The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) is a government agency working on behalf of the Swedish parliament and government, with the mission to reduce poverty in the world.
The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) is one of the world’s leading international environmental research organizations. As well as headquarters in Stockholm, it has offices in the UK, USA, Tanzania, Thailand, and Estonia. SEI is largely funded by Sida with whom it works to address key international priorities such as: mitigating and adapting to climate change; managing consumption of resources such as land, water and air resources to protect food security, human health and biodiversity; and, protecting and transforming vulnerable communities who are the victims of rapid social and environmental change.
Based on our experience conducting headline organisational evaluations and our track record assessing the impact of research on policy processes, we were tasked with both reflecting on the past – evaluating Sida’s institutional cooperation with SEI between 2006 and 2010 in terms of performance and institutional capacity – and informing the nature of the partnership in the future – making recommendations on the future direction of collaboration between Sida and SEI. We assembled a small team of evaluators, environment specialists, and researchers to design and implement a mixed-method evaluation. The approach was based on establishing a shared understanding of the Theory of Change (ToC) underlying Sida’s support to SEI and then assessing the extent to which there was evidence to support that ToC. As a second part of the assignment, an institutional assessment looked at SEIs institutional capacity according to an internationally recognized organizing framework – the McKinsey 7-S model. SEI institutional capacity was assessed according to strategy, structure, systems, staff, skills, style, and shared values.
The evaluation found that institutional support from Sida has played a critical role for SEI in allowing the organisation to respond to global sustainability and climate change issues and concerns as they emerge but, perhaps more importantly, has also provided the organisation with the ‘space’ to develop and enhance its own research strategy and priorities, and deliver against them.Image © TNZ_NY_DSC02117. Photo Credit: Anne-Lie Engvall (Sida Sweden)