International development: Global South Panel minutes - November 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the panel on 24 November 2022.

Attendees and apologies

  • Antonia Mutoro, FAWE (Rwanda)
  • Prof Emmanuel Makasa (Zambia)
  • Dr Thierry Uhawenimana (Rwanda)
  • Gary Leslie, Scottish Government
  • Ian Nicol, Scottish Government


  • Joyce Phiri, Chair, Association of Malawian in Scotland
  • Letty Chiwara, UNWomen Malawi
  • Christopher Mutawali, Chair Scotland Zambia Partnership

Items and actions


Gary – Introductions and led discussions in relation to the paper on Global Citizenship Fund distributed to Panel members. Lead discussions in relation to the paper on Global Citizenship Fund distributed to Panel members. New venture for SG, investing directed into partner countries, which we haven’t done before. Previous funding required a Scottish based partner to apply for funding. SG held focus groups with CSOs in Scotland and our partner countries. Participants asked us to fund directly in-country, and not through Scottish NGOs. SG endorses this as part of Shifting the Power agenda. Asked how much funding to be made available, as discussed in the paper. Agreed staff costs could be met from this funding. Funding to cover advocacy or capacity strengthening. Will not meet the costs of “projects”, as deliver and measuring impacts difficult. Focusing on advocacy and capacity strengthening as NGOs keen on strengthening their advocacy and capacity skills, we thought this funding would be something unique, and something we think is not being offered by anyone else at the moment. Initially was a one year pilot, but feedback was this is not long enough, need at least two years. Minister has now agreed to this. SG currently working on the tender documents for the contract. Looking to have the contract in place in financial year 2023/24 (possible June).

Specifics, how we fund small CSOs (in-country still to be nailed down). There are issues we have to consider (i.e., currency exchange etc). Currently working on our due diligence for these funds, to ensure they are appropriate and proportional. However, we need to ensure the processes meet the regulatory standards in Scotland and our partner countries. 

Looking at a third of the funding being spent in Scotland, as Scottish CSOs are active and vocal on behalf of our partner countries, pushing for modernisation and change. They support cross-party support ID work in the Parliament for this work, and the wider Scottish citizens. This will be kept under review, in an open and transparent manner.

Emmanuel - FFP approach is appreciated, need to lift women and girls up also need to ensure men and boys are not being ignored. This issue had been discussed at previous meetings and was being kept in mind.

GCF, if to shift power this requires funding. People in the Global South require the skills and knowledge to be able to fully contribute to discussions. Also need to consider practicalities of partnerships (i.e., getting visas and paying for flights and accommodation). Virtual meetings are not always what is need, face to face meetings help form partnerships. Accepts reason for funding Scottish NGOs, as they need to be able to discuss and showcase issues in Scotland and keep cross party support.

What type of advocacy and capacity strengthening are we willing to fund (i.e., governance, nutrition, health, equality etc)? SG will fund different things in Scotland to partner countries. Funding in country without proper mechanism for disbursement, accountability, monitoring and evaluating may just waste resources. Funding direct ensure more money makes it to where it needs to be, but mush ensure transparency accountability, and fairness as fraud can be an issue.

Gary – Agreed. We want the money to be targeted and empowering. For grantholders to feel they own the funds. We want buy in from local NGOs. We recognise processes (MEL etc) need to be proportionate for small NGOs.

SG does not wish to dictate what NGOs can bid for, as they will know best what they need (lobbying staff, climate change impacts). SG want to be as inclusive as they can. Will fund whatever capacity strengthening training as is required. Have asked SMP, MaSP the Alliance and SFTF what they could do to assist in strengthening capacity of NGOs (both in Scotland and our partner countries). Sg happy to be guided by partner’s needs.

Antonia – People misunderstand gender equality, it takes in “equality” for all (opportunities and rights). Agrees with capacity strengthening funding for small NGOs as this is what they need to empower themselves and grow. Why is the funding period two years? It is not a long time; it should be challenging for the organisations to manage and be accountable for the funds. SG needs to provide clear, proportional, eligibility criteria for the funding for small NGOs. Need to define what is a small or micro-NGO. NGOs need to have separate legal personality. If funding informal organisations this will be challenging. Discussion of areas that may be funded (modern slavery etc).

Gary - SG are considering eligibility to ensure it is as inclusive and accountable as possible. Hope not to be too risk adverse.

Initially one year funding as a pilot, however Minister agreed to two years funding. This is what focus group members asked for. Mentioned women’s and girls empowerment fund.

Emmanuel – Agreed with Antonia on criterial and proportionality. 

Thierry - Asked if there will be a research component to this fund? No, but this may sit better within the education or health programmes. Need to monitor the use of funding to ensure we can demonstrate impact and scale up.

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