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From Multi-donor support to civil society and engaging with 'non-traditional' civil society: A light-touch review of DFID's portfolio

Research reports

Written by Fletcher Tembo

The DFID Effective States Team (EST) commissioned ODI to conduct a ‘light touch’ review of: (i) multi-donor models for supporting civil society; and (ii) efforts to reach out to ‘non-traditional’ civil society. The study tests the assumption that multi-donor support mechanisms scale up and enhance the effectiveness of civil society engagement with the state for improved governance and poverty reduction. The study identifies and analyses: (a) Existing multi-donor programmes for support to civil society as well as on-going transitions to harmonised ways of working; (b) How particular multi-donor funds are positioned within the broader aid architecture in any one country. (c) Experience of engaging with different non-traditional civil society organisations, and related challenges, strengths and weaknesses. This document presents: (i) a summary of key findings; (ii) issues for further study; (iii) lessons on multi-donor instruments for civil society support; and (iv) lessons on working with ‘non-traditional’ civil society.

Fletcher Tembo and Adrian Wells with Enrique Mendizabal