Diakonia - People change the world
Collins Ongwen is the leader of Diakonia’s partner organization BAFOPE in Kenya. Together with the members and activists of BAFOPE, he works for peaceful and just elections. Photo: Markus Marcetic

Criteria for partners, programmes and contexts

Diakonia develops partnerships with likeminded organizations within civil society in various parts of the world and at different levels of society. Likeminded organizations are those sharing an understanding similar to Diakonia of the structural causes of poverty and oppression.


Criteria for choosing partners and for maintaining partnerships

Normally, a Diakonia country programme is composed of various organizations. All partner organizations are assessed regularly.

The criteria should be fulfilled by all partners where partner organizations as a minimum should:

Share Diakonia’s values as expressed in our policy.

Sympathise with Diakonia’s vision, general problem analysis and over all objective to change unjust structures.

Be clearly oriented towards reaching outcomes and impacts beyond the activities

Possess administrative skills, or willingness to acquire such skills, in order to fulfil Diakonia’s formal requirements.

Be willing to participate with other partners and networks that emerge or may emerge as a result of the partner group and Diakonia coming together.

Have or be willing to adjust to formal and actual structures in order to exercise transparency, accountability, participation, influence, non-discrimination.

Fulfil or be willing to fulfil Diakonia’s gender indicators during the programme period. This regards the organization’s internal structure and culture as well as within the projects.

In HIV/AIDS affected regions, be willing to analyse the socioeconomic consequences of HIV/AIDS for the rights holders and adjust the work accordingly.

Criteria for choosing country or context for long-term commitment

Diakonia considers ten criteria when assessing the possibility of opening a new country programme for long-term commitment. The criteria are also used when considering the closure of a programme.

  1. Countries not in Europe
  2. Countries which are poor, oppressed and exposed to violence
  3. Degree of organization in civil society
  4. Diakonia's thematic focus in relation to the contextual analysis
  5. Diakonia should have a long term strategic perspective
  6. The need for Diakonia in comparison to donors already present.
  7. Diakonia's own capacity
  8. Possibility of fundraising and information in Sweden for the country
  9. Regional links with other Diakonia country programs
  10. Strategic partners for advocacy in Sweden, EU and on the international level

It’s important to note that the criteria are not absolute. Programmes can be justified even though all criteria are not equally fulfilled. Nevertheless, all of these are always taken into account.

Criteria for programme building

A programme should be designed to be as powerful and strategic as possible. In doing so it may be tempting to only support skilful NGO's, thematic experts and lobby strategists. These actors can obviously play an important role in a programme, but the base of a programme should be grassroots’ organizations of different kinds.

The role of NGO's should be complementing and facilitating. Without the support and leadership of member based organisations, civil society will pose no challenge for power holders, nor will the agendas hold any legitimacy or sustainability if they address problems and suggest solutions for people that never participated in their elaboration. At the same time, NGO's are often better equipped in terms of analysis and tools than are grassroots’ organizations.

Diakonia's added value: Our idea is to to construct programmes where Diakonia’s added value is maximised.

By constituting a platform and meeting point for partner organizations Diakonia should consider the “supply and demand” of knowledge and skills within the partner group. In a well constructed programme both these are met.

On the supply side it is crucial that the programme includes competence on gender perspective and advocacy as Diakonia’s overall development objective is not considered achievable without them.

Except for the above criteria, country programmes should:

Be designed in complete accordance with Diakonia’s basic values and policy.

Be strategically elaborated and grounded in each context based on an updated contextual analysis in which a variety of national actors have participated.

Be based upon an analysis of the existing civil society, its problem analysis, chosen priorities, and ongoing processes in which they intervene.

Be concentrated geographically to facilitate the possibility for partners within the programme to meet and exchange ideas.

Include cross cutting issues around which partners gather, qualitative participation being the strongest.

Be primarily designed to strengthen grassroots’ organizations and facilitate the achievement of their objectives, e.g. in collaboration with NGO's.

Have, or strive towards, a clear gender perspective and include at least one organization who primarily works for equality between women and men.

Give an added value in relation to the priorities of other donor agencies; be complementary to other Diakonia programmes.