International development

Review of international development programme

On 1 September 2020, the Programme for Government set out our intention to review our approach to international development - to ensure that we are focusing our work on areas where we can make the biggest contribution and difference in our partner countries against the backdrop of the new reality of COVID-19.

At the end of the Review, we published a number of documents, to publicly encapsulate the outcomes. See:

Review - key outcomes

New principles of the International Development Review (March 2021) were co-designed with representatives of government and civil society in our partner countries – and with civil society in Scotland - as part of, and through, the review process. They will shape our future programme and the approach we take to international development across our partner countries:

  • Malawi
  • Zambia
  • Rwanda
  • (our education offer to) Pakistan

Those Principles are key to ensure that we support our partner countries build back fairer and stronger from COVID, respond to the climate emergency, and support a shifting of power to the Global South.

We also committed to implement the following four key cross-cutting changes as a result of our review:

1. Build back fairer and stronger

We will restructure our current funding streams to focus on:

  • sustainable economic recovery
  • institutional resilience (focused on strengthening public institutions)
  • equalities programme (our commitment to a new £500,000 Women and Girls Empowerment Fund is part of that new equalities programme)

2. Global South Panel

We will establish a panel of ‘experts by experience’ who principally work and reside in the global south along with representatives of our partner countries’ diaspora. Led at a Ministerial Level this will help us ensure that global south voices continue to be heard. Read more on the Global South Panel.

3. Updating our funding criteria

We will adjust our funding criteria to enable more partner-country based organisations to apply direct for funding.

4. Focusing our offer

We will adopt a focused thematic approach to our Programme, following discussion with our partner country governments. This will ensure that we best meet their requirements.

Implementing our Review for 2023+

During 2022/23, we are working on and designing new programming to take effect from 2023, which will be in line with the outcomes of our 2021 Review.

Our new programming will therefore include funding:

  • under a new aqualities programme
  • to support sustainable recovery from COVID
  • to support institutional resilience
  • to continue to support global solidarity/global citizenship

In terms of our approach to our programming, as both an objective, and as a mainstreamed priority in all spending, we will:

  • ensure a feminist approach is mainstreamed in spending
  • mainstream climate justice considerations
  • take a decolonised/BLM lens on our investments in supporting to shift power South
  • align with our International Development Principles (above)

On taking a feminist approach to international development, Scotland has committed to our international work reflecting a feminist approach to policy making (FFP) more generally, and work is ongoing in this space. This provides us with an opportunity to apply a feminist lens to all of our international activity, including international development. We are developing our overall approach to FFP, and what this means for Scotland in consultation with stakeholders. We want this to be a truly feminist approach which means developing FFP is from the bottom up/taking a participatory approach.

On shifting power, we are taking a multi-pronged approach (for example: our new Global South Panel) and new direct funding streams to our partner countries, including our new Women and Girls’ fund which will provide new opportunities for local CSOs in our partner countries to access funding directly.

That commitment to supporting a shift in power to the global south also flows through our Principles, seen in our commitment to:

  • partner country led development
  • equality
  • amplifying global-south voices
  • inclusion and diversity
  • collaboration and partnerships

We aim for Scotland to act as a bridge between the Global North and South. This means encouraging and supporting advocacy by and in support of the global south including the poorest and those living in vulnerable situations, in areas such as vaccine equity, gender equality and women’s rights, support and protection of other vulnerable groups, and on climate justice.The redesign of our Programme for 2023+ is the start of a change process. We will continue to align and adjust our Programme incrementally over the years that follow, in line with best development practice.

Implementing the review - updates

We will continue to provide updates on the direction of travel of our programme.

For example, see to date:

Next stakeholder events in 2023 include that we will run workshops on shaping FFP as it applies to our international development work.

Procurement and calls for proposals

Inclusive education

We are looking for organisations who can deliver inclusive education programmes in our partner countries of Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia.

These programmes must be designed and implemented in close collaboration with the country's government and in a participatory way that includes stakeholders in decisions about how the programme is run.

The available funding is up to £12.5 million over five years (from FY 2024 to 2025 to FY 2028 to 2029). Deadline for applications is 26 April 2024. Read more about this opportunity and the eligibility criteria.

Women and Girls Fund

Design and Delivery of International Development Equalities Programme Women and Girls Fund - Find a Tender

Transitional programming into 2023 to 2024

Even as we are programming for 2023+, we continue to support a number of development programmes to their planned conclusion, in discussion and agreement with our existing Grantholders, for example: -

  • our cohort of competitively awarded Malawi projects are still running from 2018 to March 2023
  • we agreed a one-year extension for the majority of our cohort of competitively awarded Zambia and Rwanda projects (2017 to 2022), to take them also to a new finish date in 2023
  • we are currently considering further programme transition arrangements to provide a smooth glide path between our previous programming and our new programme in 2023/24
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