Challenge funds, grant funds and managed funds are used increasingly by international development agencies and other partners to support poverty reduction initiatives undertaken by civil society organisations and businesses. We provide a comprehensive range of grant and challenge fund management services. Our experience covers business-oriented enterprise challenge funds and those oriented towards civil society and social development. We have experience of supporting all stages of the fund management cycle including fund design, calls for proposals, appraisal and selection of candidates, performance and risk management, financial management, procurement, capacity strengthening, monitoring and evaluation and learning.
We have worked on funding schemes financed by a range of agencies in a number of sectors including governance, poverty reduction, health and private sector development. Our Clients include donors and agencies such as DFID, IFAD, SIDA, DANIDA, AusAid/ DFAT and AGRA as well as foundations such as MasterCard. We recognise the importance of carefully tailoring the design of challenge funds to meet donors’ development objectives and the particular importance of designing calls for proposals and marketing to attract the right kind of applicants; and establishing an appropriate balance of performance and risk management between fund managers and grant recipients.
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Meta - evaluation of 10 SIDA - supported Challenge Funds to learn lessons about when is it appropriate to use the Challenge Fund and to improve the design and management of future funds. This will help SIDA, other donors and investors to maximise the economic, environmental and social impact of Challenge Funds in the developing world. The total value of SIDA contributions to the 10 Challenge funds we evaluated is approximately US $112m. The funds support a total of more than 1,200 projects implemented by civil society organisations and businesses.
The Arab Women’s Enterprise Fund (AWEF) was a five-year initiative financed by the Department of International Development (DFID) and Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to address barriers to women’s economic inclusion in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region. We prepared a detailed project design for the Fund, including a theory of change and indicative logical framework, based on an analysis of the regional context and barriers to women’s economic empowerment, as well as extensive consultation with key stakeholders. We also developed management, governance and monitoring & evaluation arrangements for the fund.
Trademark is a multi-donor funded organisation promoting trade and economic integration in East Africa. TMEA is working on a wide variety of programmes and projects including infrastructure development, organisational development and reform, civil society and private sector advocacy campaigns and organisational development of civil society. We refined the theory of change and developed a strategic level results framework to link individual project results chains to country programmes and overall strategic framework. The results framework has been introduced by TMEA across 6 countries in East Africa.
The DFID Arab Partnership Fund (APF) is a £110 million fund jointly managed by DFID and FCO over four years. There are two funding windows: the £70 million Arab Partnership Economic Facility to support inclusive and sustainable economic growth, managed and funded by DFID; and the £40 million Arab Partnership Participation Fund to support political reform and civil society, managed by the FCO (with £20 million funding from DFID). The programme covers a broad spread of issues: from constitutional drafting to rural women’s enterprises in poultry keeping and hairdressing. We carried out this complex evaluation to assess how effective the fund was in delivering its planned outcomes, and the relevance of these outcomes to the needs of countries in transition.
The EEP/Shiree Programme was an £84 million programme that included two challenge funds (scale and innovation), a comprehensive academic research programme and strategic advocacy. The programme aimed to lift over a million people out of extreme poverty, to deepen knowledge and improve practices to address extreme poverty (for women, men, girls and boys) and to bring about strategic policy change at national and sub-national levels. The findings and lessons from our evaluation contributed to the design of DFID’s follow-on initiative particularly in the areas of approaches to results measurement, the way in which innovation is supported, and the design of strategic and more action oriented research to inform practice and policy advocacy.
Katalyst is a market development project that aims to contribute to improving the income of poor women and men in rural areas of Bangladesh. It does this by facilitating changes in services, inputs and product markets, which in turn increase the competitiveness of farmers and small enterprises. In the final phase of the programme Katalyst introduced an innovation fund delivery model to solicit innovative ideas from private sector and other facilitating organisations to support strategic development in a range of agribusiness–related sectors. We completed an external review of the programme including recommendations on the design of challenge funds to support M4P (Making Markets Work for the Poor) programmes.
The Global Poverty Action Fund aimed to bring about tangible changes to the lives of poor people and address off-track Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The fund supported both UK and overseas-based civil society initiatives in empowerment, accountability and capacity strengthening as well as service delivery and innovation. Projects were selected on their ability to demonstrate real and positive changes to the lives of poor people (men and women). Thematic areas included education, health, water and sanitation, access to information and microfinance, conflict, security and justice. We worked closely with DFID to manage the evolution of this £141 million fund, which supported 182 projects over five years. Our services included the development of the programmatic framework, development of grantee selection and approval mechanisms, financial management, risk management and quality assurance, monitoring, evaluation and learning and strengthening the capacity of civil society organisations in results measurement, financial management and programming for gender equality and social inclusion.
The Government of Sierra Leone and the World Bank have established a US$12m fund which aims to promote smallholder commercialization by fostering productive business linkages between smallholder farmers and selected agribusiness firms and other agricultural commodity buyers in Sierra Leone. The Sierra Leone Agribusiness Development Fund (SLADF) provides agribusinesses with competitive value chain finance tailored to their needs and required for the provision of productivity enhancing services and market access to out-growers. The project will target four commodity value-chains (rice, cocoa, oil palm and poultry). We are the monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) partner for the SLADF, providing support to the Fund Manager KPMG IDAS. We were responsible for the design of the Fund’s monitoring and evaluation framework and processes, and as the portfolio matures will be responsible for M&E data collection and annual learning site visits - including workshops and focus groups to gather data from grantees and smallholder farmers.
DFID’s UK Aid Match programme is designed to support civil society projects contributing to the achievement of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development and to engage the UK public with international development issues. DFID matches funds raised through public appeals thereby enabling the public to have a say in how a portion of the international development budget is spent. IPE Triple Line is working with DFID’s Inclusive Societies Department in the management of the fund, providing support in the appraisal of concept notes and proposals and project selection.
The Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF), launched in 2011, was one of the first funds for humanitarian action specifically designed to enable innovation ideas to be developed and tested. Grant funding is structured around a five-stage innovation model (recognition > invention > development > implementation > diffusion). The evaluation provided accountability to stakeholders; supported learning about how the HIF’s processes support or hinder effectiveness; and contributed to strategic development.
The AECF is a $265 million challenge fund to stimulate private sector entrepreneurs to innovate and find profitable ways of improving access to markets and the ways markets function for the poor, particularly in rural areas. The Fund awards grants and repayable grants to support innovative business ideas in agriculture, agribusiness, renewable energy, adaptation to climate change and access to financial services. We worked in partnership with the Fund Manager, KPMG, to measure results including quantitative and qualitative analysis of the impacts on men, women, girls and boys in rural poor households. We conducted a comprehensive gender review of the AECF and provided guidance and advice for improving gender mainstreaming in the next phase.
The MasterCard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity is a $50 million challenge fund which aims to improve the lives of 1,000,000 people living in poverty by enabling businesses to begin or expand financial services in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. We are assisting in the implementation of the Fund in partnership with KPMG and implementing a monitoring and evaluation strategy to capture the results of the funded projects covering improved livelihoods, empowerment and resilience.
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