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Evaluation of Sida’s Global Challenge Funds - Lessons From a Decade Long Journey

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This utilisation focused evaluation was commissioned by Sida to learn lessons from the implementation of 10 global Challenge Funds supported by Sida. It reviewed Sida’s rationale and underlying assumptions for the use of this modality in development cooperation, and identified best practices for Challenge Fund design and management. The overall conclusion of the evaluation is that the Challenge Fund modality was appropriate for the majority of the programmes and the intended outcomes for the majority of the funds have been broadly achieved. The experience from the 10 Challenge Funds is that in general the more intensively managed funds, with a more hands-on approach, had a greater degree of success in ensuring sustainable development outcomes than the lighter touch funds and that funds which enlist wider stakeholder support, are more likely to deliver sustainable impact. During this 10 year period an investment by Sida of SEK 1.2 bn has leveraged additional development funds from donors of SEK 5.8 bn. The scale of the engagement is even greater when account is taken of the match funding by grantees, more than doubling the figure. Recommendations are focused on actions that can be taken by Sida during its oversight of the implementation of Challenge Funds at all stages of the project management cycle. This has implications for Sida’s allocation of programme management resources and oversight of fund managers to ensure the achievement Sida’s aspirations of poverty impact, gender equality, local ownership and the environment.