Final evaluation of the Strategic Partnership on Dialogue and Dissent
NIMD was part of the Strategic Partnership for Dialogue and Dissent with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the period 2016-2020.
The programme was entitled “Conducive environment for effective policy influencing: The role of political parties and parliaments”.
Its aim was to contribute to a conducive environment in which political and civic actors could effectively influence political processes in order to advocate for inclusive and equitable social change
An independent, final evaluation of the Strategic Partnership took place towards the end of 2020, the final year of the Strategic Partnership programme.
The objectives of the final evaluation
The primary aim of the evaluation is to enable NIMD to draw lessons to benefit its future programmes.
The evaluation also provides an independent assessment of the extent to which the programme effectively realized its intended outcomes, as well as the extent to which resources entrusted to the programme have been used efficiently. This is important information when it comes to NIMD’s accountability to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The content of the final evaluation
The evaluation includes an overall review of NIMD’s programme results in all 14 countries covered in the Strategic Partnership. It also assessed NIMD’s results on the core themes of:
1) realising multi-party dialogue
2) participation of women in politics
3) capacity building of NIMD’s partners
In addition to this, the evaluation assesses the validity of the programme’s theory of change (ToC); the sustainability of results; internal learning; the effects of programmatic shock (e.g. the COVID-19 pandemic and thecollapse of NIMD’s original strategic partner, AWEPA); and the quality of partnerships.
Summary of findings
The evaluation’s overall conclusion is that, through the Strategic Partnership, NIMD has provided a unique and relevant contribution to the Dialogue & Dissent framework.
The Strategic Partnership with NIMD is the only programme that worked directly with political parties and parliaments, which are critical and essential actors in furthering inclusive democratization processes.
The desk review and outcome cases reveal that the partnership has made small but significant contributions towards more pluriform democratic processes, most notably in the creation and broadening of dialogue mechanisms, while progress towards women’s participation has proved the most challenging.
The evaluation also finds that the programme has shown resilience in adapting to changing circumstances, which has benefitted its effectiveness in reaching and influencing political actors, going beyond political parties when necessary.
Nevertheless, the evaluation also acknowledges that the complexity of pursuing changes in political systems and behaviour across multiple countries demands modesty in the speed and scale of change. This makes it impossible to answer the question of whether the programme has made ‘enough’ progress.
In addition, the sustainability of the programme results remains vulnerable and subject to the (changing) will of political actors. Ensuring sustainability will require long-term, consistent and repetitive exposure to democratic norms and values. For this purpose, NIMD’s democracy schools have proven to be a relevant and valuable intervention.
At NIMD, we are happy with the conclusion that our contribution has been unique and relevant. We believe strongly in the need to promote inclusive democratization processes, and working with political actors is an important part of that.
We recognize that we work in very complex settings, and that moving towards a more inclusive political culture and system is requires resilience and commitment over many years. It takes time to strengthen political parties and other actors; help build effective working relations between political forces; and facilitate trust building.
We feel that the findings of this evaluation substantiate our emphasis on long-term commitment, as one of the key guiding principles of our work. In every country we work in, we invest in long-lasting relationships with both our partners and the political actors we work with. It’s about continuing to nurture democratic values and ensuring the sustainability of our work in the long term.
Our next step will be to build our plans to follow-up on the conclusions and learnings from the evaluation. Through this process, and by setting out concrete actions, we will ensure that we have learned through this evaluation, and through the Strategic Partnership in general, will benefit our current and future programmes.
The full evaluation can be downloaded below. If you would like more information about the evaluation, or to access the full set of annexes, please contact NIMD Evaluation and Learning Advisor, Nic van der Jagt ([email protected])