Becoming a Partner
A section of the EAC website outlines the process for requesting consideration of a partnership with EAC through an Expression of Interest (EOI). Initial screening of EOIs for implementing projects result in outright rejection, requests for clarification or modification, or recommendation to request a full proposal. If a full proposal is requested, guidelines for proposal development and budget are sent to the potential partner for preparation and submission. Unlike the EOI guidelines, these proposal guidelines are not posted on the website and are only available after a recommendation to request a full proposal is authorized by the EAC Executive Director. Once a proposal is submitted and considered sufficiently strong, oragnaizational due diligence is conducted. This occurs through validation visits by EAC staff and contracts with PwC, particularly in the case of local NGOs less well known in development education. If the due diligence procedures confirm the viability and capacity of the partner organization to manage the project, and the final proposal is accepted by the technical team, the project is recommended to EAA management for funding consideration. Once approved, a legal template grant agreement is negotiated with the partner, signed and fully executed by both parties.
Besides Implementing Partners tied to specific projects, additional partnerships negotiated with EAC include Strategic Partners, Resource Partners, and Advocacy Partners.
Strategic partners. Strategic partners consist of organisations with global reach that have a similar mission and vision as EAC, and through their reputation and worldwide presence, support EAC with advice and access to resources and networks.
Resource partners. Resource partners are organisations that contribute to EAC’s mission through providing evidence of what works in reaching out of school children; innovation in developing the most practical, appropriate, and affordable means to addressing the obstacles faced by out of school children; and financial resources that help close the funding gap for primary education.
Advocacy partners. Advocacy partners bring their expertise, energy, and their persuasive influence to provide focus and action in support of changing the situation of the millions of children who are out of school.
EAC designed an online reporting mechanism for partner projects to submit data on progress against targets every six months, in January and July of each year for the life of the project (LOP). The mission of EAC was clear from the beginning, and criteria for project selection were posted on the website at the onset. Projects must demonstrate successful pedagogical methodologies for reaching primary level children who are not in school, target an average of at least 10,000 out of school children (OOSC) per year of the project, and secure at least 50% co-funding against an EAC grant. Definitions of OOSC consistent with international standards are included on the EOI template. Projects include their own M&E system design for identifying and tracking individual students in their proposals and submit project data online once the project is underway.
Once a project proposal is under consideration for funding, organizations must submit documents that are conditions precedent to the grant agreement. This includes organization bylaws, license and registration in the country, authorization to enter into an agreement by the Board, signatures of persons authorized to interact with EAC, and a certification of document authenticity.
The EAC technical team engages in due diligence through Validation Visits, to assess the project management staff, capacity to implement the project, financial and programmatic procedures, field sites of operation, MOE involvement, and M&E system capabilities. In addition, a process of due diligence is contracted with PwC to conduct a site visit and assess historical, legal, financial, and reputational guarantees. PwC is contracted to visit all local organizations to verify their soundness and capacity to implement the proposed program. The only exception is UN agencies. With these due diligence procedures, EAC is assured by the time of grant approval that the partner organization is capable and well positioned to manage the project. A more detailed description of the Due Diligence process is presented below.
Based on this rigorous due diligence process, only the highest quality projects are selected as EAC implementing partners. Continuous monitoring throughout the project implementation through reporting, monitoring visits, and ongoing communication with partners helps to ensure projects stay on track and accomplish their goals.
Since EAC requires tracking of individual students, intensive scrutiny and rigor are applied to the review of the M&E portion of proposals. Once operational, project data submitted online are captured by the EAC database, compiled and reviewed. Data cleaning and reconciliation require interaction between EAC M&E and technical teams and the partners. All data reported to the M&E system and in the technical reports must be consistent as well as accurately build on previous reports. This process is labor intensive on both sides, and communicates to the partners and to EAC/EAA management how seriously EAC holds projects accountable for accuracy in reporting. Payment disbursements are authorized after M&E, technical, and financial reports are submitted every six months, are all cleared by relevant EAC staff, and are approved by management. In many projects, midterm and final evaluations are budgeted and contracted by the partner organization within the project timeframe. In other cases, EAC contracts for individual project evaluation.
Project close-out procedures include a final report of achievements against targets. EAC articulated a set of Gold Standards for project M&E systems to ensure data quality and appropriateness. These can be found in the M&E Guidelines for Project M&E Systems in Annex C.