15. Grant schemes
Grant schemes allow some of the key stakeholders to conduct specific tasks that are aligned to their mandate and complementary to the dialogue process, mostly with regards to the implementation of the recommendations resulting from it.
One of the key issues that arise when stakeholders are envisaging the implementation of new policies is that of resources (or rather the lack of them). Usually, the focus lies on those within the public administration and line ministries in charge of policy implementation, but given that policy implementation increasingly expands beyond public actors, other stakeholders are equally affected by this same problem and often struggle to fulfil the role that they would be willing to adopt.
Whereas public bodies are to be financed through the State Budget, which can be reinforced by means of Budget Support programs, other types of stakeholders need to either generate revenues by selling their services or products in the open market, or receive grants to implement those activities of public interest that would otherwise be unsustainable. These grants can come from the State itself, from philanthropic organizations or from international donors. In all three cases, grant schemes are usually devised to support individual organizations either in the implementation of concrete operations –projects– or in their daily activity –structural funding–, with mixed results both in terms of effectiveness and sustainability.
The advantage of linking such grant schemes to a dialogue process is that they can serve to support organizations as parts of a greater whole, focusing on the specific role that they are to play in the implementation of the policy reform that will result from their collective endeavour. Such a systemic approach towards granting is a means of ensuring policy coordination, as the potential beneficiaries of further support are engaged from the outset in the definition of the priorities and implementation modalities of the policy in question. Moreover, by promoting such a concerted effort, INSPIRED grant schemes counterbalance the competitive dynamics that calls for proposals tend to create among local CSOs, thus promoting cooperation over rivalry and ensuring their full alignment with the objectives of the policy reform.
- Local stakeholders –primarily CSOs– are able to fulfil their expected mission within the overall reform process.
- Enhanced cooperation and coordination among stakeholders from different backgrounds.
- Better alignment of individual actions to the objectives collectively agreed.
- The unintended effect of internal rivalries among domestic civil society is mitigated through granting schemes based on cooperation instead of competition.