Key takeaways from Amir Allana (EWB) on the building blocks of learning organizations
On September 17, 2013, Microlinks and Tetra Tech sponsored a special presentation by Amir Allana (Engineers Without Borders Canada) to speak about the building blocks of learning organizations and how to enable flexible, adaptive development programming.
Projects trying to create systemic change—whether in markets, public health, or governance—have a notoriously difficult task: to shift mindsets, behaviours, and institutions in incredibly complex systems. Social, political, and business norms are continually changing, and often invisible until acted upon. This requires programs to remain outcome-oriented, to learn quickly, and continually adjust interventions in response to new, unexpected insight. While the external impact of successful projects is often talked about, the internal structures and processes that enabled such projects to succeed are seldom highlighted. In this interview, Allana talks about some of those structures and processes.
Bio: Amir Allana, Engineers Without Borders Canada
Amir Allana is a Program Manager with Engineers Without Borders Canada. Allana and his team provide embedded, context-specific support to programs implementing market facilitation. This support ranges from targeted skill-building and training in the tactics of working with market actors, to one-on-one coaching with field staff and managers to develop and implement strategies, to working alongside senior management to build a culture of learning and adaptation (both the hard processes and softer, organic elements). Allana has worked across several programs implementing market facilitation, including the USAID LEAD project and more recently USAID Uganda's Feed the Future Agriculture Inputs Activity - both implemented by Tetra Tech. He has also been working extensively with two programs run by Mercy Corps, who is employing market facilitation in very tough, post-conflict environments in Northern Uganda. The team also currently has partnerships with Kenya Markets Trust and Swisscontact Uganda. He holds a degree in Engineering Science (Systems Engineering) and a Certificate in Business from the University of Toronto.