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Photo: Erik Hersman | Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

What’s it like to be on the receiving end of exit? A partner and country office view

A PPA Learning Paper

Partnership Approaches Learning Group

Sarah Lewis

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

For over 15 years, the Department for International Development's (DFID) Programme Partnership Arrangements (PPAs), which came to an end in December 2016, were DFID's main funding channel for civil society organisations (CSOs). In addition to providing core funding to over 41 CSOs during the course of PPAs, it allowed many PPA holders to invest in learning and innovation across their work.  

While not originally anticipated, a Learning Partnership was established to support the last round of PPAs (2011-2016) to promote collaboration and joint learning between PPA holders and DFID across a range of thematic Learning Groups. 

As PPAs came to a close, three learning groups (Partnership Approaches, Resilience and Beneficiary Feedback) have consolidated their experiences and produced papers on their findings and recommendations.

Understanding how local civil society partners and country offices experience withdrawal from partnerships, projects and programmes is crucial to improving exit strategies and planning for sustainability; yet these voices are often absent in debates.

This paper explores the story from the partner point of view, and highlights some key recommendations for organisations to follow during exit processes:

  • Build in, and monitor, sustainability from the start of partnerships, projects, and programmes
  • Consider fundraising strategies from the outset to reduce the risk of partner dependence, and provide a legacy grant at the time of exit
  • Timely communication with partners once the decision has been made to exit is important
  • Allow time and resources for a phased exit where possible
  • Don’t underestimate the value of connections between partners and like-minded organisations overseas
  • Document the process and learning from the exit, and share it widely
  • Give partners and country office staff a space to share their experiences publicly

Click below to download the paper on Exit Strategies.

Resource type: report

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