Supporting Togolese NGO in its organizational and project development

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Project design & Evaluation: The Togolese NGO received donor financial support, which exponentially increased its health project portfolio. As a basis for decision making for further funding, we were contracted to conduct a qualitative evaluation of its health portfolio. We used a range of participatory methods such as focus group discussions and the Method for Impact Assessment of Programmes and Projects (MAPP). We found that while the NGO’s project activities were well conceived and adapted to the local context, it had difficulties to effectively communicate and report its successes towards donors. Our report thus included detailed recommendations on international monitoring, reporting and evaluation standards in order to enable the Togolese NGO to acquire further donor support.

Process facilitation & Training: Based on the evaluation results, we accompanied the NGO for several months to address the identified challenges and support them with a new project funding request. This remote support was completed with a one-week, on-site workshop for the NGO staff. During the first days, we developed an organizational assessment with the staff and analysed main challenges which needed to be addressed going forward. In the following days, we conducted needs- based trainings to improve the NGO’s reporting skills and to support the development of a logframe and M&E system. The NGO continues to extend its local outreach and to propose innovative approaches to support the Togolese health system in remote regions of the country. We are proud to be a part of its family

Supporting the creation of the Blue Action Fund

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Strategy & Concept development: Supporting marine and coastal protection is a strategic priority of the German government. We helped KfW to translate this priority into the setup of a conservation trust fund dedicated to supporting marine-protected areas and coastal waters of Africa, Latin America and Asia. The fund addresses an important funding gap and serves as a global platform and financial partner for NGOs to channel funding to marine/coastal conservation projects (

Project design & Evaluation: With the aim of creating an efficient, far-reaching, impactful funding vehicle, we developed the institutional and operational aspects of the Blue Action Fund in a Design Study. The study laid the groundwork for founding the fund as a German Foundation. Furthermore, we elaborated a Grant Procedures Manual and an internal Operations Manual to design all processes from project preparation to monitoring of ongoing projects. 

Process facilitation & Training: We supported the entire process from developing the initial idea to setup of the Fund and organising the first call for proposals from participating NGOs. This busy period of one and a half years saw a number of multi-stakeholder conferences, workshops and steering committee meetings. It served as an important source of inspiration and buy-in from the many stakeholders.

Strengthening the Partnership between KfW and UNDP as well as UNICEF

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Strategy & Concept development: To enhance smoother cooperation between UNICEF/UNDP and KfW in their common endeavor to support children and families living in conflict settings, we facilitated the development of standard operating procedures (SOPs). The key objective was to develop projects more quickly and make management more efficient and predictable. In addition, we supported the partners in engaging in effective knowledge exchange and in the co-creation of innovative approaches with the aim of leveraging existing knowledge in both organizations and harnessing it for more impact in projects.

Project design & Evaluation: We developed a concise and user-friendly SOP manual that elaborates the typical project design and implementation process. During the piloting phase, this was applied to several UNICEF and UNDP programmes to test its effectiveness in improving programme design.

Process facilitation & Training: Our support lasted over a year and was organized in an agile manner with enough space to analyze, define, test and adapt solutions. We organized stakeholder participation through dialogues at management level for joint planning and review as well as on the working level for joint development of solutions and testing. All exchanges used different live and online/virtual formats and methods that supported transparency and a strong results orientation.

Prequalification of NGOs for a rapid response mechanism in Eastern Africa

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Strategy & Concept development: International NGOs have become important Implementation Partners for our client, an international donor. However, a competitive selection of the best suited NGO takes time and can delay necessary assistance. Therefore, the client wanted to set up a rapid response mechanism. To establish this mechanism, we prequalified a pool of NGOs to enable quick project preparation.

Process facilitation & Training: We undertook a screening of NGOs active in relevant countries and sectors in East Africa and invited a large number of NGOs to submit an Expression of Interest. We assessed their capacities and experiences through a visit to their regional offices in Nairobi. For this purpose, we developed a customized assessment tool that operationalizes the donor’s requirements. Based on our analysis, we developed a comprehensive report that allows the client to easily identify relevant NGOs per country and sector.

Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) for a Refugee Fund in Uganda

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Project design & Evaluation: The Refugee Response Fund aims to improve basic social services in and around refugee settlements through projects implemented by international NGOs. Since specific measures and locations were not known, an ESMF was required to ensure compliance with international and national standards. We developed the ESMF including guidance and tools for how to address key E&S issues. In addition, we developed Environmental and Social Management Plans for the pilot projects in the education and WASH sector and a Land Acquisition and Compensation Framework for the case that land acquisition cannot be avoided.

Process facilitation & Training: We closely collaborated with a team of local experts and undertook joint field visits to project regions to look at potential project sites. In addition, we organized stakeholder consultations with local officials, potential target group members and schools to analyze land acquisition risks and identify other non-intended impacts. We held several workshops with the project implementing agency to familiarize them with the environmental and social standards, mitigation measures and safeguard instruments.

Toolbox for Remote Management and Monitoring of Development Projects

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Strategy & Concept development: Managing and monitoring projects and verifying information is challenging when security risks are high and travel is restricted. New technological solutions have the potential to make data collection and transmission easier and more reliable. At the same time, local project staff and the project target group can be important players in ensuring project success. We advised a major international donor on the possibilties and risks of remote managing and monitoring.

Project design & Evaluation: Through an analysis of good practices, we developed a toolbox for project managers that includes more than 60 examples of innovative approaches for remote programming. The toolbox also provides guidance on opportunities and risks, remote project cycle management, managing stakeholder conflicts, and addressing technology-related legal and regulatory issues.

Process facilitation & Training: We undertook broad consultations to develop the toolbox. We assembled approaches used in the private sector, the construction sector, development cooperation, NGOs and universities. At several stages of the study, we involved the client through participatory workshops, and we presented the results to a wide range of the client’s staff.

SDG contribution tool: Analysing the impacts of a project portfolio in Albania

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Strategy & Concept development: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent the guiding framework for development efforts in the next decade. Estimating the impact of programs and portfolios on single SDGs is difficult but allows to orient programs and helps to avoid unintended negative impacts. Therefore, we developed a tool to estimate a program’s SDG impact “ex-ante”. The tool allows quantification and weighting of expected project results, taking into account how strong, direct and relevant the impact is in a given the country context. We also provided strategic recommendations regarding the use of SDGs for impact estimation by comparing this strategy to the commonly used DAC framework.

Project Design & Evaluation: We piloted the impact estimation tool by evaluating the German Development Cooperation portfolio in Albania with regard to its SDG contribution. The evaluation reviewed project appraisal reports and literature on the country context across all implementing institutions. We validated the results through peer verification with our wide network of thematic experts. The outcome of our evaluation showed the contribution of the portfolio to individual SDGs and thus allowed for a strategic discussion on the reorientation of the portfolio. Furthermore, piloting led to further refinement of the tool to improve its validity and explanatory power.

Supporting organizational development of the Nature Trust Alliance (NTA)

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Strategy & Concept development: Globally, there are more than 50 conservation trust funds, which are all managed separately. While some funds, especially in Latin America, regularly share experiences with each other, collaboration on administrative matters is virtually non-existent. However, as experience from the private sector shows, sharing such services holds the potential to reduce costs. In this context, we analyzed two conservation trust funds to identify strategies for pooling resources in the areas of administration, investment and grant activities.

Project design & Evaluation: We calculated the potential cost savings and synergies and recommended an institutional set-up for the shared services provision. As a result of this study, the Nature Trust Alliance was founded, a unique collaboration between three of Europe’s leading conservation trust funds. It provides operational support services, thus enabling the trust funds to focus on their core mission of nature conservation.

Process facilitation & Training: After its foundation, we supported NTA in developing its vision, mission and core services through a series of workshops with NTA employees and the Executive Directors of the supported funds. In this process, we used a wide range of design thinking methods, such as the “Painting from the Core” to facilitate the development of practical and innovative ideas. In close cooperation with the NTA team, we elaborated the Operational Manual with related tools to support the alliance’s daily work and structure processes and workflows, in line with the possibilities of the newly established organization.

Operations manual for the Climate Bridge Fund in Bangladesh

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Project design & Evaluation: The Climate Bridge Fund supports areas affected by climate-induced migration in Bangladesh. We developed the governance structure and processes of the Fund and ensured that the institutional set-up is in line with the objective to set up a legally independent Trust Fund according to Bangladeshi law. We also developed an Operational Manual, including rules and procedures for the decision-making bodies of the Fund and templates for all processes such as project selection, contracting and reporting.

Process facilitation & Training: Applying our expertise in Fund solutions as well as donor requirements, we developed a customized concept for the Climate Bridge Fund in close cooperation with all stakeholders. We held two interactive workshops with BRAC in order to ensure alignment on Fund procedures. We also interviewed potential implementing partners as well as representatives of the target group to ensure ownership of the fund approach.

Taking a fresh look at agricultural mechanisation in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Strategy & Concept development: Much of sub-Saharan Africa’s farmland is cultivated with the hand hoe; agricultural processing and transport are often done manually. For mechanization to boost food security, two questions need to be addressed: What are opportunities and risks of machine technologies? And how can the adoption of technologies by farmers be financed? We reviewed literature and facilitated expert discussions to understand the relevance of mechanization for increasing agricultural outputs and the social and environmental effects on different groups of rural inhabitants.

Project Design & Evaluations: We also developed concrete approaches: We propose mechanization through sustainable machine usage models, such as machinery rings or app-based rental, and customized technologies, such as two-wheel tractors and pedal pumps. Furthermore, we suggested adapted financial services: Non-corporate farm enterprises can be reached by working with alternative collateral, such as warehouse receipts or value chain finance. Small-scale farmers and processors can benefit from savings products, money transfers and small loans to pay for machine hiring.

Assessment of the social and environmental sustainability of a corporate supply chain in Bangladesh

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Strategy & Concept development: BMW decided to verify the social and environmental performance of the supply chain for a specific natural raw material in its country of origin. We created transparency about an informal and complex value chain and provided strategic advice not only regarding risks, but also regarding opportunities to fulfil the company’s social responsibility. We developed a value chain approach that allowed the company to assess risks along the entire supply chain of Kenaf up to the primary producers in Bangladesh. We additionally advised the client on approaches of stakeholder consultation and on methods of performance analysis appropriate to the various stakeholders involved.

Project design & Evaluations: Our analysis included agricultural practices, such as seed production, the growing cycle, harvesting techniques and interdependencies with other crops. Based on the results, we developed a concrete project proposal that addressed the main environmental and social shortcomings in terms of agricultural practices, organization of producers, traceability and income provision along the value chain. Soon thereafter, BMW contracted GIZ to implement the project: Capacity Building for the value chain stakeholders led to improved living conditions of smallholder farmers and increased the sustainability performance of all stakeholders.

Process facilitation & Training: In order to assess the social and environmental risks along the entire value chain, spanning farmers, middlemen and processors, as well as exporting firms, we worked with a bi-national team that implemented focus group discussions and interviews with different stakeholders and experts. We complemented this with a high-level expert workshop with local industry leaders and site visits along the value chains. This allowed us to map the value chain, to assess opportunities and challenges, and to estimate profit margins of each group of stakeholders. Project duration: 03-05/2013.

Developing a multi-stakeholder sustainable use of mangroves programme in Madagascar

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Project design & Evaluations: Madagascar is home to 20% of Africa’s mangroves. Many coastal communities depend on them for their daily livelihood and benefit from other eco-system services. However, mangrove wood is cut illegally for charcoal production and construction. Consequently, the surface of mangrove forests in Madagascar has significantly declined, posing a threat to related ecosystems and livelihoods. Against this backdrop, we developed a programme to foster reforestation, community-based resource governance, and alternative livelihoods. The programme is managed by the Madagassi national parks agency and works with both international and local NGOs to implement specific projects. We selected NGO projects through a call for proposals and developed an overall programme concept.

Process facilitation & Training: In order to develop a coherent programme with a multitude of stakeholders, we commenced the assignment by developing a joint vision among all stakeholders during a side event to the Madagassi national conference on mangroves. For the evaluation of the proposals, we organized a pitch day, where each organization presented their concept and was available for initial questioning. We harmonized the approach and monitoring among the selected proposals by facilitating a joint workshop with metaplan and Theory U methods.

Developing a methodology for Peace and Conflict Assessment (PCA)

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Strategies & Concept developement: A further development of the Peace and Conflict Assessment (PCA) methodological framework was needed to integrate the dimensions of fragility and violence. We developed a practical guideline for conducting PCAs. The objective was to coherently interlock the steering instruments on the BMZ side (e.g. country strategies) with the steering instruments on the side of the implementing organizations (Minimum standards, PCA application) for improved coherence.

Process facilitation & Training: We conducted a series of workshops with GIZ, KfW and BMZ to facilitate expert discussions on best-practice approaches to conflict analysis and conflict monitoring. We facilitated the workshop, engaging participants and guiding the thought process using the metaplan method. In addition, we incorporated academic insights on the dimensions of state fragility and drew insights from our experience with risk assessment and management on the ground.

Developing a TVET approach for industrial parks in Ethiopia

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Project design & Evaluation: Ethiopia’s new industrial parks promise to provide sizeable employment opportunities for young people with limited formal education and skills. However, in a Programme Design study, we found out that the challenge of providing TVET and economic opportunities to refugee youth and host communities in remote areas goes beyond the opportunities that industrial parks can offer. We proposed a methodology for arriving at innovative solutions for the provision of TVET and assessed different possibilities of supporting the integration of refugees and youth from host communities into the TVET system. These included improving cooperation between public TVET institutes and industrial park companies in order to provide tailor-made training and the extension of TVET to areas close to refugee camps.

Process facilitation & Training: We organized a series of participatory multi-stakeholder workshops in Ethiopia to analyze private sector needs and inform the strategy of public TVET institutes. In a co-creation process, occupational profiles required in an industrial park were developed with local TVET authorities, TVET providers and private-sector actors. In addition, the broad stakeholder consultations resulted in a methodology to harness existing NGO experience for adapted modes of TVET delivery in regions close to refugee camps.

Innovative approaches for skills development and employment promotion for Africa

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Strategies & Concept developement: A young and growing population in Africa requires an increasing number of jobs. Therefore, employment promotion is pertinent, but how to best achieve it is often unclear. To provide orientation to our client, we analyzed broad economic trends and challenges in different areas of the African continent. We recommended to focus not just on employment numbers, but also on job quality: Valuable jobs are productive, safe, promote social cohesion and provide the basis for decent livelihoods.

Project design & Evaluation: As part of the study, we identified concrete project approaches that 1) strengthen framework conditions for employment, such as policy-based operations for jobs, 2) promote the private sector and innovation, such as venture capital, business development services or technical skills for SME employees and 3) support industrial zones as catalysts for regional growth as well as future-oriented labour-intensive sectors, such as the emerging “green” construction sector. We evaluated the different approaches regarding the broadness of their impact and different aspects of job quality.

Revising the German implementation strategy for Afghanistan

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Strategy & Concept developement: Deteriorating security conditions pose great challenges to the activities of German Development Cooperation in Afghanistan, as they severely limit access of international staff to partners and project regions. Based on many interviews with experts located in the country, we conducted an in-depth analysis of implementation risks and assessed the openness of the Afghan government to reform and change. As a result, we developed various scenarios for a future engagement strategy in Afghanistan.

Project design & Evaluation: In order to develop concrete proposals, we also assessed the suitability of alternative implementation modalities to support the priorities of the Afghan government and adapt to the changing context. These included financing of UN organizations, working with international NGOs or funding additional Trust Funds. To that end, we developed a tailor-made assessment system with alignment, efficiency, risk and “Mitgestaltung” as major criteria.

Remote Ex-post Evaluation of a microfinance institution in Syria

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Project design & Evaluations: A Microfinance Institution in Syria was recapitalized to diversify its financial services. Then, the Syrian civil war started and decisively changed the programme environment. In this context, we conducted an ex-post evaluation and found that despite the challenges (high inflation, physical damages to branches, payment defaults), the MFI was still in business and serving its clients. Strikingly, it had even adapted its services to its clients’ changing needs (e.g. start-up loans for internally displaced persons, secure money transfers between branches).

Process facilitation & Training: Without being able to travel to Syria for security reasons, we remotely managed local consultants who conducted focus group discussions, field audits and interviews in different regions of the country. We assured the quality of this work through initial coaching, structured formats, close interaction and extensive debriefing. Among MFI staff, an online survey in Arabic shed light on the institutional changes and processes in the face of conflict.

Designing a Regional Migration Fund for the Horn of Africa

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Strategy & Concept developement: In order to address the pressing challenges arising from migration and displacement in the region, we supported the German government and IGAD in setting up a Regional Migration Fund. In discussions with target groups, government entities and experts, we identified as primary goals the improvement of economic opportunities in transit locations and inclusive socio-economic infrastructure in protracted displacement settings. The Fund’s innovative area-based approach and inclusion of local communities in investment planning enable a dynamic and needs-based response to local challenges.

Project design & Evaluations: In a design study, we developed the governance structure and operational set-up of the Fund. During this process, we had to balance the need for lean decision-making with sufficient control mechanisms in order to mitigate identified risks. In addition, we defined implementation modalities, with a focus on transparent location selection acceptable to all stakeholders. The central aspects of the Fund’s design were summarized in an Aide Mémoire signed by IGAD and KfW (see link).

Process facilitation & Training: To ensure ownership by IGAD and its member states, we facilitated several stakeholder workshops at the operational and management level. During various workshops, the workplan and interim results of our work were discussed, giving IGAD and KfW the opportunity to contribute their ideas and oversee the Fund development process. In addition, we compared guidelines and procedures of IGAD and KfW and negotiated harmonised rules for the Regional Migration Fund that we laid down in a Fund Manual.