References | Global

Evaluation of Capacity Development Activities of Civil Rights Defenders

Ethiopia, Serbia, Sweden, Uganda

Civil Society, Justice/Rule of Law, Monitoring and Evaluation

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Civil Rights Defenders (CRD) was founded as the Swedish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in 1982 with the purpose of monitoring compliance with the human rights provisions of the Helsinki Final Act. In 2009, the organisation was renamed Civil Rights Defenders. The mission became to support local human rights defenders in the world’s most repressive regions.

The headquarters of CRD is situated in Stockholm, Sweden. In addition CRD has regional offices in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. Funds are sub-granted to 39 implementing partner organisations in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Georgia, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Montenegro, Myanmar North Macedonia, Serbia, Somalia, Thailand, Turkey and Uganda. CRD became a Strategic Partner Organisation (SPO) within the strategy for support via Swedish civil society organisations (the CSO strategy) in 2020. The support from the strategy amounts to 158 000 000 SEK for the period 2021-2023. CRD is expected to submit a request to Sida in September 2023 for a two year cost extension of the current support.

The programme supported is based on CRD’s strategy 2020-2022 which focuses on Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) – individuals, organisations and networks – assessed to have the ability to change suppressive power structures. CRD operates in Europe, South America, Africa, Asia and MENA where democracy and respect for human rights are in decline and where there is a need to work for an enabling environment for civil society to operate. CRD does this by for instance contributing to security for and legal assistance to HRD’s but also by creating and developing platforms for dialogue and cooperation between HRD’s and local, regional and international institutions and relevant decision makers with an influence on human rights.

The evaluation object is CRDs capacity development of partners within the programme supported by Sida’s CSO Strategy. The programme has four strategic goals:

1.      Security: We have improved the security of selected HRDs or partners.

2.      Capacity: We have improved the capacity of selected HRDs or partners.

3.      Accountability: We have improved the level of accountability of duty-bearers related to civil and political rights.

4.      Awareness: We have improved the level of awareness in the general public, rights-holders and duty-bearers related to civils and politicial rights.

The focus for this evaluation is hence on CRD’s second strategic goal on capacity.

In 2023 CRD adopted a new strategy 2023-2030 presenting CRD’s vision, mission, core values and brand; together with its strategic goals defining their organisation 2023-2030. The vision is “A world of democratic societies in which we all enjoy our civil and political rights”. The new strategy also presents four strategic goals which to a great extent are the same as they were when Sida/CIVSAM and CRD entered into the agreement:

1.      Security: Human Rights Defenders are secure

2.      Capacity: Human Rights Defenders have the capacity to defend human rights and democracy

3.      Engagement: Stakeholders in society take action for human rights and democracy

4.      Accountability: Duty bearers are held accountable.

Capacity strengthening is offered both to individuals and formal partners. CRD supports individuals directly via for instance technical security solutions. The focus for this evaluation however is the capacity development of formal partners.