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This Report is based on an analysis of information, the submission of which was obligatory for all Danish organisations with ongoing activities financed by the Danish government’s NGO appropriation for 2010. Furthermore, 15 Danish embassies in developing countries reported to the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on civil society support. This Report sums up the embassies’ assessments of developments in framework conditions for civil society (Issue 0).

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with NGO Forum, which represents Danish organisations involved in development cooperation, has drawn up a reporting guide and
a catalogue of ideas to steer the organisations in their qualitative reporting. The fundamental principle is that the organisations themselves choose which questions they want to answer in order to shed light on their areas of intervention. This year, the full list contained 23 questions distributed across six issues (Annex 2).

The number of questions to be answered by each organisation was determined by the modality of its cooperation with
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and by its total amount of aid disbursements in 2010. The maximum number of responses required was 10. The organisations were allowed to select many of the questions, although a response on some issues was obligatory, namely the issue of framework conditions for civil society, the ’issue of the year’ regarding harmonisation and effectiveness, as well as the issue of fragile states and situations for those organisations that operate under such circumstances. Once again, the degree to which questions were optional depended
on the type of cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and on the total amount of annual disbursements. Each response was to have a length of at least ½ page and at most 1 page. The organisations typed their text into a web-based reporting system, to which each was given access through a unique link.

This year, 57 organisations contributed to the cross-cutting monitoring exercise. The increase in number springs from the inclusion in the reporting on 2010, in contrast to 2009, of organisations channelling aid of between DKK 1 and 5 million. The 57 organisations are distributed across the following types:

Type Number
Organisation with a framework funding and cooperation agreements with the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs 6
Organisation with programme grant and/or one or several projects (individual projects and/or grants from funds open for applications) and total annual disbursements of more than DKK 20 million 5
Organisation with programme grant and/or one or several projects (individual projects and/or grants from funds open for applications) and total annual disbursements of between DKK 10 and 20 million 4
Organisation with programme grant and/or one or several projects (individual projects and/or grants from funds open for applications) and total annual disbursements of between DKK 5 and 10 million 8
Organisation with programme grant and/or one or several projects (individual projects and/or grants from funds open for applications) and total annual disbursements of between DKK 1 and 5 million 32
Organisation in charge of administering a fund open for applications* 4

* Two such organisations have contributed both in their capacity as fund administrators and as individual project implementers. This is why the number of organisations totals 59.

The 23 questions are divided into six issues, which together represent the Civil Society Strategy’s nine strategic goals. The link between issues and goals is set out in the table on the next page.

0 Framework conditions for civil society
  • Work for the establishment of a better framework for civil society’s participation and work in developing countries in relations to, for examples, national legislation, cooperation processes and public financing (part of goal 1).
1 Rights-based aid, advocacy and vibrant debate
  • Together with civil society actors, endeavour to promote a vibrant and open debate on poverty reduction, nationally and internationally (part of goal 1).
  • Promote the involvement of civil society organisations in advocacy work – locally, nationally, regionally and internationally (part of goal 3).
  • Strengthen cooperation with civil society organisations seeking to ensure the implementation of international conventions and declarations concerning human rights, such as rights for women, children, people with disabilities, indigenous people and other particularly vulnerable population groups (part of goal 4).
2 Aid effectiveness and harmonisation
  • Involve civil society in the implementation and further development of the Paris Declaration, nationally and internationally (part of goal 1).
  • Strive to encourage civil society to organisations to apply relevant principles from the Paris Declaration in their work, such as local ownership, use of and adaptation to local systems, harmonisation and coordination of efforts, and results orientation (part of goal 2).
  • Collaborate with other donors and civil society organisations in Denmark and in developing countries to promote harmonisation and alignment of reporting tools and methods of funding (part of goal 8)
3 Partnership and representative, legitimate and locally based civil societies
  • Work for the establishment of a better framework for civil society’s participation and work in developing countries in relations to, for examples, national legislation, cooperation processes and public financing (part of goal 1).
  • Support a diversity of civil society organisations, so as to ensure that the needs and circumstances of many different groups can be addressed (part of goal 2).
  • Promote local ownership in the partnerships with civil society organisations in developing countries (part of goal 7).
  • Support initiatives promoting dialogue and cooperation between civil society organisations and the business community as well as other actors, such as research institutions, media and political parties (part of goal 8).
4 Capacity development of civil society organisations in developing countries
  • Place greater emphasis on civil society organisations in developing countries working with standards for good governance, sensible division of labour, popular foundation and inclusion of target groups in decision-making processes (part of goal 2).
  • Emphasise capacity development, and that civil society actors in developing countries assume full ownership and independent responsibility for preparing and implementing activities (part of goal 3).
  • Support the capacity of civil society organisations to establish, develop and participate in national, regional and international network (part of goal 3).
5 Fragile states and situations
  • Work in fragile situations to foster cooperation with local, Danish and international civil society organisations on promoting human rights, stabilisation efforts and services as well as conflict prevention and reconciliation efforts (part of goal 5).
  • Contribute to ensuring flexible conditions enabling civil society support in fragile situations to be adapted to difficult working conditions, and create a better transition between short-term humanitarian action and long-term development assistance (part of goal 5).


Using the qualitative method for this type of reporting is a novelty, even internationally. Last year’s exercise earned appreciative comments from a series of like-minded international actors, being perceived as an attempt to blaze new trails in the monitoring of civil society support. This type of monitoring is an alternative to the more widespread quantitative measurement of the scope and nature of development cooperation. For example, this method produces no figures on how many people have benefited from the projects and programmes launched. The need for such quantitative reporting is met by the organisations’ annual progress reports, which contain more exact calculations of specific results compared to those anticipated in the grant application.

The principle of self-reporting within this methodological approach means that the organisations’ narratives exclusively illustrate interventions selected for being characteristic or instructive of their work with that particular issue. Accordingly, when interpreting the stories chosen by the organisations, the utmost caution is required in terms of any conclusions that might be drawn from them. For example, when a question has provoked few responses, this does not necessarily warrant the conclusion that the Danish organisations are unconcerned about the matters which it raises. Nor does it illustrate any real distribution of the organisations’ activities between the various fields (such as advocacy, capacity-building and the like)


This year’s reporting has entailed an attempt to paint a more measurable and tangible picture of the Danish organisations’ work by means of two new instruments.

The organisations were asked to assess the relative strategic weight attributed to their work within each of the six issues. This exercise enabled a useful depiction of the Danish organisations’ strategic focus, which is shown on page 13.

In addition, the organisations performed a self-evaluation of their own work within the same six issues against the background of the case stories they had chosen to report and in view of how well they had initially expected to do, grading their own performance according to each of the three parameters of ’effort’, ’effect’ and ’learning’. However, it subsequently had to be acknowledged that this exercise failed to produce useful data, which is why this element has been omitted in the Report.

One area which has yet to be methodologically fine-tuned in this format concerns the submissions by organisations in charge of administering funds open for applications, which report on behalf of a number of Danish organisations operating in developing countries with small grants. For example, the Project Fund managed by the Project Advice and Training Centre accounts for a large share of Danish civil society support, issuing many grants to Danish popular organisations which genuinely represent diversity. This is an area of reporting which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, along with the organisations administering funds open for applications, will seek to optimise in next year’s exercise.

As regards reporting on capacity development, both last year and this year it has been difficult for the organisations to pin down this issue and professional field in methodological terms. It seems to work best when capacity development is narrated in relation to a specific purpose, that is under the other issues, and not as a field conceived of methodologically in its own right Accordingly, it should be considered whether capacity development ought to remain a separate issue or instead be integrated into the other five issues. For the reporting on 2011, however, it is recommended that capacity development be kept as a separate issue, albeit phrasing the questions more precisely and improving the catalogue of ideas in this area. Once the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ evaluation of the Civil Society Strategy has been completed, and when results are available from the third cross-cutting monitoring, the positioning of this issue can be revisited.


The Civil Society Strategy prescribes interventions to promote a strong and diversified civil society in developing countries across the various areas of Danish development cooperation. This Report concerns cross-cutting monitoring of the actual Strategy, but it should be stressed that the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs can also live up to the Strategy’s goals in many other areas. The Strategy, its principles and goals are not confined to the particular modality of aid that is channelled through Danish organisations, which is the field of study of the present Report. The Danish civil society support in a broader sense is illustrated in the figure below, and it encompasses:

  1. Support given directly to civil society organisations
    • This can be channelled through Danish organisations entering into partnerships with like-minded organisations in developing countries. It is administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Copenhagen and paid out as grants, on which annual reports are submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the case of larger organisations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs convenes a meeting every two years, at which the organisations present their reports on ongoing grants and their plans for new activities.
      • There are special formats for the monitoring of these activities, which grant recipients must use and forward to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
    • It can also be channelled through Danish embassies in developing countries, which are authorised to hand out small amounts of financial support to local organisations in the host country. This forms part of the embassy’s decentralised grant authority.
      • Grant recipients must report to the embassy concerned, which compiles summaries of grants for the use of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Copenhagen.
  2. Support for civil society organisations included in other Danish aid modalities
    • This can be bilateral sector programmes financed by Denmark and implemented by national authorities in Danida’s partner countries. In a series of cases, they contain components specifically targeted at civil society and/or implemented by civil society organisations.
      • Reporting on issues of relevance to the Civil Society Strategy forms part of the combined sector programme reporting, while monitoring is undertaken by the Danish embassies in the countries concerned.
    • It can also be channelled through multilateral organisations – for example the World Bank and the regional development banks, the European Commission and UN organisations – which receive Danish funds and, in many cases, implement activities and programmes in pursuit of goals that coincide with those of the Civil Society Strategy.
      • Reporting on this is included in the organisations’ combined reporting to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while monitoring is incumbent on the Danish representation to each multilateral body.
  • Bilateral sector programme support
  • Multilateral organisations
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs > Danish organisations > local partners
  • Danish embassies > local organisations
  • Cross-cutting monitoring - Annual Report
  • Evaluation of the Strategy 2011-12

This page forms part of the publication 'Danish organisations’ cross-cutting monitoring of the implementation of the Civil Society Strategy, 2010' as chapter 9 of 17
Version 1.0. 11-12-2011
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