DFID’s governance work in Nepal and Uganda

DFID’s governance work in Nepal and Uganda is tailored to the country contexts and largely achieving its intended outcomes, but needs a stronger strategic orientation and approach to learning.

Score: Green/Amber
  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 22 June 2018
  3. Type: Performance review
  4. Subject: Democracy, governance and human rights
  5. Assessment: Green/Amber
  6. Location: Nepal, Uganda
  7. Lead commissioner: Tina Fahm
  8. SDGs covered:Peace, justice and strong institutions

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This review was awarded a green-amber score, acknowledging that DFID’s governance work in Nepal and Uganda is tailored to the country contexts and largely achieving its intended outcomes, but needs a stronger strategic orientation and approach to learning. We made five recommendations.


  • DFID’s approach to its governance work is relevant, with clear evidence that it is tailoring the initial design of its programming to country contexts.
  • It is less clear how DFID governance programmes are intended to work together to achieve more transformational impact.
  • DFID’s individual governance programmes in Nepal and Uganda have mostly achieved their intended objectives.
  • However, it is difficult to judge the portfolio–level performance in the two countries because of deficits in monitoring and evaluation, and a lack of country-level strategic objectives.
  • Sustained engagement with particular thematic areas or institutions over multiple programme cycles has produced strong results and is in line with current thinking on good practice.
  • However, DFID’s programme management practices do not necessarily demonstrate sustained engagement and flexible and adaptive ways of working.
  • DFID governance advisers provide advice and support on the governance aspects of programming in other sectors, but could provide more ongoing support on managing complex institutional change.
  • DFID needs to focus more on capturing learning during programme delivery, to support effective adaptive management.


  1. DFID should articulate in more detail its strategic approach to governance at country level, and make more use of scenario planning and risk management tools to support portfolio management in volatile contexts. Its strategies should consider and articulate the desired balance of risk and return across its governance portfolios.
  2. DFID should identify areas where sustained engagement is likely to be required to generate the desired results, and invest in long-term relationships with key counterparts, while maintaining the flexibility to scale individual activities up and down as appropriate.
  3. DFID should maximise value from its governance cadre by increasing the amount of time governance advisers have available to spend on technical inputs (including into other sector programmes) and external influencing and engagement, rather than programme management and administrative tasks.
  4. DFID should continue to develop the capacity of its governance cadre, including by: (i) making better use of the knowledge and experience of staff appointed in country; (ii) posting home civil service staff for longer periods in country; (iii) increasing diversity in terms of experience, backgrounds and local knowledge; (iv) placing more weight on practical delivery experience in its recruitment.
  5. DFID should use evaluation more to test the validity of key propositions underlying its governance programmes and portfolios (for example that support for marginalised groups reduces conflicts). It should increase its investment in learning within programmes, and make sure the lessons are used to inform the management of country portfolios and programmes.


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Published 21 Dec 2017

Evidence gathering


Review publication

Published 22 June 2018

Government response

Published 3 August 2018

Parliamentary scrutiny

IDC hearing 24 October 2018

ICAI follow-up

Published 18 July 2019