Evaluation of NGO funds
According to a comprehensive external evaluation carried out in 2010, the NGO Funds have yielded positive results in diverse fields, and provided a well-managed, effective, accessible and visible contribution to the NGO sector in Central and Southern Europe. In terms of wider impact, the findings of the report confirm the significance of the support for the development of civil society, particularly in areas such as advocacy and social inclusion.
Under the NGO funds 2004-09, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein established 19 NGO funds with a total amount of €85 million. The Funds support activities mainly in the areas of environment, democracy, human rights, social inclusion and anti-discrimination, and promote advocacy, awareness raising and service provision by NGOs as well as capacity-building of the sector itself.
Key overall findings
• The evaluation shows that the NGO funds provide a well-managed, effective, significant and visible contribution to the ongoing development of the NGO sector in Central and Southern Europe.
• The NGO funds have demonstrated innovation, assisted in addressing inequalities and targeted needs of local communities.
• The funds have helped strengthen the capacity of organisations to advocate, increase volunteering, build coalitions and change attitudes.
• There is a need for further focusing of the funds, simplification of the management and reporting system and better defining of a clear framework for bilateral partnerships and cross-cutting contributions.
• There is a need for more user friendly implementation systems for end beneficiaries
• There is a need for common guidelines or standards applied to all NGO Funds, to be provided by the FMO, which would improve the clarity and efficiency of the NGO Funds as well as provide equal conditions for NGOs in all beneficiary states.
• There is a need to draw from the learning and experience of the current experience of the NGO Funds, for the future set-up of the NGO Funds. Appropriate stakeholder consultations at a national level, as well as consultations at a European level, should be held.
• Within the donors overall priorities, the country needs and priorities should be agreed in consultation with the NGO sector
• The wide diversity of beneficiary states and their NGO sectors suggests that a “one size fits all” approach for any future NGO Fund would not be successful. The FMO should discuss with beneficiary states the establishment of implementation systems that would allow flexibility and efficiency.
• Application, assessment and implementation processes are very important, and good practice from a number of beneficiary states should to be included in the guidelines from the FMO for future NGO Funds.
• A mechanism should be developed for exchanging information among funded NGOs, including both general and thematic areas, both through thematic country meetings and via electronic means throughout the beneficiary states.