Australia unveils new civil society framework

    A community group of women in Bangladesh who benefit from a poverty reduction program run by BRAC and funded by the Australian Agency for International Development. AusAID has released a new framework that could affect funding allocations for civil society organizations. Photo by: Leda Tyrrel / AusAID / CC BY

    Australia has released a new framework that could affect civil society organizations’ funding allocations.

    The Civil Society Engagement Framework, launched Wednesday (June 20), is meant to increase the impact and effectiveness of Australia’s aid program. It was developed by the Australian Agency for International Development, with the help of the Australian Council for International Development.

    Some of the actions the government is planning to take include: 

    • Developing an assessment methodology that would measure the effectiveness, capacity and relevance of an organization to Australia’s aid policy. The government plans to use this to guide its decisions concerning funding.

    • Developing a CSO monitoring and evaluation framework. The government plans to use this to track results. This will be implemented starting next year.

    • Designing a “due diligence framework” for CSOs.

    • Introducing accreditation reforms and developing a “broader range” of indicators measuring the capacity and effectiveness of nongovernmental organizations. This, too, will be used to determine funding allocations.

    • Improving methodologies used to assess value for money. This is to make sure CSOs achieve results with “optimal use” of AusAID funding.

    • Creating a civil society portal containing information on consultation and funding opportunities, NGO evaluations and reports. This will be launched in September and will be part of the AusAID website.

    • Developing guidelines in working with CSOs that act as AusAID’s delivery partners and intermediaries. This will also inform the agency of approaches in selecting CSOs.

    • Introducing reform accreditation to make AusAID funds accessible to small and niche Australian CSOs as well as “volunteer sending organizations.”

    • Rewarding NGO programs that have demonstrated effectiveness, results, impact and innovation.

    Most of the planned actions listed above will be implemented in 2012-2013. Australia, according to a press release, is currently working with more than 250 CSOs.

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    About the author

    • Jenny Lei Ravelo

      Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.