Evaluation of of the Sweden’s Support Programme to Ukraine’s Civil Society

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The purpose of the assignment was to evaluate the “Swedish Support Programme to Ukraine's Civil Society” that Sweden has been supporting since last evaluation in 2014/2015. The overarching purpose of the evaluation was to analyze the overall effectiveness, and impact of the programme, while assessing the progress made, identify lessons learnt and provide a basis for future dialogue and decisions on programme adjustment, as well as assess the management set-up and implementation mechanisms of the Programme and contribute to methodological development and approaches for supporting civil society in Ukraine.

The Embassy Sweden wished to analyze the overall effectiveness, efficiency and impact of the Civil Society Support Programme in Ukraine with the reference to its overall goal of promoting European standards and effectiveness of partner-CSOs to become mission-based, deliver their own strategies, while achieving greater sustainability, resiliency in line with good principles of NGO management and governance.

The primary audience for the Evaluation was the Embassy of Sweden team to make decision on continuation, modification and adjustments of the programme. The evaluation report is also relevant to the Department for Europe and Latin America, the Divisions of Eastern Europe and thematic support, as well as the Department of Partnerships and Innovation, Division of Support to Civil Society. The results of the Evaluation have also a broader distribution to CSOs and other donors.

In accordance to OECD DAC principles the Embassy expects to get an evaluation embracing five essential criteria, such as: Effectiveness, Efficiency, Impact, Relevance and Sustainability.

FCG Sweden suggested an approach/methododology that provided credible answers (evidence) to the evaluation questions. Limitations to the chosen approach/methodology and methods were made explicit by the evaluator and the consequences of these limitations discussed in the tender. The evaluator did to the extent possible, present mitigation measures to address them. A clear distinction was made between evaluation approach/methodology and methods.

Recommendations to the Embassy :

Programme objectives and scope:

1.      The Embassy should revisit and revise, as necessary, the ToC developed as part of the evaluation and prepare a simple results framework for tracking programme-level results.

2.      The Embassy should further refine the core support model. To keep the workload manageable, the portfolio should be limited to 5-6 CSOs over the next strategy period. Clear criteria for selection of these CSOs should be adopted.

3.      The Embassy should consider diversifying its support to civil society. Existing support could be complemented  by a re-granting programme targeted to regional CSOs and other types of civil society actors. In this case, an intermediary organisation should be used.

4.      The Embassy should, irrespective of modality, ensure that its civil society support is designed and operationalised in line with Good Donorship and aid effectiveness principles.

Programme management and follow-up:

5.      The Embassy should develop instructions for CSO applications, budgets and financial reports.  The CSOs should be requested to provide tangible examples of programme-level results.

6.      The Embassy should organise annual partnership meetings to facilitate strategic dialogue, experience sharing, and learning.

7.      The Embassy should consider outsourcing additional components (e.g. selection and initial assessment of CSOs, annual partnership meetings, programme monitoring, etc.) of the core support model to a consultancy company or similar. 

8.      The Embassy should, if developing a new re-granting mechanism, select a local intermediary organisation through a competitive and transparent process (open call), or contribute to an already existing or emerging initiative of this kind.

Capacity development:

9.      The Embassy should together with NCG Denmark review the focus and scope of the SBAs. Additional emphasis may be placed on the capacity to ensure responsiveness to constituents, capacity for partnerships, and the capacity to adapt and self-renew.

10.   The Embassy should work with NCG Denmark to make the training seminars more context-specific and responsive to the particular needs of the supported CSOs.

Communication and coordination:

11.   The Embassy should seek to better communicate its approach to civil society support among CSOs and other donors.

12.   The Embassy should elevate the discussion on Good Donorship Principles and in this context draw on the recent DAC Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society.

13.   The Embassy should seek opportunities for harmonisation on case-by-case basis by encouraging CSOs that receive core funding to hold regular donor roundtables.


14.   The Embassy should develop a clear phasing out strategy for CSOs with core support. This strategy could serve to justify any extensions of core support and ensure that CSOs actively work/fundraise towards a gradual decrease in dependence of such support.

Recommendation to Sida’s Civil Society Unit

1.       Sida’s civil society unit should issue a position paper on core support. Importantly, the position paper should explain how to apply Sida’s rules and regulations for steering and control in a core support context

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