In 2015 INTRAC carried out a study for the Transparency and Accountability Initiative (T/AI) on how grant-making can encourage and undermine learning. The study focused on the grantees and grant-making practice of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Omidyar Network, the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundations (OSF) and the Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA). These are all members of the T/AI which works to expand the impact and scale of transparency and accountability interventions in or benefitting developing countries.

The study sought to address a concern that, too often, external funding can force organizations towards rigid and linear projects, with little scope for adaptation and little incentive (or support) to prioritize learning.

A desk-based literature review and semi-structured interviews with grantees, grant-makers and sector experts explored four areas affecting learning: commitment to learning; culture and relationships; resources and skills; and systems and practices. A round-table with the grant-makers and follow-up survey with grantees were used to validate the findings.

Findings from the study were shared in an open webinar hosted by the GPSA and the study is available for download on the website of the Transparency and Accountability Initiative.