Evaluation on Programme-based Support through Finnish Civil Society Organizations I

CSO1 evaluation synthesis report (Opens New Window)(PDF, 156 pages, 1068 MB)

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs evaluates the development cooperation programmes of all 22 Finnish Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) receiving programme-based support. This first evaluation covered six CSOs: Crisis Management Initiative; Fairtrade Finland; Felm; Finnish Refugee Council; Taksvärkki; and World Wide Fund for Nature Finland.

The overall conclusion of the evaluation of the six CSO programmes is that they have achieved valuable results. A large part of them can be categorised as empowerment of beneficiaries or rights holders. The CSOs in partner countries generally regard support from the Finnish CSOs as more than merely financial. Finnish CSOs also learn in cooperation. In most cases, human rights principles have been well integrated into the planning and implementation of the programmes.

The programmes are well aligned with Finnish Development policy priorities. The evaluation concludes that the CSO programmes are likely to have a positive impact in the long-term. However, recent MFA budget cuts have forced the CSOs to reduce or abandon projects, thus reducing the positive results of their programmes.

The CSO programmes have focussed on service provision or on building the capacity of CSOs for service provision. Only few programmes have focused on building a capacity for advocacy. The project funding from Finnish CSOs leaves little opportunity for their partners to invest in organisational development.

The Civil Society Unit of MFA is involved at the strategic level and leaves the management of the programmes to the Finnish CSOs and their local partners. Trust is a key component of the partnership modality and due to this, decisions can be taken flexibly and rapidly. It is concluded that governance and management at instrument level is efficient.  Some CSOs find that the feedback on substantial issues from the Civil Society Unit is insufficient.

The implementers of the programmes are cost conscious. CSOs in the partner countries have a strong sense of ownership of the projects. They have ensured that results are in accordance with the local social and cultural context. However, although some of them are financially sustainable, in many cases long-term funding is still a weak point. The Finnish CSOs and their partners are generally successful in coordinating, networking and sharing information with other development partners: although there is still room for improvement. There is generally little or no complementarity among the CSO programmes and other Finnish interventions. The programmes of the CSOs are widely spread geographically. The evaluation considered whether the MFA would achieve greater efficiency by grouping the interventions and concentrating national resources in specific regions or on specific themes. However, this would run counter to the wealth of experience and relations which the CSOs have developed over the years.

The evaluation found that the M&E systems of all 22 CSOs receiving programme-based support are being upgraded and that all the CSOs are establishing RBM systems that support achievement of results, and that MFA has contributed to laying the ground for results-based management of the programmes.

CSO1 evaluation CMI report (Opens New Window) (PDF, 86 pages, 849 MB)

CSO1 evaluation Fairtrade report (Opens New Window) (PDF, 84 pages, 913 MB)

CSO1 evaluation Felm report (Opens New Window) (PDF, 142 pages, 1237 MB)

CSO1 evaluation FRC report (Opens New Window) (PDF, 100 pages, 820 MB)

CSO1 evaluation Taksvärkki report (Opens New Window)(PDF, 122 pages, 1066 MB)

CSO1 evaluation WWF report (Opens New Window) (PDF, 126 pages, 1292 MB)

Webinar recording: Presentation of evaluation results(Link to another website.)