TWP Community of Practice, London, September 2014

Summary of meeting London Sept 2014



Monday 15th September
8:30 – 9:00 Pre workshop coffee/tea
9:00 – 9.30 Welcome and introduction. Graham Teskey, DFAT

Introduction of participants

Summary of November Delhi and January London meetings; TWP vs traditional approaches

Rules of the game: no repetition, hesitation or deviation

Agenda and Objectives for this workshop

1.     What do we all want from the TWP agenda?

In short – a summary of where each agency is and where they aspire to going

2.     Defining the essence of TWP

Clarifying the questions and moving toward some sort of template for TWP

3.     Strategy for taking TWP forward

09:30 – 11:00


Agenda item (1) What do we all want from the TWP agenda?

·       Donors (WB, DFID, DFAT, USAID, UNDP, DANIDA)

·       Think tanks, researchers, consultants (OECD, TAF, ECDPM, UoB, ODI, OPM, October Gallery)

Session structure: Chair: Tom Parks

Discussion: each participant summarizes what they want from this agenda: picking up one or two key issues from the following:

·       What makes a program politically savvy?

·       What constitutes success in a TWP approach?

·       What does a TWP approach say about the ToC?

·       How do we know if accounts of TWP are spin and stories, or a real break from traditional practice?

·       What are the factors behind any success in your organisations (risk-takers, mavericks or something more systematic?

Some of this will be about flexibility, non-linearity, and shaping the modalities and incentives for aid programs. But an essential part of this will be about strategy and sophistication in terms of understanding the context, orientation to political forces, and theory of change.

Each agency come prepared to say clearly what they have been doing with TWP in their own agencies, what they want from this meeting, and what their thinking is on next steps (session 3 tomorrow).

Short (4-5 min) statements, bullet points, no presentations. It would be excellent if colleagues could come with a one pager for circulation answering these questions.

Output: Collective awareness of different agendas

11:00 – 11:20 Tea / Coffee
11:20 – 13:00 Agenda item (2) Defining the essence of TWP

This session should attempt to answer the question “how have TWP projects been structured in practice?”


  • What were the critical elements within the TWP approach – flexibility, adaptiveness, non-prescription, partners, alignment with political forces, etc. etc.? In other words, what made the program different from traditional programs working on the same issues?
  • Were the TWP elements designed from the outset (i.e., explicitly built into), or did they emerge organically?
  • Does the program demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of political dynamics in the local context, and appropriate strategies that reflect this understanding in order to maximize impact?
  • Was the ToC (explicit or implicit) based on a sound understanding of plausible change scenarios?

(b)    Then some questions on MANAGING TWP PROGRAMS?

  • What role did the donor play……hands-on or arm’s length?
  • How were results described ex ante? Was there adequate flexibility to allow for unexpected outcomes?
  • How prescriptive were inputs and expected outputs?
  • How was risk managed? What risks were identified?
  • What was the overall management regime …… how did the donor know when to push and when to pull back? What admin arrangements were in place?
  • How did the donor respond when stuff happened and program direction changed?

Session structure: Chair: Neil McCulloch

Introduction from Tom Parks (introducing the above framing – power point)

Short 2-3 minute reflections from USAID (tbd), DFID (tbd), WB (Verena Fritz/Deryck Brown), NORAD / DANIDA (tbd) and DFAT (Graham Teskey), approach and interpretation of the above.


Output: Agreement on critical features of what it means to be TWP

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 15:45 Agenda item (2) Defining the essence of TWP (cont)

This session will consider what we are learning from current action research and other initiatives

Chair: Michael O’Keefe

Presentation: Sue Unsworth (October Gallery): ‘Politically smart, locally led development’ and Heather Marquette,(DLP) Action Research


Output: Agreement on next steps

15:45 – 16:00 Tea / Coffee
16:00 – 17:00 Agenda item (2) Defining the essence of TWP (cont)

This session will discuss the proposed guidance ‘template’

Chair Alan Whaites

Introduction from Sue Unsworth / Graham Teskey


Output: Agreement on outline format for guidance and next steps

17:00 – 17:15 Rounding off the day: where have we got to?

Chair: Tom Wingfield

Tuesday 16th September
09:00 – 09:30 TWP: “Flagship” Proposal: Neil McCulloch (OPM)


Outputs: decision on if / how to proceed

09:30 – 11:00 Agenda item (3): Strategy for taking TWP forward

The purpose of this session is to consider ways to persuade the 95% of donor agency staff that have no interest in, or incentive to, TWP, as well as how to frame the issue for skeptical and hard-to-change donor organisations.

Chair: Heather Marquette

Presentation of thoughts and reflections: WB, DFID, DFAT, UNDP, DAC

11:00 – 11:15 Tea / Coffee
11:15 – 12:30 Open discussion: where next for the CoP?

Chair: Graham Teskey