Ensuring that aid meets needs is a central aspect of aid quality and accountability to beneficiaries and donors. Making sure that aid adapts to changes in the context is a key issue at stake in complex and long-term crises.

These issues concern both humanitarian and development actors who collaborate more and more often in protracted crisis contexts on multi-year programmes aimed at reinforcing resilience. Thus, in numerous fragile contexts, agility (or adaptive management) is being developed based on a mixture of humanitarian and development practices.

However, agility brings new challenges for both operators and donors. These include, for example: putting lessons into practice more rapidly; anticipating and preparing for possible changes; making use of new technologies so that decisions are based on field data; and using new financial and reporting procedures to make projects more flexible.

Groupe URD has been exploring these issues for a long time and in the late 90s, following Hurricane Mitch in Central America, we introduced Iterative Evaluations with Mini Seminars (IEMS). Since then, we have developed and implemented these processes in several contexts [1] to reinforce the effectiveness of evaluations and stimulate better practices in real-time. We have also run observatories in Afghanistan, Chad and Haiti so that learning can take place closer to the field. Today we are launching two processes to support agility: one is part of the Resilac project in the Lake Chad area, and the other is in support of the Key programme in Mali, with a combination of IEMS, multi-scenario planning and studies.

The Autumn School will bring together researchers, operators and donors interested in these issues to discuss the challenges of agility in complex and protracted crisis contexts, and to explore possible new approaches.