic silos to facilitate comparative learning.

Work is underway to broaden the membership of the HWG to engage a wide range of experts to address a variety of scaling issues and health topics. Members of the Scaling CoP are warmly invited to join the group and to identify colleagues who may wish to consider doing so. An inaugural webinar for the reformulated and expanded group is being planned for the coming quarter.

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Working Group

Larry Cooley (MSI)

John Floretta (J-PAL)

The M&E Working Group did not have an official meeting during the last quarter but did have a lively series of exchanges among members of the group on the subjects of adaptive management, measuring institutionalization, and information utilization. The subject is holding its next meeting on April 22nd. Cos-sponsored with the CoP’s Education Working Group, the session will focus on the effective use of randomized control studies and cost-benefit analysis to inform operational and policy decisions about scaling, as illustrated by fascinating research on one of the world’s largest early childhood development program. Watch your inboxes and the CoP website for an invitation to the event or reach out to Natalie Colangelo at

Between June and September, the M&E Working Group will feature a series of monthly webinars probing issues and options related to measuring and evaluating “institutionalization” of

interventions, with special focus on interventions that aspire to scale through government and other national systems. The sessions will examine cases of large-scale interventions in agriculture, education, health, and nutrition, with the intention of identifying lessons that span sectoral divisions. The initial webinars will highlight reflections from large non-profits that have collaborated with governments to transfer and scale interventions through governmental, or government- sanctioned, structures; the latter webinars will feature insights from donors who have funded this work over the past decade.

Nutrition Working Group

Chytanya Kompala (Eleanor Crook Foundation)

Dylan Walters (Nutrition International) dwalters@NUTRITIONINTL.ORG

The Nutrition Scaling Working Group’s (NSWG) membership has now grown to 150 members. The group plans to host a joint meeting with one or more other CoP working group in the coming months. The NSWG looks forward to publishing their Retrospective Review on the state of scaling of high-impact nutrition programs in the coming weeks. Details on the next NSWG meeting will be shared soon.

Social Enterprise Scaling Up Working Group

Isabel Guerrero (IMAGO)

Elaine Tinsley (World Bank)

In early March, the Social Enterprise (SE) Working Group hosted a webinar on Scaling-up

During COVID: Social Enterprise Digital Solutions for Supporting Women and Refugees. The webinar had Jean Guo from KONEXIO and Marysela Zamora from Nosotras who discussed their business models, impact, and scaling strategies in the context of COVID. Their presentations on 2 very different social enterprises was followed by a lively Q&A with participants, moderated by Isabel Guerrero. You can watch the webinar here. The next SE Working Group webinar is being planned for May 2021 and will address the development of the Social Enterprise Ecosystem in Brazil. The session will include guests from the Brazilian Alliance for Impact Businesses, a network with diverse stakeholders that since 2014 have been connecting and supporting strategic action areas to strengthen the SE field in Brazil.

Youth Employment Working Group

Elizabeth Vance (International Youth Foundation, IYF)

Hisham Jabi (Consultant, World Bank) Jessica Ngo (MSI)

The Youth Employment Working Group (YEWG) is planning six “coffee and bagel” roundtables in 2021 to foster learning and knowledge sharing among its members. The six roundtables will cover emerging themes and best practices on scaling up youth employment. They include: private sector engagement, the role of non-governmental organizations, policy interventions to scale up effective youth programs, leveraging evidence for action, labor market disruptions due to COVID-19 and automation, and cross-sectoral approaches to scaling and sustaining youth programs. The YEWG disseminated a survey to working group members to sign up to present on themes relevant to their technical focus or field work. The first roundtable will be held in April – stay tuned for more information!

Calendar of meetings for the Youth Employment Work Group:

  • Tuesday April 21 – Policy Level Interventions by Governments
  • Tuesday June 9 – Non-profits & Other Platforms
  • Tuesday July 21 – Labor Market Disruptions
  • Tuesday Sept 1 – Holistic Approaches
  • Tuesday Nov 2 – Leveraging Evidence for Action
  • Thursday Dec 2 — Role of Private Sector in Scaling Up Youth Employment

Member News (in alphabetical order)

Brookings Center of Universal Education (CUE) (Education)

Education Scalability Checklist (ESC): In an effort to support governments, funders and education organizations to scale up effective education initiatives, VVOB led a process with the Brookings Center for Universal Education, Educate!, Management Systems International (MSI), Pratham, and STiR Education to develop the Education Scalability Checklist and an accompanying User Guide. Adapted from a sectoragnostic Scalability Checklist first developed by MSI in 2006 and since applied in 40+ countries, the new ESC is meant to help determine the ease of scaling a particular education initiative— not as a one-off evaluative exercise but as a dynamic diagnostic tool to help identify areas where an initiative might require further consideration and adaptations in order to increase the likelihood of scaling. For more information, you can also read a recent blog on the ESC published on the Brookings website, or watch the recording of a recent Scaling Up Community of Practice Education Working Group webinar focused on the ESC.

A year later: Reflections on learning, adapting, and scaling education interventions during COVID19.” In this blog, the authors reflect on how the past year has really put to the test scaling principles and elucidated important lessons about catalyzing and sustaining transformative change in rapidly evolving contexts. Through the example of the case of scaling Teaching at the Right Level in Botswana, the blog offers several insights and reflections that may be useful more broadly for those working to effect large- scale improvements in children’s learning, particularly in low-resource environments.

Contact: Molly Curtiss Wyss (

CASE (Duke University) (Social Enterprises)

How do social enterprises and the funders that support them achieve impact at scale even in times of crisis, such as outbreak of war or disease? In light of the mass disruption caused by COVID-19, CASE is working with its Scaling Pathways partners on a new video interview series called Scaling Through Mass Disruption, which captures how social enterprises are adapting, pivoting, managing finances, engaging teams, and so much more in times of crisis. The social enterprises interviewed share advice and insights that are not only relevant for the present situation, but also help identify trends and lessons learned that can prepare organizations for inevitable future crises and disruptions. disruption/ Scaling Pathways is a partnership between the Skoll Foundation, USAID, Mercy Corps Ventures, and CASE at Duke to curate and share scaling insights from the world’s leading social entrepreneurs. See more at


CGIAR (Agriculture)

Webinar series on scaling: The CGIAR global agricultural research partnership is transitioning to the One CGIAR. As part of this effort, the GIZ/CGIAR Task Force on Scaling. and the CGIAR science leaders organized a series of four webinars to integrate state-of-the-art thinking about scaling in the development of new initiatives. Johannes Linn, Larry Cooley and 35 ARD WG members who also work for the CGIAR contributed to the process, along with many others.

A blog and four briefs were developed:

Brief 1: Scaling Web Conference Series with the CGIAR Science Leaders, sets out the rationale for embedding scaling strategies in the design of research for development programs.

Brief 2: Scaling Principles, offers a framework of actionable principles based on established scaling guidelines.

Brief 3: Scaling Approaches and Tools, outlines key features of selected scaling tools and approaches and lists additional resources for scaling and food system transformation.

Brief 4: Scaling Glossary, presents a unified terminology for programming scaling activities and improving collaboration of scaling teams.

Contact: Maria Boa (, Frank Place (, or Lennart Woltering (

Webinar series on scaling in agriculture: CoP co-curator Larry Cooley and ARD Working Group members Marc Schut and Julie Howard spoke at a series of three webinars March 2-4 co-organized by IITA and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, “Private Sector Engagement in Commercializing Agricultural Innovations to Improve Food Safety and Nutrition.” The webinars examined lessons from a decade or more of experience in developing and scaling innovations such as Aflasafe, PICS bags, and biofortified crops, and explored practical implications for the design of future efforts. Recordings and additional materials can be found at

Key takeaways: Speakers noted the central role that innovations – technical, institutional and policy – will play in reconceptualizing and rebuilding the world’s food system post-pandemic and achieving SDG2 by 2030. Adopting an ecosystem approach that connects and leverages key partners, and focuses not only on productivity but also on health outcomes and environmental sustainability, will be critical.

Other observations included the following: Diverse partners including farmers, industry associations, and a range of government agencies must be engaged in discussions about innovations from the beginning. Scalable innovations must have a clear business case. Innovations must be demand-led and continuously adapt to the needs of consumers. Government policies, standards, and regulations are key determinants of whether investments in food safety and nutrition innovations will be attractive for private sector investment. Large institutional purchases of food for school, military, and hospital feeding programs can significantly expand public awareness and demand for safer and more nutritious foods. New financing tools are needed that blend traditional, donor, private sector, and philanthropic sources of capital to address risk, especially for small and medium enterprises and to meet the costs of providing ongoing technical assistance. Finally, the pandemic has illuminated the great potential to leverage digital innovation and infrastructure to collect and share data, connect ecosystem partners, and shorten the lag time between innovation and scaling.

Contact: Julie Howard (

Scaling seed uptake: The dissemination of quality seed preferred by farmers, consumers, and other agri- food system actors is a critical mechanism through which the restructured One CGIAR and its partners will deliver at scale on its five impact areas—nutrition, poverty, gender, climate, and environment—and meet the second Sustainable Development Goal of zero hunger by 2030. Getting uptake of these varieties at scale is a singular challenge. The “Crops to End Hunger Initiative” of the CGIAR aims to accelerate varietal turnover, quality seed use, and realization of genetic gains in farmers’ fields through a concerted effort to strengthen seed systems in CGIAR focal countries and regions. Delivery of improved varieties at scale is the objective of the partners that support this Initiative. Their experience confirms that planning for scale must begin at the outset of trait selection, prior to any breeding, though market segmentation and establishment of a target product profile for the characteristics desired in a new variety. A description of this approach can be found at

Contact: Mark Huisenga (


Educate! has expanded into a new area of work: remote learning bootcamps for out-of-school youth. They are working to build alternatives to secondary school for the large number of youth in Africa who can’t access post-primary education. These youth enter a labor market where the informal sector makes up as many as 85% of jobs, often without the skills that would enable them to earn a sustainable living.

Educate!’s new bootcamps are intensive and affordable in an effort to expand access to its evidence- based skill-building solutions. This work was recognized by the Gates Foundation last year as a promising effort accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development goals. Educate! sees a major opportunity to scale this adaptable model as a legitimate non-formal education pathway for out-of- school youth who can’t access traditional school. An additional advantage of bootcamps is their flexibility to be adapted to local context, youth needs, and interests — built around strategic growth sectors, specific target groups, or informal economy business models, such as food stands and cleaners.

Educate! recently published an article in Brookings detailing how the challenges imposed by the pandemic have led it to focus on new and lasting pathways to equity in education, like these remote bootcamps. Additional programmatic and organizational responses to the pandemic and to social equity concerns are also explored in detail in this blog.

Contact: Cate Daniels (

Eleanor Crook Foundation (Nutrition)

 “Scaleup of severe wasting management within the health system. A stakeholder perspective on current progress. A stakeholder perspective on current progress”

By B. Akwanyi, P. James, P., N. Lelijveld, and E. Mates. ENN March 2021

Wasting is a critical issue for child survival and development, with therapeutic treatment of severe cases recognized as an essential intervention for achieving global wasting and mortality targets. There have been many efforts to scale up severe wasting treatment over the past 10 years with the ultimate aim of achieving national and international coverage of a sustainable, quality service provided as an integral part of the health system and supported by a strong community base. However, progress is slow and only up to 25% of children who need treatment are currently accessing it. After completing a comprehensive scoping study on ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) in 2020 and in preparation for the ‘CMAM 20 Years On’ conference, Emergency Nutrition Network (ENN) thought the time was right to synthesize reflections on the past decade of experiences of scaling up severe wasting treatment into routine primary health services. This report summarizes key informant perspectives, supported by a literature review, to highlight the current state of the scale-up of severe wasting services while drawing out some of the key barriers and enablers of this process. This report does not aim to describe ENN’s perspective, but rather it offers a qualitative synthesis of the perspectives of key informants to provide an up-to-date snapshot of how people are thinking and acting on the topic of severe wasting treatment scale-up.

Contact: Chytanya Kompala (

Evidence to Action (E2A) (Health)

On March 31, 2021, the Evidence to Action (E2A) Project, USAID’s global flagship for strengthening reproductive health and family planning service delivery ends. For almost 10 years, across 17 countries, E2A focused on partnering with governments, local NGOs, and communities to increase support, build evidence, and facilitate the scale-up of what works for expanding access to quality health care that can transform families, communities, and nations. E2A and its partners, including scale-up leader

ExpandNet, gained significant experience applying systematic scale-up approaches in multiple countries. Together, E2A and ExpandNet helped establish and serve as co-chairs of the Global Community of Practice on Systematic Approaches for Scale-up of Family Planning/Reproductive Health Best Practices. To join this CoP, now led by the Research for Scalable Solutions (R4S) project, visit As E2A draws to a close, its scale-up learnings and resources— from implementation in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Kenya and Uganda—will be made available on the website of its lead organization, Pathfinder International:

Contact: Rita Badiani (

ExpandNet (General)

ExpandNet was invited to contribute a chapter entitled “Scaling up evidence-based interventions” to a forthcoming book entitled “Practical Implementation Science”. This is intended as a textbook for graduate professional students in public health and related fields. The text is being edited by colleagues at the University of Washington Department of Global Health which has a long history of teaching implementation science. The chapter provides an overview of ExpandNet’s systematic approach to scale up, and provides a newly elaborated focus on management of the scale-up process.

This is the third phase of ExpandNet’s scaling up trajectory. The first phase focused on planning and implementing pilot projects and other programmatic research with scaling up in mind. The second phase addressed the systematic development of a scaling-up strategy for interventions that have evidence of effectiveness and feasibility for implementation within local systems.

ExpandNet members recently began collaborating with Save the Children’s Gates Foundation-funded “Connect Project”. This exciting initiative seeks to build on USAID bilaterally-funded investments in Bangladesh and Tanzania to test and sustainably scale up interventions addressing the maternal, newborn, and reproductive health needs of first-time parents.

ExpandNet members have been helping to plan the Global Implementation Conference which will take place virtually May 3-6, 2021. To learn more about this conference, which has scaling and sustainment as a major theme, please visit ExpandNet members from DRC, Uganda, and the United States will be offering a 90-minute master-class workshop on scale up, as well as an “Ask the experts” session as part of the proceedings.

Contact: Laura Ghiron (

FHI 360 (Family Health International) (Health)

A wise person once said, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Going far together exemplifies a decade of collaboration, growth, and accomplishments by the Systematic Approaches to Scale-Up of FP/RH Community of Practice (CoP). Spearheaded by USAID, Evidence to

Action, ExpandNet, and the IBP Network, the secretariat role now resides with the Research for Scalable Solutions project (R4S)/FHI 360. As the new convener of that CoP, R4S/FHI 360 leverages a long history of leadership in family planning and implementation science and is committed to inclusive dialogue in shaping the CoP’s future. The short survey to voice opinions on structure and topics for future events of that CoP is still open. All are invited to share thoughts and connections.

In addition to feedback on the CoP, the March 2, 2021 partners meeting examined Evaluating Scale, Quality of Implementation, Cost, and Cost-Effectiveness of High Impact Practices in FP in Uganda, Mozambique, and Nepal.

Interested individuals are invited to join the CoP on the IBP Xchange, subscribe to the listserv, and invite your colleagues to join.

Contact: Kirsten Krueger (

GIZ (General)

 “Transforming our work: Getting ready for transformational projects Guidance”.

By GIZ. February 2020

A number of global development challenges do not seem to be solved by gradually changing or reforming current ways of production, consumption, transport or other systems. For years, actors in academia, policy, and practice have been calling for more action on ‘transformational change’, meaning a change that is profound enough to shift societies onto fundamentally different development pathways. This guide sheds light on transformation from a range of literature and disciplinary perspectives and explores the practical application of design principles for transformative change interventions. Since transformations require changing social values, norms, and behavior, transformative interventions need to be very deliberate about their approach towards social change. Throughout, this guidance argues for questioning existing modes of working and current approaches to designing and implementing projects, emphasizing the need to transform our work before transforming our world.

Contact: Sabrina Storm (

Green Climate Fund (GCF) (Climate Change)

 “Assessing the likelihood of transformational change at the Green Climate Fund.

By Jyotsna Puri, Martin Prowse, Emma De Roy and David Huang, March 2021

Global climate finance institutions aim to spur the transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient economies. The GCF is one such institution and aims to assist the most vulnerable to adapt to and mitigate climate change as part of its mandate to contribute to a paradigm shift towards low-carbon and climate-resilient development pathways. This paper reviews project documents from 125 GCF investments through March 2020 to examine progress towards these goals. It examines attributes of investments made by the GCF by applying a framework for transformational change comprising eight components and uses bivariate statistics and multivariate cluster analysis to examine the GCF’s project portfolio of mitigation, cross-cutting, and adaptation projects.

Contact: Andrew Hollander (

Global Solutions Summit (General)

GSS is pleased to announce that the Nobel Prize Organizing Committee invited the Global Solutions Summit to host a panel entitled, “From Results in the Lab to Results on the Ground.” The panel will convene on April 28 at 11:00 am in connection with Day 3 of the 2021 Nobel Prize Summit, “Our Planet Our Future. Registration for the GSS panel is free and open to the public. To register for the GSS panel, please click here.  Registration for the Nobel Prize Summit is also free and open to the public.  To register for the Nobel Prize Summit, please click here.

Contact: Alfred Watkins (

HarvestPlus (Agriculture, Health, Nutrition)

 “HarvestPlus Updates Biofortification Priority Index with More Crops and Features.

By Destan Aytekin and Ekin Birol, Harvest Plus. April 2021

This blog introduces HarvestPlus’ flagship tool, the Biofortification Priority Index, that informs where to scale up biofortification. HarvestPlus developed this tool to inform data-driven decisions for scaling up of biofortification. For each biofortified staple crop, this user-friendly, interactive tool ranks 128 low and middle-income countries by the impact potential of biofortification of that crop in that country, thereby identifying the biggest bang for the buck strategic decisions for investments in biofortification. Breeders can use this tool to guide or confirm decisions on research priorities for biofortification breeding; NGOs and humanitarian organizations can use it to make decisions on target locations for programs, and aid; the private sector can use it to identify profitable investment opportunities for biofortified products (e.g., seed and food); and the international finance institutions and governments can utilize it to make decisions on introduction and scaling of biofortified crops.

Contact: Destan Aytekin (

IPA (Innovations for Poverty Action) (Education)

 Can a Telenovela Help Kids Stay in School during COVID19?” By Sergio De Marco and Barbara Sparrow. IPA. 17 March 2021

“Decidiendo para un Futuro Mejor” is a cost-effective intervention that was scaled up to reduce dropout in Peru by providing high school students information and helping correct misconceptions about future earnings and career benefits from continuing their education. As schools closed during COVID-19, many students were at risk of not going back once schools reopened, so IPA and the World Bank teamed up with MineduLAB to update and adapt the videos to “Aprendo en Casa”, the ministry’s remote education program. The videos were then broadcast nationwide, and IPA is now working with researchers Francisco Gallego, Oswaldo Molina, and Christopher Neilson, using an encouragement design and administrative data to evaluate their impact.

Contact: Jose Pinilla (

International Rescue Committee (IRC) (Early Childhood Development)

 “Strengthening sustainable early childhood development (ECD) programming in Lebanon through the Ahlan Simsim/Play to Learn scaling approach. By Chantale Kallas. IRC. April 2021

Vulnerable infants and children in Lebanon, including Syrian refugees between the ages of 0 and 5, face a general lack of quality early childhood support and are frequently exposed to stressful home environments. Often, they don’t have access to pre-school or daycare services that support their early development. This is due to an unequal distribution of daycares and nurseries between central urban and rural areas. There is also a lack of unified national standards to ensure healthy, child-friendly, safe and inclusive daycares and nurseries in Lebanon. With the aim of bridging this gap and boosting children’s access to quality early childhood education, the Ahlan Simsim team started working in partnership with Early Childhood Development (ECD) actors and government entities in Lebanon. Throughout 2020, the IRC and its partners worked together to build scaling initiatives within a volatile and challenging context. More on the IRC experience and the key takeaways of the process can be found on the blog.

Contact: Maria El Koussa (

J-PAL (Agriculture, Climate Change, General)

J-P AL recently released a new “evidence to policy” case study examining how Precision Agriculture for Development was established in part based on RCT evidence and how they continue to use research and learning to scale agriculture extension advisory services to farmers in LMICs: “Phone-based technology for agricultural information delivery.”

Globally, more than 570 million households farm small plots of land to earn income. Traditional agricultural extension models that provide in-person advice to smallholder farmers are expensive, difficult to scale, and do not deliver the customized and timely information farmers need to adopt potentially profitable farming practices. Research from India and Kenya has shown that mobile phone- based extension can be an efficient and cost-effective way to deliver tailored and timely agricultural information to farmers to promote behavior change that can increase farmers’ yields and incomes. Building on this evidence, Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD) was founded in 2016 with a mission to diffuse extension advisory and support smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries with information delivered via their mobile phones. PAD continues to use research and learning to scale—now reaching over 3.56 million farmers in nine countries with evidence-informed mobile extension services, as of the third quarter of 2020. To learn more about PAD’s model and how they continue to use evidence to guide their work, read J-PAL’s latest “Evidence to Policy” case study.

Contact: Aprille Knox (

King Climate Action Initiative announces new research to test and scale climate solutions: J-PAL’s King Climate Action Initiative recently concluded its inaugural funding competition to help generate rigorous evidence and scale solutions at the nexus of climate change and poverty alleviation. Focused on mitigation, pollution reduction, adaptation, and energy access, the 14 research and scaling projects are critical to developing a longer playbook of effective climate change programs and policies. Research is part of a $25 million effort to generate evidence on the real-world effectiveness of policies and programs at the intersection of poverty and climate change.

Esther Duflo to chair new development fund in France: The French government announced plans to launch the Fund for Innovation in Development (FID) to test, develop, and scale evidence-informed innovations to reduce poverty and inequality in low- and middle-income countries. Esther Duflo (MIT; Director, J-PAL; Scientific Director, J-PAL South Asia) will serve as the Fund’s inaugural chair. FID is expected to launch in early spring with €15 million in funding for its first year.

LEAP Africa (Agriculture)

 “Food Entrepreneurs in Africa: Scaling Resilient Agriculture Businesses. by Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli.

Routledge, 2021.

Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the agriculture and food sector in Africa, which is projected to exceed a trillion dollars by 2030. This book is the first practical primer to equip and support entrepreneurs in Africa through the process of starting and growing successful and resilient agriculture and food businesses that will transform the continent. Through the use of case studies and practical guidance, the book reveals how entrepreneurs can leverage technology and innovation to leapfrog and adapt to climate change, ensuring that Africa can feed itself and even the world.

Contact: Ndidi Nwuneli (

MacArthur Foundation/Carrot (General)

In 2016, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation sponsored a prize competition to identify and distribute a single $100 million grant. That program, 100&Change, attracted thousands of organizations from around the world to submit their boldest ideas. The winner is a team of global development experts, who combined mixed media (Sesame Street) with a deep-rooted understanding of the educational needs of refugee children displaced by conflict and persecution (International Rescue Committee). But, even more important, shortly after the announcement a searchable database was published providing access to the non-winning proposals. Over $450 million has been invested from third-parties willing to attribute those allocations to the use of the 100&Change Search Engine.

This theme of hosting competitions to surface new and effective applications, often including diverse and under-represented solvers, continues to gain attention. At the same time, local interests are adopting prizes to address community needs. From homelessness to economic development, prizes are quickly becoming an important tool for foundations, government agencies, and family offices. As we witness so much experimentation, certain themes are now recognized as hallmarks of a well-designed program. First, it’s never just about the winners. Today, participants have many opportunities to register to compete, and the savviest are asking “what do I get if I don’t win,” a question that – if not answered – will buffet results. Second, we must embrace greater openness, transparency, and fairness. Prizes can attract new pools of talent, particularly from disciplines that otherwise would not focus on the target problem, but people will only participate if they are ensured a level playing field. Last, prizes are a two- sided coin, and while the advantages of free-market competition are well-known, the best programs also seek to build communities of practice, where like-minded people can connect and share ideas. This last point has inspired the use of new tools, such as Carrot’s Peer-to-Peer review process that many of the largest prizes are using, whereby those on the front-lines of a cause first must judge each other before experts will assess top-ranking teams. By combining sophisticated principles of game theory, electoral systems, assessment methodologies, and a heavy dose of marketing and media (we all love to see a good competition), the field of prizes is maturing. The carnival barking and winner-take-all attitudes of the early days are now replaced by credible and ground-breaking platforms that can be customized to meet each sponsor’s needs. To learn more, please visit

Contact: Jaison Morgan (

Management Systems International (General)

MSI recently released a substantially revised version of its 2012 scaling Toolkit

( The Toolkit is a companion publication to MSI’s widely-used 3-step, 10-task management framework for scaling which was published in its 3rd Edition in 2016. The Toolkit contains a total of 13 Tools to support (1) planning with scale in mind; (2) assessing scalability; and (3) managing the scaling process. It includes a new protocol for scaling plans, new tools for adaptive management during scaling and for assessing institutionalization, and guidance for establishing and operating “Real-time Scaling Labs”.

Contact: Larry Cooley (

Overseas Development Institute (ODI) (Justice)

 “Sierra Leone shows lowcost scaling up of community based legal advice and assistance is possible. By Marcus Manuel and Clare Manuel. ODI. April 2021.

Forthcoming ODI research shows that the new, mainly government-funded, Sierra Leone Legal Aid Board has scaled up community-based justice advice and assistance by a factor of 10 and has done so affordably, reducing unit costs by a factor of at least 5 compared to previous foundation and donor- supported programs. The Board was created in 2015 and now deploys paralegals across the country. ODI estimates it is meeting one-third of the demand for justice advice and assistance.

Contact: Marcus Manuel (

Paris Peace Forum (General)

The Paris Peace Forum is launching its fourth Call for Projects to help project leaders offering concrete solutions to global governance challenges to take a step forward. Selected projects will be showcased in the Forum’s Space for Solutions, in Paris and/or virtually, on 11-13 November 2021. Participation offers project leaders a unique opportunity to:

  • benefit from international and high-level visibility and exposure through a physical and/or virtual stall;
  • share their views on the global governance issue they address through a place on a debate stage; and
  • interact with experts and senior decision-makers in your field.

Selected projects will also be considered for a year of personalized support through the Paris Peace Forum’s Scaleup initiative. If you believe your project is beyond the concept stage, stands out by its international and cooperative dimension, and can create sustainable change in global governance, you are invited to apply before 23:59 Paris time (CET) on 9 May 2021, using the online form available at

Contact: Robin Nataf (

PASO Colombia (Agriculture)

Paso Colombia began two years ago to implement projects that are giving signs of organically scaling: one is associated with egg production that started with 200 eggs a week and this year is expected to deliver 1.2 million. Another has to do with feed and fertilizer production that has gone from providing fertilizer to one farm and this year it is expected to expand fertilizer to 17 municipal councils. On both projects PASO has observed the following:

  1. Enthusiasm, willingness to be part of the project, and territorial expansion result from proven financial, environmental, and social benefits.
  2. The initiative to scale arises from the bottom and not the top. Local entrepreneurs with a leadership role in their communities are the first to discover the potential and communicate it to others.
  3. At some point, local authorities and subnational governments acknowledge the importance of the intervention and show willingness to join because the size, equity considerations, and sustainability that make it politically attractive to do so.
  4. This starts to attract a variety of other private stakeholders who are looking for a place in the new opportunities.

Although it is early to say how large the projects are going to grow, there is a great potential that their success will inspire others in other parts of the country to learn from this experience.

Contact: Juan Fernando Lucio (

Rice University (Fred Oswald) (Workforce)

Scaling up Workforce Science: Organizations are increasingly using modern technology to collect diverse, high-volume, and real-time workforce data. They apply AI and machine learning algorithms to these data, hoping to reap the benefits of improved employee productivity and well-being at work. However, just because we now have vast and powerful technologies for data collection and analysis, and just because solutions can be scalable, does not mean that we will obtain better and scalable workforce solutions in the end. Scientifically sound workforce solutions require high-quality data, measurement and analysis (not simply big data), and interpretable and informative results (not simply prediction for its own sake). They also critically require the capacities for scaling appropriately within and across organizations. Addressing this context, Dr. Fred Oswald (Professor and Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences) led a three-day virtual workshop (Feb 24-26, 2021) titled Workforce Science in the Big Data Era: Improving Measurement, Modeling, and Meaning. The workshop convened renowned national experts from the disciplines of industrial-organizational psychology, educational measurement, personality psychology, and computer science. The workshop was supported by Rice University’s Office of Research, with additional support from the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Social and Behavioral Sciences (ARI; W911NF-19-1-0314).Learn more about Dr. Oswald and his graduate students’ work at

Contact: Fred Oswald (

Syntegral (Violence against Children)

Joseph Petraglia (Syntegral) and Rebecka Lundgren (University of California-San Diego) recently completed a guide to the adaptation and scale up of INSPIRE, the global, seven-strategy initiative to end violence against children established by a consortium of leading agencies including WHO, UNICEF, End Violence, CDC, Together for Girls, USAID, World Bank and others ( They view the opportunity for innovation as twofold: to integrate adaptation and scale-up methodologies into a single content as well as to address the distinctive challenge of scaling up a multisectoral approach such as INSPIRE, in contrast to a single intervention or sector-specific activity. Insights arising from engaging in these challenges form the core of an approach they are calling CASM (Calibrating Adaptation and Scale in Multisectoral Programs). The online INSPIRE guide (forthcoming) will be available in English, French, Khmer, and Spanish and consists of five modules covering topics such as the selection of activities to adapt and scale, development of adaptive capacity, benchmarking horizontal and vertical scale, the comparative analysis of implementation contexts at “model’ and “target” sites, and getting multisectoral partners pulling in the same programmatic direction. The guide’s appendix contains several tools that support these and other adaptation and scale priorities.

Contact: Joseph Petraglia (

World Vision Australia (Climate Change, General)

The restoration of degraded landscapes relies on changes at, literally, the grassroots. The values and actions of women, men and youth who live and manage their land will determine the form and rate of its restoration. Grassroots regreening movements are needed to challenge environmental degradation at the appropriate scale to make meaningful impacts. Grassroots movements of Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration have spread through the process of each community adapting the practice to meet its own needs and then inspiring and supporting others to do so. When more and more people are seen taking up FMNR and other regreening practices of their own accord, these grassroots movements become selfsustaining. The power and impact of a self-sustaining grassroots movement can be further enhanced by creating an enabling environment of supportive policies, markets and institutions. Regreening relies on grassroots movements to change mindsets and land management practices, and demand supportive policies. To support such movements, donors need to work across multiple scales and sectors in ways that empower communities to define land management aims. Monitoring and evaluating grassroots regreening movements involves understanding social networks and information flows.

Contact: Alice Muller (

Publications and Other Initiatives


The world’s largest NGO rethinks its future.

By Jenny Lei Ravelo 13 January 202. Devex

“Some of our friends will say, BRAC is [the] world’s least known, No. 1 organization,” Muhammad Musa, executive director of BRAC International, tells us.

BRAC, considered the world’s largest NGO, is aiming to expand its partnerships and engage more in advocacy work to scale its impact. If there’s one theme the pandemic has surfaced, it’s the importance of working together, says the executive director. “The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted a fact we already knew — that increased partnership is necessary to collectively solve the issues that we face,” Musa says. Senior Reporter Jenny Lei Ravelo speaks with the executive director to find out more about the NGO’s plans.

The untapped role of universities in scaling innovation.

By Michael M. Crow. Devex. 15 February 2021

Capacity strengthening in university design can drive positive development outcomes. Arizona State University President Michael Crow explains.

Building back from COVID19 Creating economic opportunities for the poorest.

By Mamta Murthi, Michal Rutkowski. World Bank Blog. 17 March 2021

It is increasingly apparent that the costs of COVID-19 will be borne disproportionately by poorer segments of society, especially in lower income countries. Women, children and displaced populations have been hardest hit. This crisis – more so than other crises before – requires scalable solutions for the world’s poorest. For many countries, this presents unchartered territory. Just over one decade ago, the world was beset by the triple threat of the Food, Fuel and Financial Crisis.  Back then, scalable response options for the poorest looked quite different. To a large extent, national social safety net programs were just taking off across low income countries. Concerted efforts to build and restore human capital – i.e. the knowledge, skills, and health that people need to realize their potential – were not the central part of recovery efforts. Cross-sector solutions remained a challenge. The evidence base on what works for the poorest was lacking. Fast forward ten years, and the world looks different in many respects. One area of innovation is the progress and potential for scaling up “big push” economic inclusion programs for the poorest. As highlighted in the recent State of Economic Inclusion Report (SEI) 2021 – Moving to Scale, there has been a dramatic push in recent years by governments across the world to promote resilience and opportunities for the world’s poorest, with increasing signs of evidence that these investments can be impactful and cost effective.

The Case for EvidenceBased Innovation and Implications for USAID (and Beyond).

By Jocilyn Estes, David Evans and Sarah Rose, Center for Global Development, 25 February 2021 Governments, impact investors, and philanthropists are increasingly looking for innovative ways to address tricky development challenges. USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV)—which celebrated its 10-year anniversary last year—was set up to do just that. By openly soliciting proposals for innovative solutions to development problems, selecting promising candidates to pilot and rigorously test, and/or helping scale those that

prove successful, DIV is oriented around results. But when you’re in the business of trying new, untested approaches, not every investment will have a meaningful impact. So how can USAID and other social investors, along with their key stakeholders, evaluate whether they are achieving the right balance of innovation and risk?

Professor Michael Kremer—co-recipient of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics and co- founder of DIV—along with coauthors Sasha Gallant, Olga Rostapshova, and Milan Thomas, offer an answer to this question. They argue that the case for investment in development innovation rests not on the success or failure of individual investments but on portfolio-wide returns. And, looking at DIV’s early portfolio, they present an exceptionally strong case. Their initial estimates suggest this set of investments generated a 5 to 1 ratio of social benefits to costs. And it’s likely to be even higher! Forthcoming research by the same team, using updated impact estimates and capturing a wider array of benefits, suggests that DIV’s early portfolio yielded at least $17 in social benefit for each dollar invested, an impressive rate of return by any standard.

CGD had the privilege of hosting Kremer to discuss this researchthe calculation of the social rate of return, the features of DIV’s structure and operational model that contribute to its success, and the implications for other social investors. This blog summarizes some of the key points and findings, and also extrapolates from the work to draw lessons for how new leadership at USAID might approach its broader programming.

For Kremer et al. paper see: Is Development Innovation a Good Investment? Which Innovations Scale? Evidence on social investing from USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures.

Agriculture and Rural Development

Upscaling Climate Smart Agriculture: Lessons for Extension and Advisory Services.

By Rasheed Sulaiman, Delgermaa Chuluunbaatar, Sreeram Vishnu. FAO, December 2018

This paper explores how extension and advisory services (EAS) should be organized to support the upscaling of climate smart agriculture and approaches the task by drawing lessons for EAS from four successful cases where this has been done. The paper builds upon and uses the Innovation Management Framework, which identifies three elements that are critical for innovation: functions, actions, and tools.

Scale, Design, and Follow Through: Lessons on moving from a development project to a business in  Vietnam’s AloWeather Project.

By Care International, no date.

AloWeather started with the Agro-Climate Information Services project which helped ethnic minority farmers in Vietnam access weather forecasts and advisories. The project was a success but difficult to scale, depending on direct service delivery. It was an incredibly complex business model, with many different actors, financial flows, and incentives. The implementing team never fully understood the business model.

Community Development

Designing for Scale and taking scale to account: lessons from a community scorecard project in Uganda

By Elizabeth Ekirapa Kiracho, Christine Aanyu, Rebecca Racheal Apolot, Suzanne Namusoke Kiwanuka, Ligia Paina. January 2021 International Journal for Equity in Health 20(1).

Background Planning for the implementation of community scorecards (CSC) is an important, though seldom documented process. Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) and Future Health Systems Consortium set out to develop and test a sustainable and scalable CSC model. This paper documents the process of planning and adapting the design of the CSC, incorporating key domains of the scalable model such as embeddedness, legitimacy, feasibility, and ownership, challenges encountered in this process, and how they were mitigated. The CSC intervention included five rounds of scoring in five sub-counties and one town council of Kibuku district. Data were drawn from ten focus group discussions, seven key informant interviews with local and sub-national leaders, and one reflection meeting with the project team from MakSPH. More data was abstracted from notes of six quarterly stakeholder meetings and six quarterly project meetings. Data was analyzed using a thematic approach, drawing constructs outlined in the project’s theory of change. The challenges encountered included limited technical capacity of stakeholders facilitating the CSC, poor functionality of existing community engagement platforms, and difficulty in promoting community participation without financial incentives. However, these challenges were mitigated through adjustments to the intervention design based on the feedback received.

The study provides guidelines for governments seeking to scale up CSCs and to take scale to account. It suggests ways to adapt existing models to the local implementation context and to avoid elite capture.

Disaster Risk Reduction

Understanding and measuring scalability in disaster risk reduction.  

By Vaughan-Lee, H., Moriniere, L.C., Bremaud, I. and Turnbull, M. (2018), Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 407-420.

Despite increased attention to, and investment in, scaling up of disaster risk reduction (DRR), there has been little detailed discussion of scalability. The purpose of this paper is to respond to this critical gap by proposing a definition of scaling up for DRR, what effective scaling up entails, and how to measure and plan for scalability.

Design/methodology/approach: A literature review of debates, case studies, and good practices in DRR and parallel sectors (i.e. education, health, and the wider development field) to allow weighting of key concepts that inform scalability. The mixed methods research then developed, validated and employed a scalability assessment framework to examine 20 DRR and five non- DRR initiatives for which a minimum set of evidence was accessible.

Findings: Support from national, regional and/or local authorities strongly influenced the scalability of all initiatives assessed. Currently, this support is insufficient. Effective scaling up, monitoring, and evaluation were also found to be critical to both identify potential for and measure scalability.

Originality/value: The paper ends with a scalability assessment and planning tool to measure and monitor the scalability potential of DRR initiatives, highlighting areas for corrective action that can improve the quality and effectiveness of DRR interventions.


Learning at ScaleA Call for Successful, LargeScale Numeracy and Governmentled Programs.

By Peggy Dubeck, Benjamin Piper, Matthew Jukes and Jonathan Stern. Center for Global Development.

10 April 2019

In 2019, we identified eight of the most successful early grade reading interventions working at scale in low- and lower-middle-income countries for inclusion in the Learning at Scale study. This study is designed to help  readers better understand  how successful large-scale education programs work and how they overcome the normal challenges of effective implementation at  large scale.  The authors were able to collect data in several countries prior to the COVID-19 school closures in early 2020 and look forward to launching their interim report in early 2021 which presents initial insights into their findings to date.

While that work is underway, RTI International and CGD are excited to announce the expansion of the Learning at Scale study in an effort to respond to two clear needs in the sector: a better understanding of the driving forces behind successful, large-scale numeracy programs, and insight into the factors that enable government-run programs to succeed at scale. As with the first phase, they will examine how these programs have succeeded in improving learning outcomes, while identifying the key ingredients underpinning their success. They plan to use these findings to develop a guide and user-friendly tools for understanding essential elements of effective large-scale programs.

The Learning at Scale research team is seeking current programs that have demonstrated significant impact on learning outcomes and are operating at scale. For this phase of the study, they are looking for two types of programs: 1) programs with demonstrated effectiveness on numeracy outcomes at scale; or 2) programs that are fully implemented by government bodies (not programs led or directed by implementing partners) with demonstrated effectiveness in either literacy or numeracy at scale.

Educational Innovations: Scaling Up and Institutional Practices

By О.M. Khmelevska. Demography and social economy, 2020, 3(41):114-131 Language: Ukrainian.

The educational innovations that have already proven their effectiveness and relevance at the level of pilot projects, programs, practices, including in other countries, are considered as one of the ways to improve the quality of education in Ukraine. The purpose of this article is to formulate a multidimensional conceptualization of scaling up of educational innovations, which takes into account modern theoretical and empirical studies of scaling up in socially significant areas. Among the noteworthy results of the study is the author’s proposed visualization of the scaling up model, which generates various interdisciplinary ideas and structures of the scaling up process from a systemic point of view and covers the key stages and cycles of scaling up. The focus is also on elements and strategies of scaling up (subjects, contexts, dimensions, resources and financial models, approaches and drivers of scaling up), adaptation scenarios (sites, levels, sectors, cycles, and duration of scaling up) and object transformation scenarios (including monitoring and evaluation). The study concludes that it is appropriate to use the scaling up conception in areas of educational activities for which the effectiveness and rates of implementation of relevant innovations are critical.

Family Planning

Key Factors to Facilitate Locally Driven Family Planning Programming: A Qualitative Analysis of Urban Stakeholder Perspectives in Africa and Asia.

By Lisa Mwaikambo, Sarah Brittingham, Saori Ohkubo, Ruwaida Salem, Denis Joel Sama, Fatimata Sow, Deepti Mathur, Nneoma Nonyelum Anieto. December 2020.

Background: There has been greater recognition of the importance of country ownership in global health and  development. However, operationalizing country ownership to ensure the scale up and sustainability of proven interventions remains elusive at best. To address this challenge, the authors undertook a thematic analysis of interviews collected from representatives of local governments, public health systems, and communities in poor  urban areas of East Africa, Francophone West Africa, India, and Nigeria, supported by The Challenge Initiative, aiming to rapidly and sustainably  scale up evidence-based  reproductive health and family planning solutions.

Methods: The research team conducted interviews and collected 96 stories between July 2018 and September 2019, using the Most Significant Change (MSC) technique, and coded and analyzed the stories. Most frequently used codes were identified and grouped into emerging themes.

Results: Five key themes emerged: (1) strengthening local capacity and improving broader health systems, (2) shifting mindsets of government and community toward local ownership,

(3) institutionalizing the interventions within existing government structures, (4) improving data demand and use for better planning of health services, and (5) enhancing coordination of partners.

Conclusion: While some themes feature more prominently in a particular region than others, taken together they represent what stakeholders perceive to be essential elements for scaling up locally-driven health programs in urban areas in Africa and Asia.


Implementing innovative solutions for maternal health at scale.

By Devex Editor 16 February 2021

The COVID19 pandemic has created numerous challenges for achieving quality maternal health care. However, the response to COVID-19 has also demonstrated government and the private sector’s ability to quickly respond to a crisis at scale when they work together. These points were explored by participants in a Devex World session co-hosted by MSD for Mothers on Dec. 10, 2020. The session also underlined the fact that better use of data and national health insurance are key to integrating private sector players into health systems and closing the maternal health funding gap.

A systems approach to scaleup for population health improvement

By Harriet Koorts & Harry Rutter. Health Research Policy and Systems volume 19, Article number: 27 (2021)

Despite a number of important global public health successes, for many health behaviors there is a continued lack of interventions that have been sufficiently scaled up to achieve system-wide integration. This has limited sustainable and equitable population health improvement. Systems change plays a major role in the relation between implementation processes and at-scale institutionalization of public health interventions. However, in research, systems approaches remain underutilized in scaling up. Public health scale-up models have typically centered on intervention replication through linear expansion.

This paper discusses current conceptualizations and approaches used when scaling up in public health and proposes a new perspective on scaling that shifts attention away from the intervention to focus instead on achieving the desired population-level health outcomes. In our view, ‘scaling up’ exists on a continuum. At one end, effective scaling can involve a linear, intervention-orientated expansive approach that prioritizes the spread of evidence-based interventions into existing systems in order to drive expansion in the application of that intervention. At the other end, the authors contend that scale-up can sit within a complex systems paradigm in which interventions are conceptualized as events in systems. In this case, implementation and scale-up activities should focus on generating changes within the system itself to achieve the desired outcome. This they refer to as ‘systems-orientated scale-up’ to achieving population health improvement, which can complement traditional approaches in relevant situations.

IT Connectivity

The Smart Feature Phone Revolution in Developing Countries: Bringing the Internet to the Bottom of the Pyramid

By Jeffrey James. The Impact of Smart Feature Phones on Development. Springer Briefs in Economics. Springer, Cham.

Until recently, the only way  for the population of developing countries to access the Internet was through expensive smartphones, designed in and for developed countries. In the past few years, however, a major new innovation has emerged, the smart-feature phone with Internet connectivity, which was specifically designed for those with low incomes in developing countries. This chapter explains the development process for the smart-feature phone, how this has influenced the nature and extent of adoption, and its use by low-income groups, including their demonstrated preference for uses related to entertainment rather than more traditional ‘work-related’ goals. The focus is on the case of India, where the JioPhone has already reached millions of people with low incomes.


Communitybased management of malnutrition ‘a partially realized promise’ 20 years on.

By Teresa Welsh. Devex. 23 March 2021.

CMAM fails to reach scale 20 years on. Originally sold as the best way to scale treatment for severe acute malnutrition, communitybased management of acute malnutrition has not expanded coverage to all children who need it.

Urban Development

 Challenges and Barriers for Net‐Zero/Positive Energy Buildings and DistrictsEmpirical Evidence from the Smart City Project SPARCS

By Daria Uspenskaia, Karl Specht, Hendrik Kondziella, Thomas Bruckner. February 2021, Buildings 11(2):78.

Without decarbonizing, cities’ energy and climate objectives cannot be achieved as cities account for approximately two-thirds of energy consumption and emissions. This goal of decarbonizing cities has to be facilitated by promoting net-zero/positive-energy buildings and districts and replicating them, driving cities towards sustainability goals. Many projects in smart cities demonstrate novel and groundbreaking low-carbon solutions in demonstration and lighthouse projects. However, as the historical, geographic, political, social, and economic context of urban areas vary greatly, it is not always easy to repeat the solution in another city or district. It is therefore important to look for the opportunities to scale up or repeat successful pilots. The purpose of this paper is to explore common trends in technologies and replication strategies for positive-energy buildings or districts in smart city projects, based on the practical experience from a case study in Leipzig. One of the key findings highlighted in the paper is the necessity for more rigorous replication modelling to deepen the understanding of upscaling processes. Three models analyzed in the paper contain the data needed for multidimensional representation of the solution to be replicated.


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