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A study on the significance of the Learning Alliance Approach in influencing learning and adaptive capacity in Ghana's rural water sector

TitleLearning alliance approach: final report
Publication TypeProgress Report
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsNkum, J
Paginationv, 73 p. : 1 box, 6 fig.
Date Published05/2014
Place PublishedAccra, Ghana
Publication LanguageEnglish

The theory of change underpinning Triple-S is that when learning is strengthened in the rural water sub-sector, concepts, policies and best practices in sustainable service delivery would be promoted through strategic partnerships and learning platforms. In pursuit of this, the project has worked with the Learning Alliance Approach, and has used learning platforms as the main vehicle for promoting sector learning. In Ghana, a learning platform already existed at the national level for the WASH sector. Triple-S has strengthened and worked with this platform. In addition, the project has initiated actions towards the establishment of three regional Learning Alliances, one in each of its pilot regions of Northern, Brong Ahafo and Volta. The project has initiated steps towards the establishment of District Learning Alliance Platforms, one in each of its three pilot districts: Gonja East in the Northern region; Sunyani West in the Brong Ahafo region; and Akatsi in the Volta region.

The study on the Learning Alliance Approach is one of the recommended actions that the project committed to. The purpose was to establish the significance of the Learning Alliance Approach in influencing learning and adaptive capacity in Ghana's rural water sector. The study was also meant to assess the efficacy and sustainability of the Learning Alliance Platform as a vehicle for sector learning at the national, regional and district levels. These insights from the study are also intended to inform the exit strategy of the project.

The study covers:

  • Identification of the numerous learning spaces in the WASH sector that could properly be classified as a learning alliance platform. These include: The National Learning Alliance Platform, the Mole Conference, the Ghana Water Forum, and National Environmental Sanitation Conference at the national level and the newly established Triple-S led Regional and District Learning Platforms.
  • Mapping of the platforms - what kinds of learning take place and gaps. Using an adapted version of David Kolb's learning cycle and the learning loops developed by Prof. Argyris and Peter Senge, the study shows that there is a lack of a guiding model/framework for facilitating and managing learning in the sector. The result is that there is no systematic process for building up knowledge and deploying them to influence policy, programming, and practice.
  • Analysis of the main factors that drive and/or inhibit stakeholder participation in the learning alliances and platforms. It was found that organisational and personal interests, the need for networking and the search for validation are the dominant factors that promote participation. Lack of enforcement of agreed procedures, standards and guidelines seems to be the main factor discouraging stakeholder participation on the platforms.
  • The issues of ownership and financial sustainability of the platforms; and their relative the efficacy and influence in promoting learning and adaptive capacity in the sector.

The report also includes recommendations related to:

  • The adoption an agreed learning framework to guide the facilitation and management of learning;
  • The institutional architecture that would promote systematic learning and knowledge management in the sector; and
  • The need to prepare a business case for learning and knowledge management as a basis to justify the financial and economic returns on learning, and to use these insights to promote and market learning as a worthwhile undertaking in the sector.




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