Hivos Southern Africa recently conducted a one day workshop to reflect and learn from five years of implementing the second phase of the Dutch government funded co-financing system known as “Medefinancieringsstelsel”, or ‘MFS’, between 2011-2015.
Twenty Alliances of Dutch co-funding agencies (CFAs) were awarded €1.9 billion by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NL MoFA) through the MFS II grant framework. Hivos participated in the People Unlimited 4.1 grant application with three other organisations: IUCN NL, Mama Cash and Press Now. The alliance aimed to contribute to ‘a world in which citizens, both women and men, have equal access to resources and opportunities for development and equal participation in decision-making processes that shape their lives, their communities and their future.’
The purpose of the workshop was for Hivos staff and partners to take a serious look at the changes realised in the past five years in the Southern African region. The reflection process sought to discuss changes at a broader level, going beyond implemented activities and produced outputs.
The learning event in Harare focused on two result areas:
- Capacity development of Southern Africa partner organisations
- Strengthening of civil society in the South
The seventy participants were drawn from a cross section of Hivos partners from Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“We had a reflection on our 2011-2015 business plan called “Citizens Have a Say,” which we implemented as Hivos and partners worldwide. In Southern Africa, we worked in Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe,” said Tanja Lubbers, Hivos Southern Africa Director.
“The programme was all centred around active citizenship. This stemmed from our belief that you have to stimulate citizens, enable citizens to develop themselves to the full in order to achieve full citizenship.”
Karel Chambille, the Monitoring and Evaluation team leader from Hivos Global Office, explained that the reflection event in Harare is one of four similar learning events being held in the four regions where Hivos works – Asia, Latin America, East Africa and Southern Africa.
“The reason for the learning event is the ending of the co-financing programme, and of course, while we celebrate the end of one thing, there’s something new that takes its place. But the purpose of today is not to talk so much about the new but about what we learned over the past five years,” said Chambille.
Hivos’ work in Southern Africa has demonstrated that if the citizens are supported to take action on the issues affecting them and their communities, significant successes can be achieved.
Some of the workshop’s key conclusions were that Hivos should extend project implementation timeframes, provide better monitoring and evaluation, and work even more on women’s empowerment. Overall, partners agreed that the Hivos funded programmes were very relevant and suitable to the prevailing context in Southern Africa.