The Pando Localization Learning System (LLS) is a dynamic online platform that uses network maps and feedback surveys to measure how much local actors are driving development in their area. Pando LLS measures 4 things:
- Leadership: Do local organizations set strategic priorities, lead decision making and serve as subject matter experts in the system?
- Connectivity: Do local actors develop and utilize relationships to reach a broader network? Do external actors prioritize the development of local networks?
- Mutuality: Are connected actors open and receptive, and do they develop bonds based on trust and respect?
- Financing: Do local actors have access to a dependable network of local funding? Are local actors increasingly less dependent on external funding?
The goal of the platform is to equip donors, NGOs, and project partners with the tools to increase local participation and ownership in development projects.
Root Change and Keystone Accountability are eager to put Pando LLS to use, and sought feedback on how they measure the degree to which local actors are in the driver’s seat. They also wanted to explore how development organizations can get the most value from this tool. Labstorm attendees discussed the existing power dynamics in international development, ways to use Pando to empower local organizations, and what would define success for this project. Here are the main takeaways:
- When telling the story of a new tool, demonstrate the different use cases for different audiences. Pando LLS can be used by a range of organizations, from foundations conducting sector research, to front-line organizations tracking changes to a system over time, or donors measuring community leadership to inform decision making. Highlighting the versatility of a tool can help audiences envision uses for it in their own contexts.
- Make a case for local capacity. Several participants mentioned that donors and international aid organizations are hesitant to put local groups in charge of development because they worry that they do not have enough capacity. While Root Change and Keystone Accountability believe that the relationships and feedback surfaced through Pando LLS demonstrate the existing capacity within a local system, they learned that capacity development needs to be more explicitly built into the tool to effectively engage the aid community.
- Always ask yourself, who is not in the room? With systems that rely on peer-to-peer referrals, knowing who is not mentioned is just as important as who is. Lab participants agreed that Pando network maps or feedback surveys should be launched in collaboration with carefully selected local organizations, and target the broadest possible range of actors. This includes both public and private sectors, which will give a more nuanced picture of how local involvement looks within a specific context, and further guide collaboration and network strengthening for that context.
This LabStorm showed us use cases for Pando to increase local ownership and participation. Are you an expert in increasing local ownership? Please share your expertise in the comments below, or by emailing [email protected].