Evaluation of the Global Solidarity Fund

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The Global Solidarity Fund aims to support Catholic women leaders to drive more equitable development and accelerate progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We  partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to evaluate the Global Solidarity Fund (GSF). The GSF is an alliance of businesses and Catholic communities whose aim is to drive more equitable development by accelerating progress toward the SDGs. 

GSF delivers its work through three pillars: 

  1. creating a more inclusive economy; 
  2. empowering Catholic Sisters as agents of change in global development; and 
  3. promoting a positive narrative around the Catholic Church’s development contributions.

Our evaluation largely focused on pillar 2 and investigated how support from the GSF was impacting the work of Catholic Sisters in development spaces, particularly within representation. With more than 648,000 Catholic Sisters around 193 countries in the world, Sisters may serve as development actors across the areas of health, education, migration, financial resilience, and environment sustainability-- especially in rural communities.


Catholic Sisters are typically underrepresented within development-oriented public policy spaces globally, especially in high level policy fora. This is despite their on-ground development work, perceived credibility with communities they work in and some Sisters high degree of expertise in technical areas, such as health and agriculture.


To evaluate the overall work of the GSF, we conducted a mixed-method, theory-based evaluation with a wide range of stakeholders, collecting our data through key informant interviews, social media analysis and a literature review. Our findings centred around the effectiveness of GSF interventions, particularly the GSF’s role in:

  • Strengthening capacity for Sisters to contribute meaningfully to development discussions at local and international levels
  • Improving the use of both social and traditional media to raise the visibility of, and generate interest in, Sisters' work within the Vatican and globally
  • Increasing the use of evidence about Sisters' work and its impact on campaigns and policy discussions
  • Improving quantity and quality of partnerships between development agencies, faith communities, civil society, and the private sector
  • Strengthening relations between congregations and useful sharing of lessons learned and strategies.

To inform strategic thinking, we further conducted an organisational effectiveness study of the Global Solidarity Fund, providing key insights across the organisation’s strategy, operations, structure, and governance mechanisms. 


The evaluation provided key programmatic and organizational insights for Global Solidarity Fund and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to inform future strategic direction and investments in Catholic women leaders. 


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