MSD competency B5

Donor relations & compliance

Understand donor’s needs and collaborate to ensure interventions meet their requirements

MSD competencies

Competency definition

Practitioners understand the political climate and constraints faced by donors. They design interventions to be compliant with donor needs and effectively communicate and collaborate with donor staff.

Knowledge areas

Practitioners with this competency will be knowledgeable about concepts and ideas described and explored in these resources...

Skills and experience

Practitioners with this competency will have acquired qualifications, skills and practical experience that may include:

  • working in procurement or monitoring and evaluation in government or international donor funding agencies
  • external relationship management - understanding different organisational priorities and perspectives and then be able to explain programmatic decisions to make sense in the donor context

Guidance for teaching this competency

Content delivery
Short presentation to explain different organisational roles and mandates in the ‘aid delivery’ system. Provide practitioners with context-specific knowledge about donor priorities, organisational structure and accountability (to a board vs Parliament/Congress).

Scenarios & role plays
Develop a structured role play to simulate the interactions between market actors, the programme team and the donor agency. Assign each practitioner a role from one of those groups and give people descriptions of their role and key priorities. Break the game into stages to show the different interactions between the programme team and donor during:

  1. initial research
  2. making offer to partner
  3. monitoring partnership
  4. reporting results

Structure the interactions so the programme team interacts with market actors frequently and the donor infrequently – so that donor players are ‘surprised’ when plans change drastically from what they initially approved. Debrief at length with the team so that practitioners gain more empathy for donor constraints, pressures and access to information.

Coaching & mentoring advice

  • Managers need to be strategic about how much pressure they put on practitioners to internalise donor constraints and realities, compared to how much they buffer staff from this.
  • Support staff need to balance the focus on the end goal of achieving systemic change with the donor requirements for the types of interventions and activities that are acceptable. Call out practitioners who blatantly violate principles of market facilitation to stick to donor rules, but also keep in check those who consistently break the rules.

Guidance for assessing this competency

Presentation of case analysis
Add an additional question to an existing case study presentation: How does this solution comply with donor requirements? How would you reassure the donor that what you are proposing does not compromise their rules, policies or image?

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