Finance, Employment & Skills Development

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.

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.

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.