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Scottish Government 2018 Malawi Development Programme
Q1 How has Scottish Government (SG) responded to the feedback it sought from organisations involved in its recent Zambia and Rwanda funding round and what changes have been made for this Malawi 2018-23 round?
A Given that the Zambia/Rwanda funding round was the first time the process has been ran in two phases, (concept note and then full application) SG co-hosted (in conjunction with the Alliance) a feedback session in September 2017 for those who had been involved in its Zambia/Rwanda round. This gave the opportunity to discuss with organisations how they had found the process as well as hearing SG’s own views on their experience, with a view to making any necessary adjustments for the Malawi round. SG found this feedback a very constructive process and as a result a number of modifications have been made for Malawi 2018-23.
These modifications, summarised below, reflect both changes highlighted by applicants (whether in that feedback session or direct to Corra), and where SG felt some further changes were needed to better support implementation of its Strategy. Process:
Two stage: the two stage process approved by SG’s consultation and first used for Zambia/Rwanda (concept note followed by full application for successful concept notes) is retained for this Malawi round: SG was pleased by the positive feedback from the Zambia/Rwanda round to this process
Timings: most of the comments from Zambia/Rwanda were in relation to timings, given that they had been necessarily constricted for SG’s first funding round post-Strategy, this was expected and accepted by SG. In contrast, the timings available for Malawi (opening 3 November 2017 for 1 October 2018 start) should address this practical issue. SG has also sought to build into the timetable for the MDP the suggestions/asks received on where participants would have welcomed more or less time at each stage of the process
SG input: at the assessment of concept notes stage, the SG will input its views on: past performance of the organisation (where relevant) in terms of project management of SG funded projects, and on the project itself where a further phase is applied for; and, in all cases, on the fit of each concept note with the overall programme, with a view to funding an overall coherent programme for maximum impact in line with the Strategy (see more on that below).
Project lengths are again to a maximum of 4.5 years (so Oct 2018-March 23)
The maximum amount of grant funding for each project will again be £300k pa – however, in response to feedback from smaller organisations SG has removed the lower limit and the turnover ratio applied in the Zambia/Rwanda round. Instead, the organisation’s capacity to manage the project and level of funding applied for will form part of the assessment (this will include level of application turnover vs annual project value, previous grant management experience and information within audited accounts).
Weighting will also be given to projects which will be delivered over the full 4.5years and to the maximum budget, but again taking feedback into account, SG has provided a caveat that where a proposal is for less than max budget, SG will not weight against this provided it has been evidenced that there is collaboration/complementarity with another proposal (i.e. two smaller orgs banding together each individually asking for less funding, or a small project banded with a bigger project).
Collaboration: SG has taken into account the feedback that smaller organisations might be prejudiced where required to collaborate within one project application. The feedback received was that unless smaller organisations in particular are able to charge the cost of admin fees in their own right, then the project would not be viable. SG has sought to address this – collaboration is still heavily encouraged and the weighting given for several organisations aligning their proposals will enable smaller organisations still to claim admin fees for their part in a wider programme.
Alignment with SG’s Strategy: in response to SG’s own feedback, it is more clearly emphasised that part of the assessment will be how the project aligns with the SG’s International Development Strategy (including the importance of collaborative working, complementarity with other SG work and/or other proposals under the funding round, to ensure maximum impact in relation to budget) and the Global Goals. Weighting will be applied to this within the assessment.
Concept note forms
Corra Foundation have worked on the forms, and made some changes in response to comments, e.g.:The full budget sheet has been removed as this seemed to cause a few issues last time and makes the form much longer. This has been replaced with a simple breakdown of projected costs and key questions on capital, MEL and overheads. The budget spreadsheet which will form part of the full application process is available to view online from the start of the
The form is now in three distinct sections – organisational information, partner information and project information with word counts adjusted in light of feedback.
Full application form
Corra have worked on this to reorder the application form in response to comments, so the whole application flows more logically from one stage to the next and reflects the same logical order as the concept note – organisational information, partner information followed by project information, MEL and budget. Some questions have been removed and some questions reworded, with additional information sought on inclusion.
SG hopes that these changes in direct response to feedback are welcomed.
Q2 Why is the funding available for the Malawi Development Programme (MDP) only £2.5m pa? This is asked in the context that the MDP was at £3m pa when the total International Development Fund (IDF) was £4m. As the IDF grew to £9m, strong assurances were given that £3m pa was the 'floor not the ceiling' for the annual Malawi programme, with often the total double this.
A Funds for the MDF come from the development assistance funding stream of the SG’s International Development Fund; the other two funding streams, as set out in the SG’s Strategy, are its capacity strengthening funding stream and its investment funding stream. Early in 2017, SG confirmed the proportions as between the funding streams as follows:
Development assistance would form up to 75% of the overall International Development Fund - the majority of the development assistance funding stream will continue to be disbursed via competitive funding rounds, ie: the Malawi Development Programme, the Zambia Development Programme, the Rwanda Development Programme, and the Small Grants Programme; however, the development assistance funding stream also supports other non-competitive funding, including in relation to Malawi core funding for MaSP and SMP.
As stated in the funding call documentation for the MDP (see Background Information and Criteria for the Scottish Government Malawi Development Programmes: Funding Round 2018, p2, FN4), overall the Scottish Government will continue to invest far in excess of £3 million p.a. in Malawi when taking into account: other funding under the development assistance funding stream; funding for Malawi under the capacity strengthening; funding under the Malawi investment initiative; and Small Grants Programme projects in Malawi. It should also be noted that the
majority of the additional £3M pa SG Climate Justice Fund is currently focused on Malawi. Therefore, in addition to any projects which arise under this competitive funding round for the MDP, SG is additionally already funding in Malawi from the IDF:
Under the development assistance funding stream core funding for MaSP in Malawi (and of course SG core funding for SMP itself supports Malawi);
Under the capacity strengthening funding stream, a number of projects in Malawi including: Police Scotland work with their counterparts in the Malawi Police; establishment of Malawi Social Enterprise Academy, twinned with the SEA in Scotland; Blantyre-Blantyre research labs project; Malawi Psychiatry scholarships; and Community Energy Malawi;
Under the investment stream, the full £400k pa disbursed to date is for investment in Malawi, and no other country yet;
Under the Small Grants Programme, various project and other grants;
scholarships, such as the Alison Cameron scholarships established in July 2017.