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Civil society partnerships

Identifying CSO Partners

Stage 1: Identifying CSO Partners

Core Value Screening: Before entering into a partnership, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are assessed for alignment with UNICEF’s core values. Partners needs to be committed to the core values of the UN, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

The first step to screening potential CSO partners is to consult the United Nations Security Council website: https://www.un.org/sc/suborg/en/sanctions/un-sc-consolidated-list. If an organization or its leaders appear on any of these lists, UNICEF will not consider a relationship with the CSO.

For international civil society organizations, core values are assessed by UNICEF headquarters. For national partnerships, CSOs are required to fill out the CSO Partner Declaration, Profile, and Due Diligence Verification Form for the UNICEF country office to verify  core values and integrity.

CSO partners must ensure that all their employees comply with the provisions of ST/SGB/2003/13, “Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse”[1], that they do not expose any intended beneficiary, including children, to any form of discrimination, abuse or exploitation and that they comply with other UNICEF child protection policies.

Partner Selection: UNICEF has two different processes – Direct Selection and Open Selection – to identify and engage CSO partners. Each process has specific advantages and utilities.

 Open Selection Direct Selection 

UNICEF office issues a call for expression of interest

  • Transparent process
  • Supports identification of new partners & approaches
  • May require more time

 Sample Open Selection enclosed for reference

UNICEF office engages with a CSO for a specific proposal

  • Responsive to specific considerations, i.e. known expertise, timing/criticality of intervention, innovation
  • Limits transparency/cost effectiveness analysis

Criteria to identify the CSO partner offering the best comparative advantage may include, but are not limited to:

  • Expertise and experience in the sector/area: required knowledge, specific skills, specialists, and track record.
  • Local experience, presence and community relations: ongoing programmes in the area of operation; knowledge of the local context; engaging children; trust from local communities, existing networks.
  • Innovative approach to achieving results and expected effectiveness and/or efficiency in delivering outputs.
  • Realistic timelines and plans to achieve outputs that meet the needs of the UNICEF Office.
  • Contribution of resources: Resources in the form of cash, human resources, supplies and/or equipment that are either presently available or able to be mobilized by the partner.



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