How we work with country programmes and projects
DCA has country offices in all our focus countries and since 1997 we have worked to increasingly decentralise the management of our programmes and projects.
In practice this means that the country office in each focus country develop a country programme strategy. Once this is approved by DCA’s International Director, it becomes the mandate for the country team to implement. This includes selection of partners, approval of concrete projects, fundraising initiatives, and an overall responsibility to achieve the expected outcomes and change areas.
DCA’s country offices develop the country programmes in a structured dialogue between partner organisations, DCA staff, and relevant external stakeholders. Since 2015, DCA has used a Theory of Change (ToC) approach in our country programming processes to better understand and adapt to changing contexts and to strengthen synergies and links across our programme interventions. The programme constitutes a time-bound strategic framework, typically 5 years, for DCA’s work within the particular country and relevant themes. All of our work is done with a Gender Equality and Human Rights commitment.
The overall framework for all programmes are DCA’s international goals and programme policies. The DCA HQ provides support for the ToC process and technical advisors provide quality assurance before DCA’s International Director can finally approve the programme strategy.
Each country programme is based on a context analysis including the following:
With a foundation in this analysis, DCA and partners work together to build a shared understanding of how change happens in the specific context and to develop a common vision for our work. Based on this, change pathways are developed which visualise both partners’ and DCA’s specific role in contributing to the desired changes. The pathways also clarifies which key assumptions and actions we believe will lead to the desired changes for the rights holders we work with.
In an annual critical reflection workshop with partners, we use the pathways as starting point for joint monitoring of the progress and learnings gathered. Based on the learning, the programme and pathways will be adjusted, if relevant.