Evidence-based learning to improve conservation impact

The conservation community needs smarter and more successful actions to improve the impact of its work. For example, it is not always clear how to create training programmes that improve performance in a lasting way, or what the ingredients of a successful conservation partnership are, or how donors can set up funding so that grantees can work in a strategic and sustainable way.

One way of designing successful, effective actions is through using insights from evidence-based learning. Recent years have seen significant steps forward in developing concepts for defining and using evidence in conservation. In late 2021, the MAVA Foundation, Foundations of Success (FOS), and Conservation Evidence joined forces in an initiative to build further on this work.

Combining the strengths of their approaches with MAVA’s treasure of nearly 30 years of conservation data, they set out to formulate assumptions and collect evidence to answer key learning questions. The results of this joint work is now available on the Conservation Learning Initiative website.

The website presents:

► A practical 5-step approach for evidence-based learning in conservation, designed for combining different sources of evidence, dealing with differences in reliability and relevance, and drawing conclusions.

► Valuable insights based on data regarding four widely used conservation strategies: capacity-building, forming partnerships and alliances, providing flexible funding, and research and monitoring.

The lessons learned will help conservationists fine-tune their work or investment to increase their conservation impact. By applying the approach on their own data, they can learn from evidence to make better decisions and improve strategies over time.

Foundations of Success and Conservation Evidence intend to revise and improve the approach over time – ideally with participation from the wider conservation community. Download the report or visit the website to learn more and to join the discussion about the approach or the learning topics.

This work continues the long collaboration between MAVA and FOS. Over the last ten years, FOS Europe has assisted the foundation in setting up strategic partnerships to achieve impact on a scale that matters. FOS Europe has also helped set up the foundation’s tools and processes for supporting adaptive management and capturing evidence to help decision-making.

Sign up to receive news about the exciting things the team is planning, including online events and new learning topics: fill in the form or send an email to info@conservation-learning.org.

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