The Ministry is rolling out a new approach to engaging with NZ NGOs and civil society: Partnering for Impact.

Update: 18 November 2019

Late last year, the Minister of Foreign Affairs challenged the Ministry and the New Zealand international development sector to do things differently to deliver improved sustainable development impact in the Pacific and beyond. In response to this challenge, the Ministry is rolling out a new approach to partnering with New Zealand non-government organisations (NGOs).

The Ministry is delivering the new approach through three mechanisms:

  • Negotiated Partnerships;
  • Manaaki; and
  • Organisational Strengthening Mechanism.

Purpose of the new approach

The new approach seeks to address issues identified through the evaluation of the predecessor Partnerships for International Development (PFID) fund, and extensive consultations with civil society. These include the following findings:

  • A one-size fits all approach to partnering was less than optimal;
  • There is a need to better harness the particular strengths that different partners can bring to achieve shared, sustainable outcomes; and
  • The PFID resulted in a large number of projects requiring significant resourcing for both applicants and MFAT.

The new approach aims to be more strategic and targeted, as well as more efficient and effective. It aims to empower and enhance the capacity of local partners, resulting in greater self-reliance. It also responds to the need for strengthened due diligence requirements.

For the Negotiated Partnerships and Manaaki, at least 60% of funding will be targeted for the Pacific. Least Developed Countries in South East Asia (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Timor Leste) are a secondary focus.

While it will take time for the new approach to be rolled-out and bedded-in, we are excited about the opportunity it presents for the Ministry and its NGO partners to maximise our development impact. We appreciate the high-level of engagement that we have enjoyed with the sector thus far. Following the completion of the PFID evaluation in March 2018, this has included:

  • 15 briefing sessions/workshops with the sector;
  • On the ground consultations with in-country civil society partners in Timor Leste and Vanuatu;
  • A survey of NGO partners;
  • Five meetings with the NGO Reference Group (which have provided valuable, in-depth input);
  • Regular email and website updates; and
  • Bilateral engagements with partners.

We will convene further briefings with the sector once we have more to report.

As we are still in a “pilot” phase we remain committed to engaging and adapting as appropriate.

 Group of school children from Solomon Islands
Children play at an early childhood education centre in North Malaita, Solomon Islands, built by World Vision New Zealand and World Vision Solomon Islands with funding from PFID.

Negotiated Partnerships

Negotiated partnerships are fit-for-purpose co-investment arrangements with NGO partners through which we will seek to increase our shared development impact. They are multi-year, multi-country and multi-sector arrangements, which will be agreed with those (generally larger) New Zealand NGOs with relevant expertise, established relationships, resources and the capability to manage an outcomes-focused programmatic approach to delivering development cooperation.

The negotiated partnerships programme responds to clear feedback from the sector that NGO partners want predictable, longer-term funding, which reduces uncertainty for them and their local partners and enables them to play to their strengths. We consider that it makes sense from a development perspective to take a more strategic approach to the disbursement of government funding if we are to maximise our impact.


Manaaki is the New Zealand Aid Programme's smaller and more streamlined contestable fund for New Zealand NGOs, which was launched in 2019. It complements the larger negotiated partnerships funding mechanism currently being rolled out. Manaaki has one funding round each year, with approved activities receiving MFAT co-investment of between NZ$100,000 and NZ$1 million. Up to NZ$5 million in funding is available per annum.

We received nine applications for the first round of Manaaki, which closed 10 May. Applications have been assessed on the basis of their synergy with New Zealand Programme priorities, especially the Pacific Reset; the strength of partnerships with local civil society in priority countries; potential for local impact; and compliance with strengthened due diligence requirements.

Five concepts of the nine received have been recommended for MFAT co-investment, with all activities focused on areas of priority in the Pacific. Further information will be available soon.

Organisational Strengthening Mechanism

This is a mechanism to support and coordinate self-reliance building of civil society partners in the Pacific and Timor Leste. Work will commence on this mechanism soon, and further information will be provided to the NGO sector soon.

Updates: Manatū Aorere/MFAT - NGO Hui

Mihi whakatau

On 22 October 2019, around 120 participants attended the Annual Manatū Aorere/MFAT NGO Hui at the Tiakiwai Conference Centre in the National Library. Under the theme of "Partnerships", the hui focused on engaging meaningfully with the domestic international development NGO sector to advance New Zealand Aid Programme priorities. MFAT's Chief Executive Chris Seed reflected in his opening sppech on the way in which MFAT's values and the Pacific Reset principles influence the way we work. A copy of his speech is available here [DOCX, 37 KB]. He spoke too about MFAT's Partnering for Impact programme, which seeks to better leverage the relationships, resources, and technical expertise available within MFAT and NZ.


Hon Jenny Salesa, Minister for Building and Construction, Ethnic Communities and Customs, who delivered the keynote address.

The hui was attended by Hon Jenny Salesa, Minister of Building and Construction, Ethnic Communities and Customs, who delivered the keynote address. Minister Salesa focused in her comments on her personal experience in creating synergies between the Government's domestic and international efforts to partner with and uplift Pacific peoples.

A panel of PDG senior leaders also took to the stage to outline key programme priorities in their respective areas, including opportunities for NGOs to work with MFAT.

In line with feedback from NGO partners ahead of the hui, the day also included a wānanga on Effective Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Learning for Better Development Outcomes.

We were very happy with the hui, and have also received positive feedback from the development sector. Thank you to everyone who made this a special and successful hui.

Partnering for Impact A3 and Frequently Asked Questions

Find out more through the Partnering for Impact [PDF, 1.1 MB] A3 and Frequently Asked Questions [PDF, 634 KB].

High school students on the Tongan islands of Ha'api, Vava'u, 'Eua and Tongatapu are thriving in a trades programme designed to keep them engaged and offer alternative pathways to further training and employment. It is a PFID Activity with Manukau Institute of Technology