an introduction to sustainable exit s j truelove dec 2007 n.
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An Introduction to Sustainable Exit S.J.Truelove (Dec 2007)

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An Introduction to Sustainable Exit S.J.Truelove (Dec 2007). Approach. Simple, sensible and transparent Thinking about it now Clear, consistent and repeated communications to stakeholders at all levels Clear time bound plan in place that is clear on requirements and responsibilities.

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  • Simple, sensible and transparent
  • Thinking about it now
  • Clear, consistent and repeated communications to stakeholders at all levels
  • Clear time bound plan in place that is clear on requirements and responsibilities
What’s in a Sustainable

Exit Strategy?

  • What do we mean by closure planning and Exit?
  • Some terminology busting!
  • The two main approaches…
what is closure planning
What is ‘Closure Planning’?

Closure Is:

  • Ending the concrete elements of the programme.
  • Departing administratively, HR, Finance, assets etc…
  • Closure = Office closure.
what is transition

What is ‘Transition’?

Transition is:

The ‘process’ of withdrawal

what is exit planning
What is Exit Planning?

A Strategy or plan for sustainability:

  • To keep all the hard won gains of the program secure
  • To keep benefits on-going in the long term
two approaches to exit
Two Approaches to Exit:
  • Phasing Down & Handing Over: gradual reduction by transferring activities and using local organisations to sustain programme benefits. Emphasis here on capacity building and empowerment.
  • Phasing Out: Withdrawal without handing over, ideally because permanent or self-sustaining changes have occurred.
but name of the game is
But! Name of the game is…


  • What do we want to leave behind?...
  • Think of who might follow?...
definitions of exit
Definitions of Exit.

Short and sweet:

  • Responsible Exit
  • Sustainable Pull-out
  • Programme transition
  • Withdrawal and ‘wrap-up’
  • Appropriate hand over for the long term.
long and loathsome
Long and loathsome!...
  • ‘How the programme withdraws resources while ensuring achievements are not jeopardized’
  • ‘Responsible withdrawal once project goals achieved’
  • ‘Improve the chances of sustainable outcomes for the programme’ (for the people in the long-term surely?)
  • Choose language and terms carefully!
  • Choose where you use ‘Exit strategy’ with care!
  • ‘Closure’ or ‘exit’ have negative connotations (loss of resources, uncertain future)
  • What are the alternatives????
  • PPP (post programme planning)
  • Euphemism
a good exit strategy can
A Good exit strategy can:
  • Reduce future dependency
  • Allow goals to be maintained and sustained
  • Reduce misunderstandings and avoid conflict through communication.
  • Let communities know what to expect and prepare themselves
avoiding common pitfalls
Avoiding common pitfalls…

Lack of communication can lead to:

  • Local communities look for short term gains (from requests to looting)
  • Feeling betrayed and left out (from recrimination to vandalism)
  • Emergence of conflict within or between communities and others (Gov, NS, staff)
avoiding common pitfalls1
Avoiding common pitfalls…
  • Leave it is as you left it!..clean up!
  • Dumping (assets to CBOs, MRC, IFRC)
  • Inappropriately prolonging financial involvement (salaries, maintenance payments etc)

The island situation accentuates the difficulties and problems of exit:

  • So much more visible
  • Isolation aspects intensify potential problems.
from introductions to action
From ‘Introductions to Action’.


  • Mix yourselves up…
  • Split into 6 groups
  • Brainstorm on to flip charts:

Key Factors for Sustainable Exit

  • Try and categorise as you go
  • Feedback session on main lessons