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Advancing Equity through Technical Assistance and Implementation

Abt Associates

Report

November 4, 2021

Abt’s mission is to improve the quality of life and economic well-being of people worldwide. To achieve the goal of equitable impact across our work, Abt advances principles and practices in our work that consider the intersectionality of a variety of equity issues. They include racism, misogyny, heterosexism and homo- and transphobia, ableism, and other dimensions of systemic and institutional injustice. Learn more about Abt’s Gender Equality and Social Inclusion work.

A large part of our work includes bringing data-driven, solutions-oriented technical assistance (TA) to our partnerships with governments, organizations, and communities. Together, we use proven collaborative methods and tools to cocreate capacity to achieve sustainable and equitable outcomes.

Principles Guiding Abt’s Technical Assistance

Grounded in Equity

Abt grounds our TA approach in equity by understanding and addressing historic and systemic inequities. Our goals: partnering with stakeholders to cocreate innovative, transformative systems and asking at every phase: “Are we being inclusive enough?”

Responsive and Respectful

Abt aims to be highly responsive and respectful as we partner with multiple stakeholders to build capacity toward change. Our AbtWay for TA rests on a foundation of relationships and trust and elevates the voices of impacted peoples’ and communities’ lived expertise. In identifying stakeholders, we are careful to include everyone impacted.

Relevant

Abt brings extensive subject matter, capacity building, implementation, and data analytics expertise, which enables us to tailor relevant TA to your unique needs and solve the problems at hand.

Results-Oriented

Abt uses state-of-the art approaches to co-design and deliver high-quality, results-oriented TA. In partnership with clients and communities, we intentionally track and assess progress to adapt our TA as needed to achieve desired outcomes.

Abt’s TA Approach

We build capacity with TA that encompasses four phases: engage and assess; plan and implement; monitor and adjust; evaluate and sustain. Across all efforts, equity becomes the lens through which we design, implement, and evaluate our work. We deliver TA alongside key stakeholders with lived expertise and frontline expertise to advise on both challenges and solutions.

Embedding Equity Across All Phases of TA

How we build capacity matters. Abt grounds equity in our TA approach in the following ways:

Engage and Assess:

At the start of every TA experience, we engage with stakeholders to jointly determine goals and design assessment tools that align with gender, equality, and social inclusion principles. As we do so, we examine a set of questions to determine the extent to which we are engaging inclusively and intentionally. For example:

  • Do assessment teams include members from all sectors of the community, organization, or institution that is the focus of the assessment?
  • Does the assessment design consider the needs of the various subgroups in the population served by the projects?
  • In addition to assessing strengths, needs, and gaps, in the initial assessment, have we explicitly examined and incorporated environmental and systemic inequities that affect processes and results?

Plan and Implement:

In partnership with TA recipients, we establish goals to address both the capacity building needs and the inequities identified in the assessment phase. Below are some key overarching equity based considerations to guide this phase:

  • To bring authentic and real-time insights, does the team include members with lived expertise?
  • Have we examined historic, systemic inequities to provide context?
  • Have we considered unintended consequences that could exacerbate inequities and explicitly negotiated with impacted communities and team members with lived expertise?
  • Do plans favor those who are in the majority?
  • Are times, locations, and other key logistics (e.g., is there childcare, translation, interpretation?) of TA events inclusive and supportive of the needs/capacities of all participants to fully and authentically participate?
  • Are we providing the TA resources in a format that is accessible to the most marginalized stakeholders so that they can meaningfully engage?

Monitor and Adjust:

Throughout implementation, we collaborate to monitor progress and adjust plans accordingly. Below are some queries to determine how to incorporate equity throughout this phase:

  • Have we established feedback loops and used them to adjust TA as needed? Do they incorporate stakeholders and team members with lived experience and front-line expertise at all levels?
  • Have we collected qualitative data to understand TA outcomes across the diversity of community members?
  • Have we collaborated with individuals with lived expertise to conduct ongoing assessments of internal and external systemic and institutional factors that reproduce or exacerbate inequities? Are there measures to assess the extent to which interventions mitigate or reduce inequities?

Evaluate and Sustain:

Abt integrates best practices so that individuals, organizations, and institutions can build upon, sustain, and scale up the work accomplished together.

  • Who is involved in measuring and determining success and areas requiring improvement?
  • Do measures include those that explicitly capture both equity outcomes and TA outcomes across the diversity of communities and stakeholders involved in the project?
  • Are we sharing TA successes, findings, challenges, and limitations with all project participant groups, adjusting for learning and communication needs to ensure full and meaningful participation of marginalized stakeholders?
  • Do we share results in a way that recognizes the contributions of all stakeholders (e.g., authorship decisions)?

For more information, contact: Caroline Quijada or Chris Tappan.

Regions
Australia & Asia Pacific
United Kingdom & Europe
Latin America & the Caribbean
Middle East & North Africa
North America
South & Central Asia
Sub-Saharan Africa