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Community Contribution

Actionable Learning: Adapting a Grants Process to Support Effective Programming

A. Kottegoda, S. Ariyarathna, and T. Gartner

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The SCORE project aims to strengthen Sri Lankan efforts to advance social cohesion and reconciliation, and to support efforts for a more inclusive and resilient society. From its inception, SCORE utilized two different types of grants—Fixed Award Amounts (FAA) and Standard Grants (SG)—that were awarded to well-established Civil Society Organizations in Sri Lanka to advance activity objectives. At the time, it made sense to rely exclusively on these types of grants. However, the context abruptly changed in 2019 due to the Easter Bombings and continues to shift throughout the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

Through Pause and Reflect workshops, After Action Reviews and ongoing collaboration, the SCORE team identified significant challenges in building community ownership, self-reliance, and sustainability through the existing grants mechanisms. To address these challenges, SCORE adapted its grant process to a more flexible mechanism—an In-Kind Grants (IKG) structure—where there is now more opportunity to work with community platforms in a more collaborative way to encourage the development of new and innovative ideas for strengthening social cohesion and reconciliation. 


Although this adaptation is recent, positive outcomes have been observed. The SCORE team has benefited from the actual process of adapting their grants methodology as it has brought them together for honest and constructive conversation. Efficiency, both in the forms of resources allocated and timeliness, has improved by streamlining the process and clarifying roles and responsibilities. And throughout this process, the SCORE team learned the importance of converting learning into actionable changes, the role that leadership plays in ensuring that happens, and the importance of using CLA as the vehicle and not the destination.

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