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This report discusses the importance of flexibility and adaptability in an MSD programme in a country as complex and large as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

ÉLAN RDC learned, over the course of its five ­year programme, how to combine management and adaptation. The programme experimented with approaches across organisational culture, processes and resources and adopted a “doing fast and failing fast” approach. This meant developing approval processes that allowed for rapid response; limiting paperwork as much as possible without compromising the programme’s ability to document, learn and inform decisions; and empowering donor flexibility through transparency.

The report notes that in retrospect, the programme would have benefited from implementing some of this learning into the design of the programme from the beginning. But overall it concludes that challenging contexts, such as those found in the DRC, force programmes and businesses to adapt. If a programme is not equipped to address changes quickly, it will fail.