APPRO strives to become the premier organization specializing in policy-relevant research, cutting-edge and applied training, and critical yet constructive evaluations in conflict and post-conflict environments.
APPRO’s mission is to facilitate critical dialogue on development policy for less developed, in- and post-conflict countries. This mission has two components. The first component is to measure development progress against strategic reconstruction objectives and provide insights into how to improve performance against the milestones set by the national governments and their international donors. The second component is to train and mentor a pool of national researchers to conduct applied research, provide practical training with a focus on the policy process, and conduct evaluations consistent with internationally recognized standards.
Findings from APPRO’s research and other activities are disseminated to address existing and pressing knowledge gaps in the policy making process and to advance the learning of researchers, academics, and decision and policy makers at all levels.
APPRO is a learning organization, operating on the following values and principles:
- Systems Thinking: Seeing the big picture, and distinguishing patterns to conceptualize change as a product of a confluence of actors, factors, and mechanisms within which they interact.
- Personal Mastery: Striving, and being encouraged, to become the creative architect of one’s own competences in a process of continuous growth and development.
- Mental Models: Creating spaces for employees to surface, clarify, test, and improve their internal representations of the world and understand how these representations, along with their accompanying implicit assumptions, shape their decisions and actions.
- Shared Vision: Building a common sense of purpose and commitment by developing shared images of the future for the organization.
- Team Learning: Developing the ability to create desired results, have a clear goal in mind and work together with others in the organization to attain it.
A learning organization is committed to a cycle of continuous learning and improvement, promotes a culture that enables and accelerates individual and group learning, and continually tests assumptions and transforms new knowledge into actions. For additional details on learning organizations, see: Based on Senge, P. (1990: 10-13). The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (New York: Doubleday).
Continuous learning at APPRO is based on acquiring and accumulating knowledge and innovating in a timely manner to adapt to and thrive in a rapidly changing environment. Learning at APPRO occurs through:
- Creation of a culture that encourages and supports continuous employee learning, critical thinking, and risk taking with new ideas.
- Allowing mistakes and valuing employees and their contributions.
- Learning from, and dissemination of, new knowledge from experience, experiments, successes, failures, and mistakes to innovate, internally to guide and improve day-to-day activities and, externally to contribute to the emergence of a learning culture.
Working in conflict environments necessitates paying particular attention to the most vulnerable including women, children, minorities and the disabled. Analyses of gender relations and women’s rights constitute a key feature of APPRO’s research and training in Afghanistan. Similarly, particular attention is paid to corruption at all levels as a key deterrent to peace and prosperity in conflict environments.
Environmental protection and sustainable resource use are also emphasized as crosscutting issues, particularly in APPRO’s applied training programs.
APPRO’s current audience consists of the following:
- Sub-national, national and international authorities and policy makers
- Community leaders
- Civil society organizations
- International donors
- Development professionals
- Development academics / academic institutions
APPRO’s engagement with national and international policy makers, civil society organizations, international donors, and academic institutions continued in 2017. Also, since 2016, APPRO has been taking concrete steps toward engaging development professionals more broadly by strengthening APPRO-Europe, registered non-profit association registered in Belgium with an office in Brussels, to serve as a venue for regular outreach, knowledge sharing, and policy advocacy activities.
The impact of these engagement activities will be monitored and reported through widely disseminated quarterly newsletters which commenced in September 2016 and continued in 2017.