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Table 6 DfID’s support to the Manusher Jonno Foundation: Example of intermediary funding

From: How donors support civil society as government accountability advocates: a review of strategies and implications for transition of donor funding in global health

Esplen highlights DfID’s Creating Opportunities for Poor and Excluded People (COPE) program in Bangladesh as an example of supporting larger national organizations with closer connections to communities than donors can maintain. The program was implemented by the Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF), a national NGO, to engage citizens in advocacy and help them exercise their rights. Recognizing MJF’s relationship with local organizations, DfID’s support enabled it to sub-grant to 117 CSOs that work with vulnerable communities ([38], p. 17). These sub-grantees included larger established organizations and smaller organizations that required more support. MJF also provided capacity building support to organizations that had failed to secure MJF’s funding because of insufficient capacity ([38], p. 18). Grantees reported improvements in their management and financial systems, and almost half of the smaller organizations had secured other funding. DfID’s early review of this program identified MJFs’ strengths as its “management capacity…[and] its ability to adapt programmes to local context, activate community support and establish effective links between grassroots work and national policy processes” ([38], p. 18).
Since these initial findings, MJF was found to have transitioned to funding fewer larger projects in light of high transaction costs during its early years and has been criticized for no longer filling the gap left by short donor-funded projects. It has also come to be viewed as a competitor to its grantees and seen as excluding those with fewer connections, while failing to attract significant further funding ([33], p. 89).