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Civil society partnerships

Designing and Formalizing


When partnerships require a transfer of resources from UNICEF to the CSO, there are two established modalities: 1) a Small Scale Funding Agreement (SSFA), or a 2) Programme Cooperation Agreement (PCA).   


Small Scale Funding Agreement


Programme Cooperation Agreement

  • Legal agreement to work with UNICEF.
  • UNICEF resources should not exceed $50,000 in a twelve month period.
  • Mainly used with small community-based organizations to build capacity over a short time period.
  • Once $50,000 has been transferred through one or multiple SSFAs, subsequent SSFAs cannot be used with the same CSO within a 12-month period.
  • During humanitarian crises, SSFAs are often used as quick transfer of $50,000 cash and/or up to three months of programme supplies. 
  • Legal framework to enter into partnership.
  • PCAs establish stable and long lasting partnerships with UNICEF.
  • A PCA is an umbrella agreement with a CSO; once it is signed it remains valid through the end of the UNICEF country programme.
  • At least one programme document is required to operationalize the PCA.
  • No one is allowed to make any changes to the PCA document without prior approval from UNICEF HQ.

Working Documents:   

There are three instruments available for defining the scope of programme results associated with each partnership modality. The Result Based Management (RBM) approach is required when developing the programme document.  Reference Document 3 (Budgeting, Implementation and Financial Reporting) has key details about budgeting, calculations, and eligible expenditures.

Terms of Reference

Programme Document

Simplified Humanitarian Programme Document
                        ToRs for SSFA

  • Use with SSFA to articulate the details of programme results
  • Consists of 5 sections
    • Purpose of partnership
    • Expected result
    • Specific agreement or condition
    • Budget:
      • UNICEF contribution by Activity
      • UNICEF Supply contribution
      • Partner contribution
    • Monitoring & Reporting
                              Annex C for PCA

  • Use with PCA in regular programme context to define the scope and programmatic content of the partnership
  • Consists of 6 sections
    • Programme & CSO overview
    • Programme description
    • Workplan & budget
    • Partnership review plan
    • Other requirements
  • Signatures
                   Annex B for PCA

  • Use with PCA in emergencies for immediate and effective response
  • Consists of 5 brief sections
    • CSO overview
    • Situation and response
    • Workplan & Budget
    • Status of capacity assessment
  • Signature

Assessments: All partnerships with a budget of more than $100,000 require a HACT micro assessment to be undertaken by a third party financial firm. The results are mainly used to identify weak areas and associated risks and to determine cash transfer modality (ies) and frequency of assurance activities for better risk management. The results should be incorporated into the programme document. Ideally micro assessments should be done before entering into a partnership, otherwise the partner is assumed high risk until the assessment result is finalised. A related learning course is available on HACT e-learning course (Agora).


If the HACT micro assessment is not finalised and the CSO is not qualified by ECHO then a simplified financial checklist is required for all partnerships when the partner is using a UNICEF cash transfer for purchases greater than $2,500.

Internal reviews: Internal review varies based on the size and level of partnership. It may require the UNICEF Partnership Review Committee (PRC) to make a recommendation to the Representative. The Partnership Review Committee may ask the UNICEF programme officer for further details or revisions, which need to be done in consultation with the partner.



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