The Ministry is rolling out a “new approach” to partnering with New Zealand non-government organisations (NGOs): Partnering for Impact.



Partnering for Impact: A new approach to partnering with New Zealand NGOs

Update: 19 August 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

Negotiated partnerships are fit-for-purpose co-investment arrangements with long standing 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.

Partnering for Impact A3 and Frequently Asked Questions.

Please find the links to 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.

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.


Photo of WVNZ Activity

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

A three-phased approach will be used to pilot the negotiated partnerships mechanism with New Zealand NGOs.

Phase One

This phase was supported by an NGO reference group comprised of CID member organisations: Oxfam New Zealand, UNICEF New Zealand, Tearfund New Zealand, ADRA New Zealand, and Circuit International (external link).

Three NGOs were invited to participate in the first phase from February 2019, with outcomes expected to be agreed by August 2019. These are:

The process for determining these three partners was as follows:

In January 2019, six larger New Zealand NGOs were identified to potentially join the piloting phase, using two key criteria:

  1. If they had three or more projects approved in the Partnership for International Development (PFID) fund; and
  2. If the total project value was more than $6 million.

These six NGOs were invited to submit expressions of interest in participating in the first phase. New Zealand NGOs on the NGO Reference Group were excluded from the first phase of the pilot.

MFAT assessed the six expressions of interest received using the following criteria: PFID programme size, sectoral focus, geographic focus, PFID funding available/drop-off, and absorptive capacity of funding.

Phase Two

A second cohort of NGOs previously funded through PFID has been identified for the second phase of Negotiated Partnership discussions to commence in 2019.

These organisations meet the phase one criteria: (i) they had three or more projects approved in the PFID and (ii) the total project value of these PFID initiatives was more than $6 million. NGO reference group member organisations were not excluded from the second phase of the pilot as their terms of reference for assisting with the pilot design had come to an end.

In order to determine the order of negotiations, MFAT assessed these NGOs on the following criteria: forecasts of PFID funding changes, sectoral focus, geographic focus and other related information identified during bilateral discussions. The organisations that will begin negotiations in 2019 (additional to the first three partners being piloted under phase one) are:

The process for determining whether a Negotiated Partnership is a suitable funding mechanism is extensive, and being scheduled to begin negotiations does not mean a Negotiated Partnership will be necessarily agreed. We are conscious that some partners may decide that it is not a fit-for-purpose funding mechanism for them. Whether we will proceed will be determined bilaterally with each partner following exploratory workshops, and comprehensive due diligence and capability mapping (e.g. to determine whether organisations have the ability to work programmatically, undertake contextual analysis, monitoring, evaluation and learning, and work adaptively).

Phase Three  

Subject to the learnings from phase one and phase two of the negotiated partnership process, there may be an opportunity for other NGOs to be considered in 2020. We will continue to keep the sector updated.




Update: 27 August 2019

Manaaki is the New Zealand Aid Programme’s streamlined contestable fund, which was launched in late March 2019 for registered New Zealand non-governmental organisations (NZNGOs) seeking co-investment for smaller scale development activities.

The name Manaaki reflects the fund’s focus on “uplifting mana through listening to, supporting and empowering” vulnerable, marginalised and hard to reach communities.

Manaaki currently 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 of MFAT co-investment is available per annum. Applications must target priority developing countries that reach the most vulnerable and marginalised, and demonstrate how proposed activities will deliver impact that aligns with, or complements, New Zealand Aid Programme priorities.

Applications for round closed in May. Applications for Manaaki round two will open early 2020.

Manaaki Round One: outcome

The first round of Manaaki resulted in nine applications, requesting just over $5million. We were impressed with calibre of the concept notes received.

External assessors appraised the concept notes against four key criteria: the relevance and effectiveness of the strategic investment, local engagement, management feasibility and value for money.  Consideration was also given to the alignment of concepts with New Zealand Aid Programme priorities.  Concept notes were then shared with relevant MFAT bilateral teams, sectoral/ thematic teams, posts and the Partnerships Team for consultation and feedback.  The concept notes recommended for funding (conditional on meeting due diligence requirements), were then presented to the internal Partnerships and Civil Society Governance Group for approval. 

Five NZNGOs were successful in securing funding under round one of Manaaki. All of the activities focus on the Pacific (Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Vanuatu), with a portfolio spanning education for children and people living with disabilities, health, disaster risk resilience, water, sanitation and hygiene, and human rights. More information on the successful applicants’ activities can be found HERE [PDF, 165 KB]. The successful applicants will be invited to attend a design workshop to be hosted in September (date to be confirmed).  

Manaaki Round Two: next steps

The Partnerships Team is committed to learning and adapting throughout the pilot phase of Manaaki to ensure the fund is as impactful as possible.  We will be reviewing the guidelines, criteria and templates ahead of round two, which will open for applications early in 2020. 

Revisions will take into account lessons learned from round one, feedback from the NZNGO sector and an assessment of how the fund’s efficiency and effectiveness can be improved.

We will formally seek feedback soon.  If you have any feedback you would like to contribute ahead of then, please send this to

Please find below the current Manaaki Outcome Round One information, Manaaki Guidelines, Application Form and Assessment Framework, and the Partnering for Impact Frequently Asked Questions. Please note these will be reviewed and will likely be revised prior to round two.

Manaaki Outcome Round One August 2019

Partnering for Impact Frequently Asked Questions August 2019

Manaaki Guidelines [PDF, 1 MB]

Manaaki Application Form [DOCX, 1 MB]

Manaaki Assessment Framework [PDF, 464 KB]

If you have any issues accessing the application links, please contact