Multi-donor support mechanisms for civil society (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 940)

What is the experience with multi-donor platforms for civil society, especially their support for voice and social accountability?



What is the current state of experience globally with multi-donor platforms for civil society, particularly in support for voice and accountability and/or social accountability? Identify initiatives (possibly in Africa) and results.

Key findings

The experience of multi-donor support mechanisms for CSOs is mixed. There are a number of potential advantages for donors engaging in pooled funding strategies, including working with donors who have a stronger presence and a track record in a particular context, and reducing transaction costs in the medium- to long- term. However, experts indicate that the difficulties of providing support to CSOs can be compounded when multiple donors are involved. There can be a tendency to 'over-manage'. Further, the choice of management intermediaries and the application procedures for CSOs seeking support require careful consideration.

While there are a range of programmes identified in this report, details on results are limited. Much of the project literature is descriptive rather than evaluative in nature, with limited mention of outcomes and results. In addition, many of the pooled funding programmes for CSOs are fairly recent, accounting for the lack of available evaluations. From the available literature, some of the identified programmes and results achieved include:

  • The Deepening Democracy Fund in Uganda was used by seven parliamentary committees to commission 15 reports on various topics, and to provide resources to inform issues of electoral reform
  • Samata in Bangladesh achieved notable results in its Land Rights Programme, including the recovery and redistribution of over 90,000 acres of resources (land and water resources) among over 1.9 million landless families, and the election of 458 landless men and women group members to local government (Union Parishad)
  • The Civil Society Support Programme to Ethiopia deepened its direct relationships with CSO partners and indirect relationships with CSO partners through Learn and Share Events


Hinds, R. Multi-donor support mechanisms for civil society (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 940). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2013) 10 pp.

Multi-donor support mechanisms for civil society (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 940)

Published 1 January 2013