SCALE+ | System-wide Collaborative Action for Livelihoods and Environment


Providing technical assistance for large-scale impact

During the Whole-System-in-the-Room retreat, stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing issues they face, their common goals, and also the major barriers to achieving these. These barriers may lie in the area of governance (for example, lack of regulations to prevent overfishing); they may be structural (absence of personnel or equipment needed to police a waterway); or economic and social (lack of options among indigenous groups to change livelihoods or advocate for their own safety). Low public awareness of an issue, inadequate technology, poor training, or organizational dysfunction may also be identified as problems.

As groups within the WSR discuss their differing perspectives and relative power (and resources) to influence these barriers, key leverage points in the system emerge as needing support. SCALE+ focuses technical assistance on selected leverage points or “gaps” in order to catalyze system-wide change. This represents a paradigm shift in comparison with most development projects, which begin with a predetermined technical assistance focus—usually in one sector and in a specific area (training for a counterpart organization, mass media or community mobilization to change harmful practices). With SCALE+, technical interventions are designed according to “the system’s demands.” The project applies its own limited resources (or the donor’s/client’s) to scale up and achieve the goals that are already owned by stakeholders. Interventions designed and delivered based on stakeholder demands rather than the advice of external experts have a much greater chance of large-scale uptake.


Launching multiple instruments

A second paradigm shift relative to the conventional development project is the opportunity to choose a combination of social change methodologies and tools to catalyze both “push” and “pull” forces within a system. Depending on the barriers identified, technical interventions may include policy reform/advocacy, social marketing campaigns, technical training (e.g., new agricultural or conservation techniques), or organizational capacity building. Specific intervention options are discussed by the Cross-Sector Advisory Group in consultation with the Project Implementation Team and the donor. As options are considered, new opportunities arise to bring in additional stakeholders with expertise, resources, or influence in these areas—these may be academic institutions, private companies, the media, or local community and religious leaders.

Once agreed upon, project technical assistance is integrated into the Task Force efforts and the overall project work plan. This plan should: 1) support the WSR goals and the stakeholder groups’ 100 and 1000 day action plans; 2) strengthen horizontal communication, relationships, and networks, and; 3) leverage donor financing and private sector investment to achieve results. A timeline and indicators are agreed on and the document is shared widely.