Evaluation of support allocated to international non-govermental organisations
Independent evaluation by Päivi Äijälä, Kristiina Mikkola, Pia Pannula Toft
Background and Objectives
Since 1989, part of the Finnish ODA eligible funds has been allocated more systematically to support international non-governmental organisations (INGO). Since then same key issues have been raised repeatedly by external studies; the issues include mainly the concept of INGO (what kind of international organisations are eligible for support) and the administration and management procedures and responsibilities in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, MFA (how the support is provided). External assessments have found it difficult to create an overall view on the support given to the INGOs. Support to Finnish non-governmental organisations and to organisations based in the South has been systematised with guiding principles and rules, including critical reviews and improvement activities, whereas less emphasis has been given to develop management modalities for the INGO support. This evaluation focuses especially on administrative and management procedures of the INGO support in the MFA and provides a) an overall view on the support to international non-governmental organisations from the Finnish development funds from year 2000 onwards; b) an analysis of the current practices, their efficiency, effectiveness and relevance; and c) recommendations for improving and strengthening the administration and management framework.
The approach to this assignment was based on the following:
• The Development Policy of 2004 laid down the basis for this evaluation. It states the rationale of action and defines the objective for INGO support:
• Long-term commitment and predictability, in concrete terms the INGO support should focus on a limited number of organisations within each sector and incorporate an active dialogue.
• Transparency and openness, administration and management procedures and criteria should be shared and applied in a similar manner by all parties in the MFA.
• In the MFA the responsibility of INGO support has been shared from January 2003 onwards. Main actors are the Unit for Non-Governmental Organisations (KEO-33), the Unit for International Environment Policy (GLO-54), the Unit for Human Rights Policy (POL-11, until early 2005 GLO-55) and the Unit for Development Policy Information (VKO-08). Other departments and units administering Finnish development funds are potential actors as well.
• Institutional arrangements include, in addition to the mechanisms and processes, also commitment to a common policy and practice for INGO support (whom to support, and what processes to apply). A commitment by those who have the power to influence allocation of funds is a very important item with the view of increased decentralisation in the Ministry.
• With the development funds increasing, the key challenge in the near future is to ensure the quality of management.
• It is assumed that the management of INGO support will remain in the Ministry.