Can I arrange to meet with CDA staff?
CDA staff are always willing to meet with colleagues who are engaged in the issues and concerns that engage us. Sometimes our travel schedules make this a bit complicated, but we can almost always find a time to get together!
Is CDA a development NGO?
CDA does not run field projects or have any long term staff in the field. Rather, we work with agencies who do have field programmes and field staff. Many of the individuals and agencies involved in our projects are, themselves, engaged in development. CDA’s impact on development is, therefore, indirect, through these agencies.
Is CDA a think tank?
CDA is not strictly a "think tank", in that the staff do not do research or produce their own ideas. Because we organize the processes by which a lot of people get involved in learning together and arriving at insights that no one of us could ever develop alone, the ideas that come out of CDA’s projects reflect the thoughts, ideas, insights and analyses of many people in many places.
What Exactly is CDA? Is it a research organization?
CDA does not organize research in the academic sense. Instead, we work with practitioners involved in field programmes around the world (through agencies doing humanitarian, development, or peace work and corporate enterprises) to gather their experience and to compare and analyze it together. Through this process, which is both systematic and rigorous, we are able to help these agencies learn lessons about how to improve their effectiveness. We do not use standard research protocols such as control groups, random sampling or standardized questionnaires. This is because it seems inappropriate to do so when the work of our collaborating colleagues is primarily intended to be humanitarian or development or peace work (not research). The two agendas, while complementary, have distinct and valuable differences.
What is "a collaborative learning project"?
Over the years of its existence, CDA has organized the time and space for a number and range of individuals and agencies that work internationally to gather their experience, and together to compare and analyze it across contexts, in order to extract lessons for how to work more effectively in the future. This process, called a collaborative learning project, involves a number of iterative steps that include many poeple, in many sites, adding their experience and applying their brains to understanding what all of this experience, cumulatively adds up to.
The steps are:
1) gathering experience through field-based case studies or site visits;
2) consultations in which twenty to forty people involved in the work together read, compare and analyze the cases;
3) publication of preliminary lessons learned, gathered through the consultations;
4) “feedback workshops” held in the variety of field sites where local and international poeple test what has been learned against their own experience, adding to, improving and correcting it;
5) publication of the composite learning from a number of feedback workshops;
6) utilization of the lessons in field programmes and
7) publication of the learnings from these experiences of adopting and adapting the lessons in ongoing daily work.
What is the difference between "CDA Collaborative Learning Projects" and "Collaborative for Development Action"?
CDA Collaborative Learning Projects is a non-profit organization founded in 2003. At the request of some of our donors, it was spun off from the Collaborative for Development Action. CDA Collaborative Learning Projects is the home of the Do No Harm, Reflecting on Peace Practice, Corporate Engagement, Steps Toward Conflict Prevention, and Listening Projects.
The Collaborative for Development Action is a consulting firm founded in 1985 by Mary B. Anderson and Catherine A. Overholt. The projects that now run through CDA Collaborative Learning Projects were initiated through this firm before September 2003. While the Collaborative for Development Action still exists , it has been inactive as a consulting firm in recent years.
What is the difference between the "Local Capacities for Peace Project" and the "Do No Harm Project"?
The Do No Harm Project was originally named - and funded as - the Local Capacities for Peace Project. However, people in the field who were part of the project preferred to call it the "Do No Harm" Project. We deferred to their judgement and changed the name.