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SHF funding is available to partner UN organizations and international and national NGOs. Each year, the SHF Technical Unit organizes a partner-nomination process for NGOs, in collaboration with the IASC sectors. This is followed by due diligence and capacity assessments. When an organization meets the required standards and criteria, it becomes a partner of the SHF, as described in the SHF Operational Manual.

Upon completion of the comprehensive Partner Capacity Assessment, the partner receives an individual score, which determines the partner’s risk category in three levels (high, medium, low). The risk rating determines appropriate operational modalities and assurance mechanisms, which will be applied to approve SHF projects. Partner risk ratings are dynamic and can be adjusted over time, since the performance of the organization will be reviewed after the implementation of projects with SHF funding.

Most implementing partners have long-standing partnerships with the SHF, and all undergo annual performance reviews to ensure the continued quality and impact of programmes. In 2017, 39 partners were directly supported by the SHF, and NGOs received 69 per cent of the funding. Partnerships and support for national NGOs are important, serving to facilitate humanitarian response in areas of limited access, while building the capacity of national partners. The SHF is a major contributor to the Grand Bargain commitment to support national front-line responders.