PeaceNexus Fund Organisational Development Call 2015 Concept Note

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1 PeaceNexus Fund Organisational Development Call 2015 Concept Note While playing a crucial role in peacebuilding, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) face exceptionally high challenges regarding organisational learning and adaptation. The PeaceNexus Foundation supports selected NGOs to better manage their change, growth and learning processes through a combination of funding and process support. The 2015 call for proposals is open to NGOs with an explicit peacebuilding mandate that operate internationally (in at least five countries) and to local organisations operating in West Africa and the Balkans. 1. Rationale Many organisations working on social change and cohesion face challenges related to their identity, internal evolution and funding. Organisations working on peacebuilding face additional challenges relating to highly dynamic and complex operating environments. Addressing these challenges is essential for organisations to effectively deliver on their mission. PeaceNexus aims to provide funding and a space for critical reflection to enable NGOs to better manage internal change and make the most of their peacebuilding potential Purpose With the Organisational Development (OD) Grants, the PeaceNexus Fund seeks to enable peacebuilding organisations to tackle the challenges described in the rationale (above and in Annex) and to invest in their organisational development, thereby directly contributing to their impact and sustainability. As an independent foundation, PeaceNexus is uniquely positioned to provide support outside the government donor - NGO dynamics. This may allow NGOs to discuss the role of their funding partners more independently, and to make sure that the process is not perceived as donor driven. In addition, PeaceNexus has relevant expertise and experience: over the past five years, PeaceNexus has assisted several NGOs through processes of organisational change and thereby helped them achieve their goals (please find examples on this page). PeaceNexus has a strong network of trusted organisational development consultants to draw on. The organisational development support to NGOs comes with a small grant to be used to address specific organisational challenges. Funding can cover, for example, external facilitation and process support, or consulting expertise and knowledge that may be required to answer specific questions. It may also enable face-to-face meetings outside of the usual working environment (e.g. retreats) or exchanges within the organisation or with peer organisations. 1 Please find a more comprehensive rationale in Annex/page 4 1

2 3. Selection and planning process Based on Expressions of Interest, the PeaceNexus Governing Board will select the most promising applications. The overall envelope available for this call is CHF 250,000 and it is anticipated that between 5 and 10 grants will be awarded. Half of the funding is to be provided to local organisations and half to international ones (defined as conducting programmes in more than 5 countries). Once an organisation is selected for funding, PeaceNexus staff will visit and support a participatory process to develop a tailored organisational development plan. The grant amount and timeline will be confirmed on that basis. During implementation, PeaceNexus staff continues to provide feedback and advice whenever needed. PeaceNexus can also support grantees in finding experts/facilitators for specific tasks and assist in defining their mandate. PeaceNexus OD Grants are a perfect fit for organisations with high expectations, open questions regarding their own development, and awareness that an additional feedback loop leads to better designed processes and, eventually, better results. 4. Application procedure and selection criteria Peacebuilding organisations with an immediate need for organisational development support are invited to submit an Expression of Interest (EoI) by Wednesday 11 February The EoI form and technical details linked to the application process, including contact details, are available on Eligibility criteria: The organisation must be a registered non-profit organisation with an explicit peacebuilding mandate; Under this call, only international NGOs (with ongoing programmes in at least five different countries) and local NGOs operating in the countries listed below are eligible: West Africa: Burkina Faso, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone, Senegal, The Gambia Balkans: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia Only organisations with operational activities will be considered. Think-tanks, academic institutions and policy makers without concrete peacebuilding projects are not eligible; Grassroots organisations are encouraged to apply, and they can do so either independently or together with their international partner organisations; Organisations must demonstrate their commitment to human rights, gender equality and ethnic diversity; The organisation must have a bank account, publish annual financial reports that can be shared with PN upon request, be accountable to a constituency and/or have a governing body; Individuals and organisations that are currently working with PeaceNexus, as paid consultants, grantees or partners receiving tailored support, cannot apply for PeaceNexus grants. Due to our legal constraints, we can only support projects that will not violate the USA PATRIOT Act (18 U. S. C. 2339B). 2

3 Selection Criteria: The applicant has considered its organisational challenges and identified the most critical ones; The EoI is guided by realistic expectations and suggestions that are likely to contribute to the intended change/defined objectives; Expected outcomes aim to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, impact, relevance and sustainability of the organisation; Likelihood of success: the organisation has the capability and commitment to pursue recommendations that emerge from the project and has demonstrated buy-in from relevant parts of the organisation (e.g. staff, executive team, board). Examples of what a PeaceNexus OD Grant could fund (not exhaustive): Improving an organisation s ability to assess project effects, strengthen organisational learning, and support adaptive management; Strengthening governance and accountability, including through board development and strategic planning; Building capacity to respond to the needs of an organisation s constituencies, supporters and donors; Dealing with diverging views on organisational structure, management or strategy; Improving the ability to recruit, retain and effectively utilise staff capacities, promoting diversity and increasing the role of women; Strengthening collaboration and learning across different parts of an organisation. Please find a list of OD processes PeaceNexus has supported in the past or is currently supporting in the project descriptions at the bottom of this page: What PeaceNexus OD Grants cannot fund: Operational activities (projects) Core funding Staff salaries Administrative overhead costs Equipment, furnishings or office rent Financial audits Tuition for degree programs Accreditation processes Campaigns for building capital/endowments Recurring staff or board expenses One-off trainings and other capacity building measures unrelated to the broader change process 3

4 Annex: Elaborated Rationale Over the past two decades, the field of peacebuilding has expanded rapidly. In addition to organisations dedicated to working on conflict, a recent proliferation of organisations working in related areas such as development, state-building and humanitarian action have also begun to engage in peacebuilding activities, recognising that they can and therefore should play a role in preventing violence. In recent years, increased donor support has contributed to growth in the sector, and to its increasing professionalisation. As a relatively new and inter-disciplinary field of research, policy and practice, the boundaries of what constitute peacebuilding approaches and activities vary considerably across different sectors, social, and geographic contexts. Whilst for many, peacebuilding is synonymous with topdown and large-scale state-building interventions, the term is also used to characterize a sub-set of grass root actors that are working to transform conflict in their immediate environment and to engage national/regional actors with a bottom-up approach. Despite the huge differences and sometimes conflicting agendas of well-established international actors and small local organisations, both face similar challenges when it comes to their own organisational learning. The needs in this regard are high due to the following factors: Challenges relating to highly dynamic and complex operational environments: a) Research suggests that peacebuilding activities only lead to desired impacts if they are highly context specific. This requires organisations to adapt continuously to complex and rapidly changing relational and political dynamics. This, in turn, creates a unique set of organisational development challenges that require peacebuilding actors to become champions of organisational learning, e.g. by fostering an enabling culture, putting adaptive procedures in place and ensuring that learning is integrated effectively. b) A second dimension of the same challenge relates to the politically contested nature of peacebuilding. In many conflict settings, the politicisation of terms such as peace or democratisation has created new challenges for both international donors and peacebuilding organisations. Conflict-affected environments may limit the potential of NGOs to affect change by curtailing civil liberties and imposing restraints on free expression and access to communities. To avoid alienating necessary government partners or their own constituencies, organisations may feel compelled to misrepresent, reframe or even subvert their agendas, and abandon constituencies and positions that are not likely to be considered politically palatable. These challenges can hamper an organisation s ability to develop its own identity, strategy and structures. Challenges relating to donor dependency: c) Peacebuilding organisations are exposed to external challenges derived from their donor dependency. Donor priorities, both geographic and thematic, tend to shift as quickly as the global peace and security agenda. This requires peacebuilding organisations to maintain a high level of alertness, adaptation and flexibility, and continually navigate the demands of building 4

5 an organisational profile and being responsive to new donor policies and funding streams. Short-term funding cycles also contribute to staff turnover, thereby limiting the ability of organisations to develop their institutional capacity and learning. Internal challenges related to mission and personality driven culture: d) Typically mission-driven and constituency-based, many peacebuilding organisations are founded by social entrepreneurs, activists and organisers who are charismatic leaders. They may lack non-profit management and organisational development experience, and perceive the introduction of management systems or accountability structures as a threat to organisational identity and uniqueness. Over time, organisations may dissociate from their original constituencies, experience tensions between different units of the organisation or struggle with quick growth or shifting mandates. These internal challenges are common among organisations working on social change and cohesion, and can adversely affect their impact. This combination of external and internal challenges requires peacebuilding organisations to invest considerable human and financial resources in their own development. However, few have the means to do so. Although the costs of organisational development support are not excessive, these funds are not easily available. Donors are more and more inclined to fund specific projects rather than provide organisations with core funding, and NGOs often choose to invest scarce core funds in developing new project ideas. 5

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