Learning and Innovation in Action: Sense-Making in Nepal

In February, I met with the Resilience Champions at CWISH, our Learning Partner in Nepal, to conduct our final cross-site visit including our third and final Sense-Making Session. The sense-making sessions, conducted over two days, have formed a core part of the learning and innovation process which we have been using to innovate and adapt the resilience-based approaches which are being piloted at each learning partner.

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Learning and Innovation in Action: Sense-Making in Nepal

Preparation for the Sense-Making Session

To prepare, each Resilience Champion conducts a basic thematic analysis of their data sets. The data sets include their notes from semi-structured conversations with staff about their experiences of delivering approaches. Stories about resilience and well-being gathered from children involved in their programmes were also included. From this thematic analysis, Resilience Champions work closely with me to develop “key learning statements” – headlines about their recent learning. These are quite ‘raw’ and are accompanied by descriptions, stories and quotes from the data.

Discussion at the Sense-Making Session

In Nepal, as with other sense-making sessions, Resilience Champions shared their latest key learning statements. We worked together to discuss and cluster these statements, drawing out some overarching themes. We then considered how the learning both confirmed or supported our approaches and how it contradicted or challenged them. This information was used to develop refinements to our approaches: adaptations which would take each Learning Partner’s approach in a slightly new direction to ensure it continued to be responsive to emerging learning. These refinements were worked up using templates which help to flesh out the idea, the activities involved, the kind of outputs, outcomes and impacts we would like to see and any risks that might be associated with it.


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Resilience Champions discussing their key learning statements with Ruth

Outcome of Sense-Making Session

As with our other cross-site visits, our Nepal trip – and the sense-making session in particular – proved a rich learning experience. It was a chance for the Resilience Champions to share about their approaches and their individual contexts and challenges. The session provided an opportunity to support each other in their respective journeys to test and refine their resilience-based approaches to working with street connected children affected by sexual violence and abuse.

Our learning updates have reported on emerging learning and innovations after each sense-making session. The updates discuss how these have been fed into developing innovations to refine the approach at each learning partner. The next and final learning update will soon be available in our resources section.

Ruth Edmonds

Ruth is a Social Development Consultant at Keep Your Shoes Dirty. She has fifteen years experience in ethnographic and participatory research and collaborative, evidenced based approaches to programme design, monitoring, evaluation and learning. Ruth has worked in wide-ranging contexts across Africa and Asia as well as the UK and has particular expertise in bringing forward the perspectives of hard to reach and vulnerable groups including research with sexually exploited children and street-connected children. Ruth has also developed participatory training manuals and research and evaluation toolkits for frontline staff, as well as youth-led and peer-to-peer research projects. 

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