Final Evaluation of the Civil Society Education Fund phase 3

NFER conducted the final evaluation of the Civil Society Education Fund phase 3 (CSEF III), a global programme that supports citizen engagement in education sector policy planning, budgeting and monitoring.

In September 2019, the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) commissioned NFER to undertake the End-line Evaluation of the Civil Society Education Fund, 2016-2019 (CSEF III).

The evaluation focused on two core objectives and approaches:

  • To reflect on the outcomes achieved by the CSEF programme, both intended and unintended, through a quantitative and qualitative outcome harvesting (OH) approach.
  • To derive lessons learned for the GCE movement going forward through a qualitative process and learning evaluation approach.

The third phase of this GCE programme, funded by the Global Partnership for Education, supported civil society coalitions in 63 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean to hold governments accountable in education sector policy planning.


As evaluators, our role was to both document and reflect on the outcomes achieved during CSEF III, as well as to identify lessons for future GCE programming. We used the innovative, participatory and inclusive approach of Outcome Harvesting (OH) to capture outcomes and learnings. We combined the OH with a process and learning evaluation approach to generate lessons and recommendations for the future of the GCE movement. OH is a relatively new evaluation methodology that is suited to evaluating complex programmes with multiple actors, particularly in the arena of policy advocacy and capacity building.

The in-depth evaluation, over 10 months, entailed multiple rounds of data collection with national, regional and global stakeholders, including an extensive review of programme monitoring data; virtual stakeholder workshops; an online survey spanning 63 countries and five languages; stakeholder interviews; and five country case studies.


Our evaluation found that the programme was successful in achieving its intended objectives, in particular in mobilising the public for advocacy, and actively engaging with and participating in global debates and events focused on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG4 on Quality Education. 

CSEF III demonstrated strong improvement throughout the course of the programme in the areas of diversity and representation of the most marginalised, in actively participating in key national education sector policy processes and in engaging citizens in policy-related research.

Our evaluation also identified several unintended outcomes, which helped to shed light on how the programme, through National Education Coalitions, was able to achieve results.

Our findings identified important lessons learned for both programme stakeholders and those looking to support education advocacy programmes in the future.  These lessons are being used to inform and guide future planning and implementation of GCE’s programmes, and strengthen the work of the movement.

To learn more about the evaluation and the important lessons see: