Learning

Why Learning Is Important

The International Budget Partnership (IBP) works with civil society partners in over 120 countries, and leverages our multi-stakeholder network of international institutions, donors, the private sector and state actors, to ensure all people, especially in underserved communities, understand and have the right to influence how public money is raised and spent.

To respond to the ever-changing field of budget work and the needs of our partners, we embed learning across the organization, through our programs and partnerships. This learning approach requires asking ourselves and our partners difficult questions:

  • What are the barriers to transformational societal change and how can we address them effectively?
  • What do our successes and challenges tell us about how to adapt our strategies?
  • How did IBP and our partners and allies contribute to positive change and how can we sustain those advances?

IBP’s approach to learning is multi-faceted – from frontline action to organizational strategy. We seek to balance rigorous assessment and learning with practical and strategic application of evidence and insights. This involves rigorous problem analysis, the development of theories of action and facilitating cycles of action, reflection and adaptation. We bring together diverse evidence and insights about context, our approaches, how and why change may or may not be happening and necessary adjustments based on evidence and observations.

IBP’s learning for the coming years is guided by the following strategic questions:

  1. What kinds of partnerships, relationships and coalitions contribute most to effective reform efforts? How do we advance policies and enable reform to benefit the most marginalized?
  2. What are the barriers and obstacles to more inclusive, equitable and accountable fiscal governance, policies and service delivery? How do we ensure our strategies address these effectively?
  3. How do we leverage key strategic elements – from evidence and analysis to collective citizen action – to advance meaningful and sustainable reforms around fiscal policy and governance?
  4. How do we ensure gains we make in fiscal governance work translate into meaningful impacts for marginalized populations?

IBP has long prioritized learning as an important pillar of our approach and has built it into many of our programs and partnerships over the years. This has resulted in an extensive library of case studies, evaluations and assessments and other learning tools and resources we have developed over the years.

In 2016, IBP created the Strategy and Learning Team to facilitate learning efforts and ensure learning informs our strategic decisions as an organization. This has led to more regular and robust PMEL practices undertaken with our teams and partners.

We engage in learning through multiple modalities, including:

  • Research: Collaborating with partners, our research addresses different domains of public resource governance and informs our efforts as well as the broader field.
  • Embedded learning: We support action research and ‘real-time’ learning though all of our programs and engage our partners in regular reflections on our collective efforts, helping to draw out relevant insights and integrate those into practice.
  • Rigorous assessment and documentation: IBP uses robust evaluation methodologies to look back on our efforts and better understand whether and how they contributed to change processes and outcomes, and document these findings.

We also engage a number of partners to promote joint learning. This includes a partnership with the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex and the Accountability Research Center at American University to undertake an innovative action learning partnership called Learning with SPARK”.