Center for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR), Papua New Guinea
CELCOR (the Center for Environmental Law and Community Rights) is a not-for-profit public interest environmental law and advocacy organisation established in 2000 and located in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. It was set up to address a growing need for legal support to highly marginalised people who mainly reside in rural areas throughout Papua New Guinea.
In 2017, WestWood Spice was engaged by CELCOR to evaluate its governance, programs and services. The evaluation focussed on the period since 2011 when the organisation last evaluated. At that time, CELCOR was in deep trouble: staff were resigning (or threatening to resign), donors were withdrawing (or threatening to withdraw) and morale and prospects were at a low ebb. The evaluation at that time concluded that CELCOR was at “serious risk” of continued and systemic decline. Fifty-two recommendations followed.
In essence, then, we were asked to take stock – what had been done to reverse this decline and what now needed to be done.
As part of the project, we:
- reviewed key documents including the 2011 evaluation report, organisational management documents, donor reports, policies and procedures, field reports, and financial audits
- consulted with 35 stakeholders including Board, staff, clients, NGOs and government agencies. Consultation processes included 1:1 interviews (in person and by phone), focus groups and workshops in Port Moresby and East New Britain
- reviewed the implementation of the 52 recommendations from the 2011 evaluation
- developed a way forward so that CELCOR could remain functional and enhance its effectiveness.
The 2017 evaluation formed one central conclusion: CELCOR was now functional but not (so) effective. We found that CELCOR had worked hard and enjoyed considerable success since 2011, becoming a functional organisation, rebuilding its credibility and implementing the recommendations from its 2011 evaluation report. At the same time, we identified a number of challenges facing CELCOR in terms of it being an effective organisation capable of advocating on environmental issues, attracting donors and protecting the environment.
Becoming a functional organisation again was a necessary step for CELCOR. However, to a large extent, this was achieved at the expense of effectiveness. The voluminous recommendations from 2011 contributed to this focus on internal, rather than external, matters.
In light of this, we identified a small set of recommendations across these two themes – namely:
- how to keep CELCOR functional, and
- how to make it more effective.
The recommendations were designed to reorient CELCOR to be more externally focussed and effective without losing ground on the gains made since 2011. They covered governance, risk management, training, openness and transparency, monitoring and evaluation as well as suggested improvements to its service provision and advocacy.