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Adaptive Management in Practice

Publication Summary

At Toybox, we understand ‘Adaptive Management’ as a broad innovative and learning approach that involves the whole organisation, our partners and funders. ‘Adaptive Programming’ of projects is part of this approach which is greatly enhanced by the Adaptive Management of all actors, including communities and children in the projects.

Toybox works in extremely challenging contexts where children and young people living or spending significant amount of time in street face extreme hardships. These contexts are also constantly changing. This means that any programming needs to be adaptive in its approach in order to achieve impact.

Over the last few years Toybox have been piloting Adaptive Programming with our partners across Latin America, Africa and Asia to support children in street situations. This paper captures the experiences and learnings of our Adaptive Programming approach, as a small-sized UK-based organisation working with local organisations internationally.

It was found that adaptation is required as a result of changes in the context but also because all projects make assumptions which need to be tested as some hold true and others not. The best adaptation is when the beneficiaries and stakeholders are actively participating in reviewing the progress and impact and making recommendations. But to support this adaptation, it is important to have both tools and systems that are flexible enough for changes to be made but also an organisational culture that sees failure as a positive opportunity to improve.

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