Project Profile

DFID Civil Society Challenge Fund, Final Evaluation

Client // DFID Inclusive Societies Department
Country // Global
Date // 2015

The Civil Society Challenge Fund was one of DFID’s longest running challenge funds. It was created in 2000 to support UK based Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to strengthen the capacity of civil society in the Global South to effect policy and practice change that benefits poor and marginalised people.  In 2010 the fund was closed to new applicants and the last projects were completed in March 2015.

As the fund drew to a close, IOD PARC was asked to conduct a Final Evaluation of the Civil Society Challenge Fund with an emphasis on learning.  The objective of The Evaluation was to “Understand how the Civil Society Challenge Fund has contributed to improved capacity of southern civil society to engage in local and national decision making processes.”  

The evaluation found that The Civil Society Challenge Fund continues to be relevant to the local context of Southern CSOs by supporting civil society to empower poor and marginalised people to increase their voice in decisions that affect their lives. In addition to widespread evidence of civil society engagement in policy dialogue and development, a large number of projects contributed to the adoption of policies likely to bring lasting benefits for poor, vulnerable people by influencing the policy, professional and normative frameworks relevant to their targeted populations. This was often achieved through a wide range of formal and informal capacity development approaches.  The Evaluation found many positive examples of projects benefiting very diverse groups of poor and marginalised people.

The team members were Sadie Watson, Cowan Coventry and Naomi Blight.  

The Evaluation report can be accessed here and the lessons and communications piece be accessed here