The CARE LAC Organizational Performance and Learning System


Purpose


The CARE Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Organizational Performance and Learning (OPL) system, which was developed in 2004, provides tools and data for monitoring and managing organizational performance at country office and regional levels. The system moves away from measuring country office performance based purely on financial data, and focuses on programmatic quality, financial management, human resources and governance. The overall purpose of the OPL system is threefold:
  • Provide a coherent and integrated framework for planning, measuring and assessing organizational performance in a systematic manner at the country office and regional level.
  • Promote organizational learning based on the findings of ongoing organizational performance management.
  • Recognize staff achievements that have led to notable improvements in organizational performance.

What is good organizational peformance?


Good organizational performance is defined as a situation in which the outcome of our work shows evidence of reduced poverty, improved social justice, more people living in dignity and security (impact). In addition, we have clear evidence that our work (i.e. what we say, what we do, and how we do it) is aligned with our vision, our values and our programming principles. This is not only true from the perspective of other stakeholders (participants, partners, donors and other constituents).

Areas of focus


The three main areas in which the OPL system monitors performance are:

1) Impact and Effect:
Measures progress toward achieving overarching long-term organizational program goals. Includes indicators that are part of the MDGs as well as others that are important for CARE

2) Organizational Strategy:
Measures progress in implementing organizational change processes. Includes indicators associated with CI Programming Principles, five breakthrough areas of the LAC Management Framework, or Aligning Work with a Vision initiative.

3) Organizational Support:
Measures organizational health with regard to program quality, financial management and viability, and adequacy and development of human resources. Includes indicators related to the effectiveness of program and finance administration, and people and management governance.

Indicators and Tools


The OP&L system consists of a total of 40 indicators. The system also consists of eleven data gathering tools, a UCP analysis and programmatic alignment guide, and a new AOP format and development process, to implement data collection and organizational change processes associated with the OP&L system.

Achievements


Since the development of the OPL system was initiated in CARE LAC in 2001, important achievements have been made. In summary, achievements to date are:
  • A framework for monitoring organizational performance at the country office and regional level, which focuses on measuring national level impact on the reduction of poverty, the degree to which we are applying our organizational strategies, and the effectiveness of our organizational support mechanisms.
  • A methodology that country offices can use to (1) select appropriate MDG targets and other impact indicators and (2) align our programmatic strategies with these targets. It as used in Bolivia, Central America, Ecuador and Peru.
  • 40 indicators for monitoring organizational performance. These indicators are linked to MDGs and Program Principles.
  • Detailed explanations of the indicators and data gathering tools. They were tested and applied in 7 countries in the region.
  • Baseline data for certain core indicators gathered in 7 countries.
  • Analysis of the data were conducted and disseminated in the region and other parts of the organization.
  • OPL is fully operational in Ecuador and Peru.