27 November 2015

What is the utility and impact of country grants?

IHP+ Review of Country Grants 2015

As part of work on the future strategic direction of IHP+, the Core Team commissioned a review of country grants in order to assess their utility and impact, and to gauge whether the grants have filled an important gap in promoting effective development cooperation.

Since 2008, 27 out of 36 eligible countries have received IHP+ catalytic grants. To date, a total of $7,508,980 has been disbursed, with countries receiving between $732,924 and $50,000.  

The most popular activity for which countries requested funding was to support the development of a national health plan or strategy (included in 22/27 proposals). The development of a Compact, strengthening monitoring and evaluation platforms, and support for a Joint Annual Review or Mid-Term Review were each included in more than half of proposals. 

The average grant size per country steadily fell between 2009 and 2014 despite fewer countries requesting grants. This was due to both a reduction in the overall budget for country grants and because countries struggled to spend larger grants.


From the perspective of recipient countries, IHP+ grants have been useful for driving forward health policy processes and strengthening coordination of partners. All recipient countries believed that their grant had had a significant or positive impact on efforts to advance the effective development cooperation agenda. Grants have also helped to sustain interest in the IHP+. 

Although grants are relatively small, they are perceived as being uniquely flexible and able to fund activities that other donors will not. Only four countries relied upon the IHP+ grant as their sole source of funding. Most used IHP+ funds to complement national budgets and funds contributed by other partners. No country believed that their objectives could have been achieved in full without IHP+ funds. 

Many examples were shared of how the IHP+ grants have contributed to stronger national health strategies, more robust planning and review processes, and coordination mechanisms that have set a precedent for more inclusive ways of working in the future. However, a number of factors – the nature of the activities funded by the grants, the varying grant sizes and levels of ambition and the decision not to include monitoring within the design of the grants – has made it challenging to draw conclusions about which grants have had the biggest impact, or to measure their collective impact. 

Read the full report here.

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