Partner Review of Mongabay

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Mongabay is a non-for-profit organization founded in 1999 and based in California, USA. Mongabay is an environmental science and conservation news organization with presence / activities in several countries / regions around the world. Norad intend to enter into a new project agreement with Mongabay with NOK 30 000 000,- for for the period 2021-2026.As part of Norad’s assessment of new partners Norad will normally to a partner review. Due to the size of the first agreement with Mongabay this was not done at the time. Furthermore, as part of Norad’s grant management partner reviews are performed periodically. The partner review is a tool to evaluate the partner’s competence and capacity in various areas including financial management, cost efficiency and results management. The review conducted under the framework agreement provided an assessment of Mongabay as a partner for Norad and provided recommendations to ensure better planning and follow-up by the grant manager and by the grant recipients.

The objectives have been to describe, analyse and assess Mongabay in terms of its Organisational structure and governance; Cost effectiveness, financial management and auditing process; Level of results achievement, including capacity for results management and contribution to civil society strengthening and; Partnership approach. The review has been guided by the Abilities Framework, a holistic and multi-dimensional organizational assessment. The four “abilities” under scrutiny, which are needed for organizations to be effective and well-functioning, are: The ability to be, which relates to the organisation’s identity, leadership and governance. The ability to organise, which relates to the availability and use of organisational systems, policies and procedures. The ability to do, which relates to the relevance, effectiveness and sustainability of programmes and interventions; and the ability to relate, which relates to the organisation’s capacity to build effective relationships with other organisations and constituents and adapt to changes.

Recommendations to Norad were to ensure that the budget for external evaluation within the Norad funded programme is adequate to ensure that there are opportunities for a learning focused evaluation process. And to avoid misunderstandings and negative consequences for the applicants. It is important that donors - like Norad - are communicating clearly and precise regarding expected funding to organizations and other stakeholders.

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