Assessing civil society strengthening and policy influencing

Joint MFS II evaluations at country level – Indonesia

CDI and SurveyMETER assessed contributions made towards building a vibrant civil society by Indonesian Partners of Dutch NGOs between 2011 and 2014.


This assessment contributes to a country evaluation of the Dutch Co-Financing programme that measured impact on amongst others civil society. This component assessed: changes achieved between 2011 and 2014; contributions made to these changes; their relevance, and; factors that explain these findings.

Ten Indonesian partner organisations (PO) were selected through a sampling process for the two MDGs most frequently addressed. Five out of 28 POs working on the general theme ‘governance’ were randomly selected and five out of 26 POs working on MDG 7ab: Environmental and biodiversity issues. The evaluation used the CIVICUS framework.


We developed a participatory, theory-based evaluation methodology that acknowledges the complexity of change processes related to civil society strengthening and policy influencing. Data were collected through workshops and interviews with the PO: interviews with outsiders and; document review. Triangulation was built in to come to robust and reliable findings. SurveyMETER collected data in 2012 (baseline) and in 2014 (end line).
The five CIVICUS dimensions helped to formulate a standard set of indicators used to assess changes. Contributions made were assessed through a Process-Tracing protocol for those five SPOs that had the most important budget allocated to civil society strengthening: A quick assessment method helped to assess contributions made by the remaining POs.
Relevance was assessed against the Theory of Change constructed in 2012; the context in which the PO is operating and the policies of the Dutch partner.
Explaining factors looked at those related to the PO: its external context and; its relation with its Dutch partner.


Most significant changes achieved consist of a better positioning of the POs in their civil society arena. Those working on MDG 7ab further managed to improve household’s livelihoods. Some were successful in influencing policies.
The POs working on governance contributed to six of the seven changes achieved and those working on MDG 7ab contributed to all of the nine changes achieved. Contributions however vary in strength.
Most changes achieved are relevant in the light of the criteria mentioned above.
Apart from some exceptions, most POs availed of the organisational capacity to introduce change in civil society; some external factors contributed to changes achieved whereas others were not so conducive. Relations with Dutch partners were constructive.