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Students attending class in an outdoors elementary school classroom in the Yilo Krobo District near Accra, Ghana.

Learning and legacy from UKAC consortia

3 August 2021
Author: Gerard Witham

With the Learning from Consortia programme drawing to a close in July 2021, we share some reflections on the learnings and achievements gained over the past year. 

Beginning in April 2020, the Learning from Consortia programme brought together 13 UK Aid Connect consortia, with the aim of learning from their experiences and insights, sharing these with the sector and donors, and, ultimately, creating more effective consortia.  

It is commendable that the donor – FCDO – funded such a programme, with a specific focus on ‘learning from and with’ rather than the more typical ‘monitoring and evaluating’ approach. We hope to see this approach be championed in the future.   

The 13 UK Aid Connect consortia formed to try to make more of a difference, and they engaged with the programme throughout, despite turbulent external contexts such as operating during the global pandemic Covid-19. Thanks to their commitment, we were able to gain significant learning about the practice of working in a consortium.  

What have we learned? 

It has been a privilege to work with UK Aid Connect consortia trying to address some very complex problems.  We would like to thank the various stakeholders in the Learning from Consortia programme, especially the UK Aid Connect consortia. We wish the people in the consortia that are closing and those that are continuing every success. 

What might have been achieved? 

The programme is closing early due to the wide-ranging cuts to UK aid.  This is sadly not a unique story at this time.  It is of course disappointing to weigh up what might have been achieved with what has been possible.  So much untapped potential will now never be realised, as this decision was announced just as the various pieces of the programme were coming together.  We would have been able to support consortia more, develop a more robust evidence base around consortium working and develop more detailed outputs for wider benefit. 

What do we hope is our legacy? 

The Learning from Consortia programme has been about creating more effective consortia and ways of working and ultimately helping and supporting people and communities to realise more of what they hoped to achieve. 

We hope that: 

  • this type of learning programme is funded again in the future by donors such as FCDO 
  • the 13 UKAC consortia have worked more effectively and benefitted from targeted support 
  • future consortia and donors will be able to draw from the 11 knowledge products developed 
  • future consortia and donors work together to realise the full benefits of consortium working 
  • communities engaged in these UK Aid Connect consortia have realised enhanced benefits 
  • more lives have been improved through the learning and exchange of knowledge we have done together. 

 

Find out more about the Learning from Consortia programme

About the author

Gerard Witham
Bond

Gerard joined Bond in 2019 as head of organisational effectiveness.