The following blog was written by Biruk Enaro, Leadership Training Manager at Nuru Ethiopia, describing a crucial part of the Program Planning Process.

In the past five weeks the Nuru Ethiopia Leadership team has finished leading Research Packet (RP) analysis training for the first time, in the Program Planning Process (PPP) for our Financial Inclusion (FI) impact program. Through RP analysis training, our FI team, that will implement the FI Program in the community, is now familiar with a Research Packet that consists of all of the tools to analyze a program model. By analyzing a Research Packet, the team has seen the strengths and weaknesses of different projects according to the Quality Solutions Criteria (impact, sustainability, and scalability).

During the Research Packet Analysis for FI, the Leadership team has lead the facilitation of analysis on four models who are currently working on community economic development in Ethiopia, namely the Amhara Credit and Savings Institution (ACSI), the Mennonite Economic Development Association (MEDA), Mercy Corps Ethiopia Arba Minch Cluster Livelihood and Economic Development Program, and our sister program model from Nuru Kenya. We closely examined and analyzed the strengths of each of these models that we want to build upon and the weaknesses that we want to avoid building our own program. As a result of this, we came up with an extensive list of potential areas of interventions that we can implement for the Nuru Ethiopia FI program.

In addition to this, the Leadership team and the FI team visited the organizations and beneficiaries of two of these selected economic development programs: MEDA and Mercy Corps. These are found to be program models that meet the standard of our Quality Solutions Criteria (impact, sustainability & scalability) based on the comparison analysis we have done for all of the models under study. We learned as much as we can from these visits to help inform our Nuru Ethiopia’s FI program model on many practical benefits and challenges of working with these particular models.

Now, we have started looking at a list of best practices, which are technical interventions, practices, or specific solutions that have shown results or that are accepted as being effective in an area of FI. We will then compare these best practices, with the intent to get us to think deeply about technical interventions, which we can incorporate into our Nuru Ethiopia’s FI program model. This is an exciting time as we have now done the research and are just about to really dive into our own program design and creation!