Evaluation of the Somalia Stability Fund

This evaluation project will provide lessons learnt and insights to inform the implementation of the second phase of the Somalia Stability Fund.

Project team members

The Somalia Stability Fund (SSF) seeks to adopt an adaptive fund model to support viable and legitimate governance structures, which will work on concluding existing conflicts, mitigating the risk of future ones and enforcing rules locally. Together with Integrity and Axiom Consulting, we are working on designing and implementing a two-tier evaluation, examining the programme’s logic at the strategic level and adopting a mixed-methods approach to assess sampled interventions funded by SSF. More broadly, our findings will help contribute to the evidence base around what works in terms of development programming in conflict contexts.


The SSF was established by DFID in 2013 as a mechanism to respond flexibly and rapidly to needs on the ground and to promote greater stability in conflict-affected areas of Somalia. It is a multi-donor fund involving the UK, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden as well as multi-country donors including the EU.

Whilst progress had been made in the run up to the establishment of SSF - marked by the inauguration of the new Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and recapture of strategic urban areas from Al Shabaab- a full political settlement had not yet been reached. SSF was designed to provide early engagement, expand areas of stability and to support the transition towards a federal structure and new sub-national governments.

SSF was implemented in this complex and evolving context, on the one hand making it difficult to isolate the programme’s impact retrospectively but, on the other providing a unique opportunity to learn important lessons about the relevance, efficiency, and effectiveness of the innovative delivery model, to inform the design of similar programmes in the future.

Our approach

We are assessing the extent to which the SSF is effectively contributing to its objectives and whether the means to achieve these goals are appropriate. A crucial part of this process is understanding the programme’s Theory of Change, as it provides a foundation for the activities it funds, as well as the stakeholders and grantees it chooses to engage. We have designed a two-tiered review framework that includes:

  • A strategic review of the intervention logic for the SSF and the programme’s own logic model, which informs an evaluation framework, assessing the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of the Fund and its own monitoring and evaluation framework.
  • An outcome evaluation review to assess sampled interventions. This is based on mixed-methods approaches including questionnaires, direct observation and Key Informant Interviews.


Our findings will be translated into practical recommendations to help inform the procurement and design of the second phase of SSF.

More broadly, the evaluation represents a rare opportunity to provide lessons for DFID and other donors on how to design effective programmes in complex contexts emerging from widespread violent conflict. Its findings will help contribute to wider debates about ‘adaptive management’, ‘thinking and working politically’ (TWP), and ‘problem-driven iterative adaptation’ (PDIA) to development.


Area of expertise