kepa_logoBetween December 2016 and February 2017 INTRAC Consultant Cowan Coventry, along with Finnish consultant Veera Pensala, conducted an evaluation of the Finnish Service Centre for Development Cooperation (Kepa)’s role in strengthening southern civil societies between 2010 and 2016.

The purpose of the evaluation was twofold: firstly, it assessed Kepa’s work in strengthening southern civil societies during the period 2010-16, and analysed the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches used, including lessons learned. Secondly, the evaluation provided fresh ideas on how to best utilise Kepa’s resources and assets for strengthening southern civil societies in the rapidly changing international context.

The information and recommendations of this evaluation will be used to inform Kepa’s strategy process and its new programme for 2018-21.

Through key stakeholder interviews and a country visit to Tanzania the consultants aimed to answer the following questions:

  1.  What difference has Kepa made?
    – What are the expected and unexpected outcomes and impacts that could plausibly be traced to the contribution made by Kepa? Have they been sustainable?
  2. Have Kepa been doing the right things in the right way?
    – Has Kepa’s support been relevant in the contexts that it has worked? Has Kepa chosen the right partners and themes for its work in the particular contexts?
    – What have been Kepa’s strengths and weaknesses in its approach and activities?
    – What have been functional practices or innovations that have added value to the partners or member organizations and their Southern partners?

In addition to this, Cowan and Veera provided Kepa with a number of recommendations to improve functioning of Kepa’s work in future.

Kepa is the umbrella organisation for Finnish civil society organisations (CSO) that work with development cooperation or are otherwise interested in global development. Kepa’s main activities include advocacy, awareness raising and global education, capacity development services and national and global networking.

The key themes of Kepa’s advocacy work are development finance, tax justice, corporate accountability, climate justice and strong civil society. In the south, Kepa has worked through regional and country offices, with and without Finnish personnel. Currently Kepa has offices in Mozambique and Tanzania where it has partnerships with local CSOs. Kepa closed down the offices in the Mekong region and Nicaragua at the end of 2015 but continued its partnership with one partner in Cambodia and one in Nicaragua and the partnerships are managed from the headquarters in Helsinki.