Building on INTRAC’s work on aid withdrawal, we facilitated an Action Learning Set (ALS) on exit strategies with the British Red Cross, EveryChild, Oxfam GB, Sightsavers and WWF-UK from March 2014 – March 2015. The ALS was part of INTRAC’s wider programme of research and learning work on the topic, and drew on INTRAC’s experience of facilitating action learning in different parts of the world.

The ALS aimed to improve organisational approaches to programme, project, country and regional exit by promoting good practice based on experience. It sought to create a safe space for the participating organisations to explore their experiences and seek solutions to problems.

A series of one-day meetings hosted in turn by the participants focused on:

  • Principles and values underpinning exit processes
  • Capacity building and relationship management with partners
  • Staff care and personnel issues
  • The role of leadership

Praxis Paper 31: Developing a timeline for exit strategies brings together key learning from the ALS and provides practical examples from each organisation. Reflective blogs were posted after each meeting, and ALS participants shared their experiences during a special session on exit strategies at INTRAC’s workshop on sustainability in November 2014.

Participants found the ALS provided reassurance that others working on exit were facing similar issues.

The ALS was a very useful space for us to learn from other colleagues although not only specifically on exit. The biggest influence was on how it informed our thinking on partnerships, particularly on new ones which were being scoped and since established. It also has stimulated more critical thinking on sustainability and how to orient our organisational and capacity development work with partners in support of this.

– Shahina Bahar, British Red Cross