New guidance available: Flexible livelihoods and food security programming in fragile settings

Knowledge brokering28 Mar 2022Rojan Bolling
programming flexibility banner

What room is there for flexibility in current Dutch funded food security programming in fragile settings? This question prompted the launch of a project at the end of 2021, that was to be delivered jointly by NFP, The Broker and ZOA. The primary goal of the project was to create the tools for both INGOs and policymakers, to take advantage of space for flexible programming that might otherwise be overlooked. The guidance developed in the course of this project is now available for use.

Having been a key issue for interventions in fragile settings for a considerable time, the call for more flexible programming approaches that allows ad-hoc adjustments of programming has gained new momentum since the global Covid-19 crisis. With increased attention and focus on more complex types of adaptive, integrated and systems programming, flexible programming allows organisations to remain relevant in fluid environments within crises and development situations.

However, if indeed you decide to start a flexible programme, how do you go about agreeing on divided responsibilities with your partners? Can a programme just be designed with flexibility in mind, or are more institutional adjustments also needed? What do donors think of flexibility? How do you deal with results reporting and what actually is the difference between flexible programming and adaptive programming?

Gain practical insights into how other organisations have dealt with these questions with practical examples and cases in the lessons learned report. Two further sets of guidance documents, one aimed at practitioners and one at policymakers, provide general information that can be taken, applied and examined more in detail to help set up or implement flexible programmes – including checklists for different stages of programming. Finally, since communication with donors and partners is key for flexibility, two handouts are provided with key questions and agreements that can help organisations start the conversation around flexibility.