Evaluating the EU's support to and engagement with civil society organisations in Nepal


Looking back over a five-year period, NIRAS examined three main areas of EU actions: direct funding through grants, mainstreaming civil society in the sectoral-geographic programmes, and regular dialogue and consultation.

March 31, 2023
  • SDG: #5, #10, #17
  • SECTORS: Data & Digitalisation
  • COUNTRIES: Nepal
  • DONOR: European Union
  • CLIENT: EU Delegation to Nepal

In Nepal, the EU and its Member States have been long-term supporters of good governance, promoting the country’s democratic transition from conflict to peace and supporting the implementation of the 2015 Constitution by engaging with both state institutions and civil society organisations (CSOs). 

Around the world, EU engagement with CSOs is guided by strategic orientations set out in the so-called EU Roadmaps for the Engagement with Civil Society. In Nepal, the first Roadmap covered the period 2016 to 2020. In January 2022, a new Roadmap was approved for the period 2021-2024. Building on its predecessor, it focuses on three priorities: (i) strengthening partnerships with civil society and the Nepalese Government to promote a conducive environment; (ii) promoting stronger voices and capacities of CSOs in public policy cycles as outlined in the Multi-annual Indicative Programme (MIP) 2021-2027; and (iii) promoting the participation of civil society in good governance.  


After years of working with civil society organisations, Bea Sanz Corella recently joined NIRAS as its primary civil society expert and consultant. In this feature, she shares her experience working in international development and thoughts on the importance of coming together to build a world where kindness rules across sectors.

Between June 2022 and January 2023, NIRAS undertook a portfolio Evaluation of the EU's support to civil society in Nepal between 2016 and 2021. The  evaluation, strongly underpinned by a theory-based and evidence-driven approach, analysed a total of 25 EU-funded interventions.

Conceived as a “mixed methods evaluation”, the NIRAS team used a wide range of quantitative and qualitative methods to collect and assess the information, including an online survey (answered by 35 CSOs and partners), visits to 13 interventions in Madesh, Karnali and Sudurpashchim provinces, and 70 semi-structured interviews with a wide spectrum of stakeholders.

Appreciative evaluation tools such as Appreciative Enquiry, Outcome Mapping, and Most Significant Change were also integrated in the developmental framework in an effort to understand how change happened. The evaluation, which also encompassed a mapping study of EU Member States and like-minded partners' support to civil society in Nepal, concluded with a set of practical recommendations - based on the key lessons learned - aimed at assisting the EU to improve the quality of its engagement with CSOs. As part of the evaluation, NIRAS aided the EU Delegation with the organisation of the 2022 Civil Society Forum and the production of two videos (see below) as well as infographics and several stories showcasing EU support to CSOs in Nepal. 

NIRAS evaluation team leader Bea Sanz Corella (left) during one of the field visits


Download the Evaluation Report Summary

Nepal CSO infographic Sahayatra

Creating education opportunities for marginalised girls and children with disabilities

Nepal CSO infographic Sahas

The Healing Power of Stories

Nepal CSO infographic Pariwartan

Giving people a voice in local governance

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Luciana Capuano Mascarenhas

Luciana Capuano Mascarenhas

MEL Specialist & Evaluation Manager

Helsinki, Finland

+358 9 8362 4218