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Institutional Evaluation of Engagement Global: Target groups mainly satisfied, more strategic coherence recommended

DEval evaluation assesses what "Engagement Global" has achieved so far and delivers recommendations for developing the organisation further.

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Engagement Global was founded in 2012 in order to pool existing programmes for the promotion of municipal and civil society development policy engagement within one service agency. An evaluation by the German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval) assesses what Engagement Global has achieved so far and delivers recommendations for developing the organisation further. The findings show that Engagement Global has successfully concluded its start-up phase and established itself as a relevant actor. Its target groups rate its services positively overall. There is a need to improve its funding procedures, some of which are too bureaucratic, and the strategic steering of the organisation.

Start-up phase concluded successfully

Since 2012, Engagement Global has worked on behalf of the German government to support NGOs, schools and municipalities in Germany in their active pursuit of development policy goals by providing advice, continuing education and funding. DEval has evaluated the structures and processes as well as the work done by the organisation so far.

During its start-up phase, Engagement Global faced the challenge of integrating a large number of existing and newly created programmes into a single organisation. At the same time, a considerable increase in resources and personnel had to be managed. These administratively and substantively demanding requirements were fulfilled. Dr Jörg Faust, Director of DEval, says: “Today Engagement Global has a solid foundation on which to proceed with its ongoing strategic development. In publishing the institutional evaluation, DEval’s intention is to offer new impulses for this and to make concrete recommendations.”

Services useful, bureaucratic hurdles remain

The benefits of the programmes and services of Engagement Global are rated positively overall by the target groups. However, the funding procedures are still too complex and bureaucratic. This often results in high barriers to access, specifically for migrant organisations and those with a high proportion of voluntary staff.  

DEval suggests introducing user-friendly software for the submission and processing of funding applications, and adapting the substantive requirements for projects with low funding volumes. In the interests of efficiency, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) should increasingly delegate decisions to Engagement Global. DEval also recommends that, for voluntary and migrant organisations, the required own contribution to project funding should be reduced so as to facilitate access to programmes.

Developing more strategic structures

After its initial start-up and growth phase, Engagement Global can transition into a phase of institutional consolidation in the coming years. For this process the BMZ should enlarge Engagement Global’s scope for action. This should make it easier for the organisation to develop an overall strategy, within the policy objectives laid down by the ministry, for fulfilling its own tasks more effectively and cost-efficiently. In support of this, DEval recommends that the BMZ should increase the coherence of its steering objectives in relation to Engagement Global.

The focus on coherent overall strategic steering will be fostered by readjusting responsibilities within the ministry for the programmes and the overall organisation of Engagement Global. In conjunction with the other recommendations set out in the report, this should put Engagement Global in a position to keep improving its funding and support efforts in the field of civil society engagement in development policy issues, and to strengthen this important area of development policy in a sustainable way.

Original Publication: Schwedersky, T.; K. Hermanns, H. Steckhan, L. Kunert (2020), Institutional Evaluation of Engagement Global, German Institute for Development Cooperation (DEval), Bonn.

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