About the Strengthening Civil Courage programme

The Strengthening Civil Courage Programme (SCC) is a five-year, multi-country human rights, conflict transformation and peace building programme. It is currently working in some of the most conflict-affected countries in the world.

It is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Power of Voices Partnership, and is being implemented by an Alliance of ABAAD, Amnesty International The Netherlands, DefendDefenders, and PAX (the lead Alliance partner).

The SCC is working with over 80 local civil society partner organisations across 13 countries in Africa (including Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, the Sahel region) and the Middle East (Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Yemen). It also includes international-level advocacy and influencing work.

Overall, the programme seeks to contribute to sustainable development goal 16 (Peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and with effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels) and has four main strategic objectives:

  • Less suppression of civic space.
  • More effective efforts of society and authorities to transform conflict and pursue peace and human rights.
  • More equal gender roles and relationships and transformation of harmful gender norms.
  • Mitigate the impact of external stress factors that harm peace and justice.

More information about the programme is available via the ABAAD website.

INTRAC’s role

In 2021, INTRAC was commissioned to conduct the SCC baseline, which involved staff including Alison Napier, Floresca Karanasou and Rod MacLeod, as well as network consultants, Nigel Simister and Phil Vernon. The baseline included facilitating development of country-level Theories of Change and results frameworks.

In 2023, INTRAC was commissioned again, to conduct the mid-term review (MTR) of the programme. The MTR was led by staff consultant Alison Napier, along with our network consultant Nigel Simister. The overall aims of the MTR were to:

  • Assess progress towards the four SCC overall programme objectives;
  • Review the programme’s collaboration and partnerships with local implementing partners;
  • Provide recommendations for any adjustments to the programme strategies, partnerships or targets.

The INTRAC team worked closely with the Alliance partners through the whole MTR process, and used a mixture of monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) methodologies. These included: a document review of SCC’s monitoring data, reports and Theory of Change reviews; analysis of over 200 outcomes harvested by programme teams through the SCC’s monitoring and evaluation system; interviews with Alliance partners, a selection of in-country partners in sample countries, and other key stakeholders; an online partnerships survey with all 80+ SCC in-country partners; and production of ten in-depth case studies using contribution analysis.

The case studies covered a sample of the programme’s work in South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Palestine and Iraq, and were developed by consultants in INTRAC’s network, including Amer Madi (Palestine and Iraq), Abdul Hakim (South Sudan), Marina Head (DRC) and Nigel Simister, along with INTRAC staff consultant Alison Napier (international-level advocacy work).

INTRAC presented back key findings and learnings for validation and discussion with SCC country programme teams both online and in-person.  MTR recommendations were developed in close consultation with the teams, and most are already being addressed.

One of the lessons from INTRAC’s perspective, was the limitations of large-scale evaluations spread over multiple countries and organisations, and the need to draw a balance between investigation breadth and scope of work.