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Thinking and Working Politically in Large, Complex Aid Programs

Lavinia Tyrrel with the KOMPAK Program Team/ Emma Piper

White Paper

August 23, 2019

This brief and its annexes summarize how Abt Associates is testing and applying a ”thinking and working politically” (TWP) approach in its international aid programs. We use the example of the Australian Government KOMPAK program in Indonesia. We hope to add to the growing body of knowledge on what it actually takes to implement a TWP approach in large, facility mechanisms.

Where evidence does exist, it focuses on small, single sector, low-profile grants, not the experience of what it takes to apply TWP in large, multi-sector, facility-style initiatives.

KOMPAK is making head-way in developing, conducting trials of and refining a set of tools, systems and practices to implement TWP across the facility. KOMPAK has focused on getting teams comfortable with a more rapid cycle of thinking/ doing/ learning than in a traditional pre-planned program. Our tools try to systematize TWP across the program while allowing flexibility in how teams operate.