NGOs interested in applying for funding under the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) have to participate in an eligibility process. The main objective is to ensure that the OCHA Humanitarian Financing Unit (HFU) is equipped with the necessary information about the capacities of NGO partners that could have access to funding as prescribed by the NHF accountability framework.
Why Assess Partners?
There are two main reasons for assessing partners:
- Performance Management: to review the strengths and weaknesses of an organization’s internal management systems. The assessment will include areas that may need to be strengthened. This information will then be fed into the overall NHF performance index.
- Risk Management: to consider all the information in order to weigh the final risks and potential benefits and make a decision about the most appropriate assurance methods to be applied to the partnership.
The Assessment Process
The eligibility process is comprised of five inter-linked steps, each with its own review and feedback system to ensure transparency.
- Registration: Prospective partners initiate the process to become a partner by requesting training in and thereby access to the NHF Grant Management System (GMS) by contacting the HFU and submitting a copy of their national NGO registration certificate. Further details might be requested on a case-by-case basis.
- Due diligence: Once the registration process is concluded, the partner is granted access to the GMS (gms.unocha.org) and the Due Diligence (DD) process begins. A thorough review of DD applications and documents is performed to ensure that partners meet the minimum requirements.
- Capacity assessment: In order to be eligible for funding, NGOs must undergo a capacity assessment. As one of the major pillars of OCHA NHF accountability framework, the objective of the capacity assessment is to review the institutional, technical, management and financial capacities of the partner and to ensure that the Fund has the necessary information to make informed decisions about the overall eligibility and risk rating of the partner.
- Risk rating: Based on the score obtained during the capacity assessment, eligible partners will be categorized in three risk-level categories (low, medium and high). The risk level will determine the operational modalities and control mechanisms that are applicable the partner. These include disbursement modalities, frequency of narrative and financial reporting, and planning for monitoring visits and spot checks, in accordance with the various risk levels, as well as with the duration and budget of the project. Throughout the application for eligibility, the NHF will provide feedback to the organization as to whether their application will proceed to the next step of the process or not.
- Performance index: The rating of the performance of partners in the implementation of projects will be used alongside the original capacity assessment to determine and adjust as necessary partner risk levels. For example, if a partner is strong in the implementation of its projects, it’s performance rating will be high, and this could lead to the partner moving from a medium to low risk rating. In order to reward sound project implementation, the performance index score will progressively be given more weight and the capacity assessment score will become less significant as partners implement more projects.