Thematic Evaluation of Save the Children Norway's Cooperation with Partners – Mozambique Case Study
Background In Mozambique, the partnership approach began within SCN quite early, from the early to mid-1990s. As Save the Children has come together as one international organization, SCN has identified the strengthening of local and national capacity as a working principle to develop in the new fellowship. SCI’s Global Strategy 2010-2015 has put partnership at the centre within SC’s role as an innovator, voice for children and in achieving results at scale. Purpose/objective The purpose of this evaluation was to provide an insight into SCN’s work with partners, build learning and ensure accountability, by studying the practices in Mozambique:1. Providing evidence of impact of SC in Mozambique’s cooperation with partners.2. Reviewing implementation and documenting good practices.3. Providing recommendations for future partnership cooperation, both in SCN and SCI. MethodologyThe evaluation is founded in semi-structured interviews with a sample of sixteen partners and external stakeholders (Ministries of Social Affairs and Foreign Affairs, UNICEF), meeting with one Community Committee, analysis of key documentations from SCiMoz and preliminary feedback from staff and partners and discussion of draft conclusions. Key findings The major strengths of SCN’s partnership approach were in strong relationships of mutual respect, the focus on technical capacity building and establishing permanent infrastructure and in allowing partners to develop their own agenda within the parameters of child rights. State partners particularly appreciated SCN/SCiMoz’s willingness to provide broad based funding to existing plans, the transparency with which budget ceilings are shared and SCN’s knowledge of local issues. Civil society partners particularly recognized the importance of long term institutional support, training and technical assistance all aiming at sustainability.The principal weaknesses of the partnership model were in monitoring, analysis and reporting/documentation by partners, not obliging partners to present proposals and strategic plans, the lack of a systematic approach to capacity building and the fact that exit strategies were not designed from the beginning. In terms of children’s participation, more investment is required in understanding the purpose and procedures of the children’s parliaments and schools councils.Most of the positive aspects have been sustained following unification and some weaknesses are being addressed, especially in strengthening the monitoring of change indicators. However, systems of monthly financial reporting have had a mixed response from partners and there are concerns about reduced communication and visiting. The principal issues for the future will be in sustaining the sense of partner self-determination within a context of donor funded programmes with fixed objectives that regard partners as sub grantees. Maintaining the investment in partner capacity building is also an issue with donor constraints. There has also been limited investment in organizational development, including monitoring and evaluation, although SCiMoz has plans to strengthen training in this essential area. Recommendations There was a universal call from partners to return to medium term planning and agreements. Although a medium term vision is more difficult in a context of funding uncertainties, it may be possible to engage longer term partners in strategic planning processes so they can feed into SCiMoz’s vision and to provide medium term framework partnership agreements subject to funding availability. In the future, more capacity investment in proposal writing will be important and will support partners diversifying funding sources and sustainability. Also, there should be a strengthening of the partnerships with children through procedures for children’s parliaments and training on those procedures, helping to children to share ideas through the Children’s Network website, linking activities to the Children’s report to the CRC and strengthening training for Schools Councils. Partner’s access to the internet should also be extended. Comments and follow-up from the organization, if any Follow up is built into the annual plan for 2013, with a particular focus on capacity building of NGO to look for, to access and manage various sources of funding in order to improve sustainability.