The DRG Learning Forum is an annual event supporting the generation, curation, and dissemination of DRG evidence and technical methods for DRG practitioners. The forum followed two closely related tracks. The Findings track focused on what we have learned from the DRG Learning Agenda and focused on evidence and learning that can inform program design and implementation. The Process track focused on sharing through a series of salons how we learn and share evidence, best practices, skills and resources on key topics of interest in the DRG space.


This event took place over six sessions:


Findings Track: What is the latest evidence?


  • Session 1: Making sense of Information Disorder
  • Tuesday, February 14, 2023 at 8:30 - 9:30 am ET 
  • Session 2: Willing the end of Corruption - What works in low political will environments? 
  • Wednesday, February 15, 2023, 9:00 - 10:00 am ET
  • Session 3: What do we know about how to support democratic openings? 
  • Thursday, February 16, 2023, 9:00 - 10:00 am ET


Process Track: What are the latest technical methods?


  • Salon 1: Guide to Social and Behavioral Change: Theory and Practice 
  • Wednesday, February 22, 2023 10:00 - 11:00 am ET
  • Salon 2: Recent advances in non-experimental research
  • Thursday, February 23, 2023 9:00 - 10:00 am ET
  • Salon 3: Is Our Work Evidenced-Based? How to Better Use Research Evidence in Activity Design
  • Thursday February 23, 2023 at 10:00 - 11:00 am ET

Please take a look at our Resource List to find links to resources related to the Annual Learning Forum sessions.

Session 1:

Making Sense of the Information Disorder

Tuesday, February 14, 8:30 - 9:30 a.m. ET



Misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation represent the spreading of false information with varying levels of intent to deceive or do harm. These forms of spreading false information are not new but have become more powerful with the advent of new technologies and online social media platforms that made rapid communications possible. The session shared the preliminary findings from the literature review on the following learning agenda question: What factors and dynamics foster -- and build resilience to -- the proliferation of disinformation, misinformation and/or malinformation? The research team presented their analytical framework that captures categories of interventions and their theoretical motivations and planned literature review structure and a discussion to inform their research moving forward.


Speakers: 

  • Jessica Gottlieb, Associate Professor, Hobby School of Public Afairs
  • Laura Paler, Associate Professor, Department of Government, School of Public Affairs, American University
  • Rob Blair, Professor of Political Science & International & Public Affairs, Brown University
  • Brendan Nyhan, James O. Freedman, Presidential Professor, Department of Government, Dartmouth College
  • Keti Bakradze, USAID/Georgia


Session 2: 

Willing the end of Corruption: What works in low political will environments?

Wednesday, February 15, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. ET


The term “political will” is frequently used to explain the success or the failure of anti-corruption initiatives, but the term has become such a catch-all that it does not really help USAID better design and implement programming. This session presented preliminary findings from a literature review and original research exploring how to better think about political will and how our programming should account for political will, particularly where it is weak.


Speakers: 

  • Eddy Malesky, Professor of Political Economy, Duke University Center for International Development
  • Maureen Moriarty-Lempke, Senior Fellow, Duke University Center for International Development
  • Ahmad Qisa’i, Anti-Corruption Advisor, USAID/Indonesia.

Session 3: 

What do we know about how to support democratic openings?

Thursday, February 16, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. ET


As a third wave of autocratization has unfurled, key questions remain on how to forestall and reverse democratic backsliding. We heard from researchers working on a literature review and original research focused on addressing the following learning question: What are the most effective interventions focused on public institutions to reverse democratic backsliding and/or support greater democratization?


Speakers: 

  • Rachel Beatty Riedl, Director, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies
  •  John S. Knight, Professor of International Studies, Department of Government, Cornell University, Michigan State University
  • Jennifer McCoy, PhD, Nonresident Scholar, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Research Affiliate, Central European University Democracy Institute, Budapest, Professor of Political Science, Georgia State University
  • Kenneth M. Roberts, Richard J. Schwartz Professor of Government and Faculty Fellow, Democratic Threats and Resilience Initiative at Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Cornell University

Salon 1: Guide to Social and Behavioral Change: Theory and Practice

Wednesday, February 22, 10:00 -11:00 a.m. ET

In this session, we discussed Social and Behavioral Change (SBC) approaches and the importance of understanding the individual, socio-cultural, and institutional drivers of behavior. We then explored how to use SBC to achieve DRG development goals.


The host/s for the Salon were Levi Adelman and Laura Van Berkel from USAID/Washington.

Salon 2: Recent Advances in non-experimental research

Thursday, February 23, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. ET

We want to establish credible evidence for the effects of our programs without burdening implementation. In this session you will learn about non-experimental ways that missions can evaluate and learn from their programs.


The host/s for the Salon were Chris Grady from USAID/Washington and Thokozile Chisala from USAID/Malawi.

Salon 3: Is our Work Evidence-Based? How to better use Research Evidence in Activity Design

Thursday, February 23, 10:00 - 11:00 am ET

USAID DRG staff and implementing partners use research evidence far less than other forms of evidence. In this session, we discussed the benefits of research evidence and explored new resources and tools to better incorporate research evidence into your decision-making.


The host/s for the Salon were Daniel Sabet from USAID/Washington and Liza Prendergast, Democracy International.