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Norwegian Church Aid’s partnership approach is based on the belief that civil society is important for developing viable and accountable nation-states. INTRAC was commissioned to study present and potential roles of Norwegian Church Aid’s (NCA) Afghan civil society partner organisations, with special focus on the added value of NCA’s partnership approach. An additional component of the study was to assess cost-efficiency aspects of working with national partner-organisations. NCA was scheduled to develop its next global strategy and country plan, and this study and its recommendations formed an important basis for NCA Afghanistan’s strategy and work in the coming years.

The team developed an enquiry framework that took into account the various aspects, the context and an NCA checklist for evaluating civil society support. No other study like this is known to have been done on this topic in Afghanistan.

The INTRAC team used typology matrixes to map partner characteristics and the range of roles and activities NCA engaged in with them. Information for these matrixes was sourced via partner implemented surveying, an extended field visit with workshops (staff, partners and external informants), interviews, site visits and a final participatory action points seminar. For the cost efficiency study a cost estimate for a hypothetical implementation of the NCA approach was produced, based on the analysis of accounts, breakdown of costs and interviews with NCA partners’ financial managers and others.