MAVA Foundation “Going Full Cycle” with the Open Standards

Story by Vladimir MilushevNico Boenisch (FOS Europe) and Julien Sémelin (MAVA Foundation) 

MAVAone of Europe’s largest private foundations, is entering its last grant-making phase before it closes in 2022. With that in mind, MAVA has taken a conscious decision to invest in conservation programs that are organised as functioning partnerships practicing adaptive managementMAVA’s current portfolio is built around 24 so-called Outcome Action Plans (OAPs) ranging from conservation of freshwater systems in Switzerland, to tackling overfishing in the Mediterranean Sea, to protecting sea turtles in West Africa.  

Each OAP is a multi-partner conservation program anchored in concrete threat reductions (“outcomes” in MAVA lingo). Partners from more than 150 organisations across Europe, the Mediterranean basin, and West Africa use the Open Standards to plan and adaptively manage their OAPs.  

All OAP partnerships go through a mid-term evaluation to assess the effectiveness of their joint efforts and propose adaptations for the final phase. The review is designed as a participatory adaptive management process in which partners of all OAPs are “going full cycle” together. That means the process is dependent on the active participation of all involved partners across all OAPs and covers the progress, effectiveness, and impact of work, as well as functional and contextual changes. MAVA uses the results of midterm reviews for its final grant-making decisions.  

Positive feedback shows that this review process is robust and helps to bring partners together so they can discuss issues and develop meaningful adaptations. 

Over the years, MAVA’s approach has built capacity among partners and in-house familiarity with the Open Standards has grown substantiallyAll MAVA program and OAP managers are well trained in using the Open Standards—many are official coaches and active members of CCNet Europe. MAVA has also been collaborating with Foundations of Success Europe for process coordination and ongoing coaching.  

Read more about Managing MAVA’s OAPs adaptively or see the Mid-Term Reviews of MAVA’s OAPs. 

Outcome action planning steering committee meeting. Photo credit: Nico Boenisch / FOS Europe.