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1. Policy Statement

Directly Supported Programs (DSPs) are programs that UNICEF Australia (UA) remits specific earmarked funds for, and where it has ongoing engagement in support, monitoring and management. All DSPs are developed with UNICEF Country Office partners, to support their work with respective Governments and institutions to make systemic changes in policy and capacity to fulfil children’s rights.

UNICEF Australia is committed to maximising the impact of its resources in the lives of children by supporting quality programs that provide good value for money. UNICEF Australia aims to demonstrate program effectiveness through all its partnerships and at all stages of the project cycle including program identification, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

UNICEF Australia’s work is driven by its commitment to human rights for all children and adults, and is underpinned by the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which inform its primary focus - to effectively promote, protect and fulfil the universal rights of all children. UNICEF Australia also abides by relevant codes including the ACFID Code of Conduct, SPHERE Standards and Red Cross Code of Conduct.

UNICEF Australia ensures its programs are effective by applying the Guiding Principles below, actively promoting and supporting these and verifying good practice of Country Office partners.

Funds shall not be utilised for non-development activities including welfare assistance, approaches which maintain beneficiaries in a state of dependency long term, or in ways which promote religious adherence or political interests.

Programs are considered ineligible for funding if they include any activities and approaches which are considered non-development activities as outlined in this policy, or which are not eligible as RDE according to DFAT guidelines including:

(a) Assistance provided on the basis of religion or the acceptance of any particular religious belief or membership of a particular religious group;

(b) Evangelical activity or missionary outreach work;

(c) Programs that are designed to convert people from one religious faith to another, or, from one political persuasion to another;

(d) Building church, ecclesiastical or political structures;

(e) Welfare purposes;

(f) Domestic projects (other than community education).

2. Guiding Principles:

  • Accountability and transparency – UA and Country Offices are accountable for the progress of DSPs, including accounting for finances, activities, effectiveness, and impact. This accountability requires transparency on behalf of both partners. Transparency is encouraged through open regular communication and sharing of information in order to enable informed and open decision making.
  • Active and meaningful participation – DSPs are designed to ensure active and meaningful participation of beneficiaries, including children and young people and other marginalised groups. Involvement throughout the program cycle in design, program activities, monitoring and evaluation is critical to program effectiveness.
  • Do no harm – The do-no-harm principle requires organisations to strive to minimise the harm they may inadvertently cause in the process of their development activities. The CRC and a human rights-based approach require that children and other program beneficiaries are protected from harm, and all domains of abuse and exploitation. This includes adequate protection and reduction of risk when participating in UNICEF programs. UNICEF Australia’s Child Safeguarding policy details specific measures to safeguard children.
  • Human Rights-Based Approach – DSPs take a human rights-based approach and seek the realisation of children’s rights as well as respecting the rights of the women and men in their communities in the implementation of programs. The pillars of the CRC (survival and development, participation, protection and best interest) guide program design and seek to increase accountability of duty bearers to fulfil rights while building the capacity of rights holders to claim rights.
  • Impact for Children – According to our mandate all DSPs are designed to impact positively on children’s rights and have a clearly articulated Results Framework. Accountability and measurement of results is a key feature of program management and monitoring and evaluation practice.
  • Ownership and Relevance - All DSPs align at a country level with the UNICEF Country Program Document, ensuring consistency and complementarity of DSPs with other UNICEF activities and contribution to higher level goals. DSPs take a strengths-based approach, improving the country’s institutions and using local systems where possible.
  • Risk Mitigation - At both partnerships and programmatic level the potential risks to beneficiaries, program outcomes and UNICEF reputation are identified and monitored. In cases of high risk these are mitigated or the program adapted to reduce risk to an acceptable level during the program planning phases and reassessed throughout the life of the program.
  • Supporting Equity and Non-Discrimination – In line with UNICEF’s human-rights-based approach to development programming, UNICEF Australia is committed to supporting development programs which realise human rights without restriction or bias on the basis of sex, sexual identity gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, indigeneity, age, religion, political affiliation, socioeconomic status, caste, class, citizenship, sexual identity, ability/disability, displacement and urban/rural locality. DSPs address inequality and inequity through targeting and supporting the most vulnerable and ensuring they participate in all stages of the program cycle.
  • Sustainability - The design of DSPs ensures that program outcomes are sustainable and can be maintained once the program finishes. For UNICEF programs a systems strengthening approach, including capacity building of government and its institutions, ensures that countries have the foundations for maintaining improvements in child rights. Capacity building ensures not only improved knowledge but the likelihood of multi-level behaviour change.
  • Value for Money - The value for money principle is aimed at achieving the best possible outcome for the money invested. It is a measure of the extent of benefits in relation to the cost of achieving that benefit. UNICEF Australia maximises value for money through establishing efficient systems and processes, restricting the number of priority countries, and focusing on our region in order to control management and monitoring costs. At a program level UNICEF Australia supports evidence-based approaches which have a high likelihood of achieving results, and preference strategic investment in pilot programs designed to model, trial and document good practice / lessons learned in order to leverage government funding for scale up (pilot to policy approach).
  • Whole of organisation, strategic decision making - Decisions on program funding are guided by a clear and comprehensive International Programs Strategy. This ensures that the portfolio of Directly Supported Programs does not become fragmented and is consolidated so that UNICEF Australia has sufficient human and financial resources for effective and efficient program management and monitoring.

3. Definitions

CSO: Civil Society Organisation

Directly Supported Program: Any program for which UNICEF Australia remits funds earmarked for a specific program and where UNICEF Australia has ongoing engagement in the monitoring and management of the program.

Effectiveness: Effectiveness is the extent to which an activity fulfils its intended purpose or function.

Impact: Long-term effects on identifiable population groups produced by a development intervention, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended. These effects can be economic, socio-cultural, institutional, environmental, technological or of other types and, where positive, should have some relationship to agreed international and national development goals.

Implementing Partners: Any NGO/s or CSO/s which are responsible for collaborative implementation of the program activities in relation to the Directly Supported Program. This includes any organisation with which UNICEF has a Program Cooperation Agreement or Small Scale Funding Agreement with respect to or including the Directly Supported Program. This does not include collaborative arrangements under an MOU where the CSO utilises its existing resources and there is no transfer of cash or supplies.

NGO: Non-Government Organisation

Non-Development Activity: Includes welfare assistance and approaches which maintain beneficiaries in a state of dependency long term, as well as any activity undertaken to promote a particular religious adherence or to support a particular party, candidate or organisation affiliated to a political party.

Normative principles: Constitute a starting point and guide for the analysis of all stages of a UNICEF program. Characteristics includes: universality, applying equally to all people in all countries; based in law, internationally agreed development goals and treaties as well as national laws and commitments; and relevant to Government-UN cooperation. The principles are: human rights-based approach to cooperation, gender equality and environmental sustainability.

Partner Country Office: A UNICEF Country Office with whom UNICEF Australia holds a signed Letter of Acknowledgement and a minimum of one active Directly Supported Program.

Recognised Development Expenditure (RDE): Recognised Development Expenditure is the total eligible contribution that each NGO receives from the Australian community for the organisation’s development assistance, emergency relief or rehabilitation activities overseas, and development education in Australia. Eligible contributions include donations of cash, gifts in kind and volunteer services. Up to half of the RDE can be eligible gifts in kind and/or eligible volunteer services. Human Rights-Based Approach: A human rights-based approach is a conceptual framework for the process of human development that is normatively based on international human rights standards and operationally directed to promoting and protecting human rights. It seeks to analyse inequalities which lie at the heart of development problems and redress discriminatory practices and unjust distributions of power that impede development progress.1

Sustainability: “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”2 Sustainability in programming involves ensuring that long term outcomes can be maintained once the program finishes and where actives steps are taken as part of the program to enable continuation upon completion of support. Multi-level capacity building, participation and systems building are key elements of sustainable programming.

Value for Money: measures the utility of the program in proportion to the funds that were spent on it. Value for money is based not only on economy or the minimum purchase price, but also on the maximum efficiency and effectiveness of the program designed using the allocated funds.

Welfare: Assistance to maintain individuals in a particular condition on a long term basis, such as institutionalised care programs provided by orphanages, child sponsorship (that is, funds given directly to children or their families, and not funds drawn from child sponsorship and used for development purposes), hospital care programs, hospices, and costs for the maintenance of structures for institutionalised care programs (for example, schools or orphanages).

Welfare is implemented independently of other sustainable community development activities:

  • Welfare includes no strategy for integration into a broader, community development program.
  • Welfare is provided on an individual or family basis, rather than on a community basis, and is unconnected to emergency needs.
  • Welfare activities are implemented on a long-term basis with no clear exit strategy. Program evaluation is a systematic method for collecting, analysing, and using information to answer questions about projects, policies and programs, particularly about their effectiveness and efficiency


2 Brundtland Report