Quick menu:

This site is showing content relating to all UK countries. Change this using the country filters below or select Ok to accept. This site uses cookies.

  • Help and support

International funding

Challenges and learning from our international programmes
  • Print

By evaluating our international programmes, we are able to identify key challenges. It also highlights what works for best. This helps us understand how best to fund future programmes. On this page you can find out how we’ve helped communities internationally.


Through our International Communities programme alone, we’ve supported approximately 1.7m people. Within this:

Statistics about how many people our projects have supported

What’s more, 477,000 individuals have seen an improved environment for exercising their civil and political rights.


Achieving these results isn’t always easy. Our projects have faced a number of difficulties along the way. Recognising these helps us address them going forward:

  • coordinating projects across several countries can be highly complex and challenging - managing funding portfolios can take considerable time and resources
  • using the Millennium Development Goals as a programme framework can be too broad. A more targeting funding approach is needed
  • the quality of external evaluation is variable
  • rolling programmes can be less effective as the sector is very deadline-driven.


Our evaluation gives us an opportunity to share our learning. Some important learning areas from our international programmes include:

  • theories of change help to give direction for programmes and provide a basis for evaluation
  • strategic programmes with larger awards can more effectively contribute to long term systemic change
  • reactive, open programmes enable communities and NGOs to identify needs
  • the portfolio approach can help organisations to share learning
  • it’s important to explore collaborations between international funders. This could be in relation to funding strategy and sharing learning.

More about the research

International Communities and International Strategic Grants are our biggest international funding programmes.

In 2012 Ann Sanders, Janice Needham and Catherine Sexton evaluated these programmes for us. We wanted to know what worked well. This helps us to understand how our funding might achieve more in the future.


International funding programmes evaluation