The Nordic International Support Foundation (NIS) implements a large range of projects together with donors and key national stakeholders, including but not limited to installing solar street lights, constructing stadiums and markets, rehabilitating roads and government buildings, and managing peace funds.
Although NIS is a Norwegian non-profit foundation, it has quickly developed extensive partnerships with other bilateral and multilateral donors since being founded in 2011. As of 2015, NIS received funding from ten different donors for programmes across three countries. As a result, Norwegian support as a percentage of total funding has steadily decreased, reaching 32% in 2015 and is expected to fall to less than 20% in 2016. NIS believes that a diverse donor base is an important indicator of an organisation’s transparency and effectiveness in carrying out its stated mission.
NIS seeks first and foremost to achieve politically stabilising effects in addition to any humanitarian or development benefits. NIS works with international donors, national governments and other key stakeholders to support state-building and reconciliation processes in order to help stabilise conflict and post-conflict environments. This support can take many forms, but includes providing concrete benefits to conflict-affected communities. In order to ensure the political dimension of our work, NIS lays a great deal of emphasis on continuous contact with stakeholders, which also includes community engagement tailored for the given context.
NIS developed the PROVE principles to address what we see as the greatest obstacles to effective policies and interventions in fragile states and areas of political instability. PROVE stands for: Political, Relevant, Opportune, Verified and Expedited. The need for urgent action in instable environments cannot be overstated as populations not only suffer from an absence of essential needs, but also from a lack of faith that their governments can provide them. A project conceived of under the PROVE principles would need to observe the following criteria:
Working in conflict and post-conflict environments, we lay the utmost importance in conducting our work to the highest ethical standards. If you wish to raise a concern, please see our whistleblowing form.
Prior to the establishment of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) in August 2012, Somalia had been afflicted by continuous violent conflict and the absence of a functioning central government since the fall of Siad Barre’s regime in 1991. Following military gains made by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the FGS has begun to establish its presence in the newly liberated areas of the country. NIS established its presence in the capital Mogadishu in 2012, but quickly expanded across South-Central and into the newly liberated areas. As one of few organisations with a Memorandum of Understanding with AMISOM, NIS works with the authorities to deliver rapid and relevant projects to the communities previously living under al-Shabaab.
An important part of NIS’ initiatives in Somalia include the introduction of solar street lights in urban areas that have been shrouded in night-time darkness for much of the last two decades. The reintroduction of street lights is significant because it both signals a return to normalcy and increases security and economic activity in targeted areas. NIS’ infrastructure projects in Somalia also include road, bridge, market, stadium, public-garden, and flood-control-system reconstruction and rehabilitation. All these projects have brought significant and concrete changes to the daily lives of the many people who live nearby and use the facilities. Combined, the different projects can be seen as a stabilisation package with several components that all complement one another, building momentum that helps keep up people’s hopes for change.
“It was a broken building […] full of waste that caused sanitary and other problems. When I saw its repair to govern the community, I saw Allah’s mercy.”
- Local business owner interviewed about the reconstruction of the local courthouse and the District Commissioner office building in Wajid, Somalia
“The fact that many people from across the communal divide converge at such social places and interact peacefully is a major sign of stability in an area.”
- Sports fan interviewed about the new sports stadium and the sports programme in Kismayo, Somalia
In connection to these activities, NIS carries out community engagement to help strengthen the linkages between government authorities, community leaders, and local populations. When evaluating the projects, NIS finds the community engagement is key to building a common platform for the authorities and populations to engage and make the most of the hardware component of the projects, whether they are solar street lights or a new market.
Donor partners in Somalia include the Norwegian MFA, the UK Stabilisation Unit, the UK Rapid Delivery Fund, the EU, the Somalia Stability Fund, the Conflict Security Stability Fund, the World Bank and FAO. NIS’ partners have access to further facts and figures about our completed and ongoing projects on our Interface.
In 2012, the occupation of northern Mali by Tuareg separatists and militant Islamists, compounded by a military coup, plunged the country into a state of unprecedented political, social and economic turmoil. The crisis revealed the fragility of Mali's institutions. In 2013, NIS established itself in Mali with the overall objective of strengthening the legitimacy of Malian authorities in the newly liberated areas of the country and increasing their capacity to respond to the needs and expectations of the population. The rapid delivery of visible results helps stabilize Mali's political environment in the short term, buying time for the longer-term implementation of the government’s Poverty Reduction and Recovery strategy.
Following consultations with local authorities and community representatives, NIS implemented its first project in Gao in northern Mali in 2014. The first project included 200 solar street lights which illuminate public spaces, including schools, community centres, commercial districts, and water collection points, improving night-time security and enabling community-based activities to continue after sunset. This helps reduce crime and create a greater sense of social cohesion. Following this successful first project, NIS has continues with similar stabilisation efforts in northern Mali.
“Gao sera la ville lumière du Nord”
- Conseiller Communal
Donor partners in Mali include the Norwegian MFA and MINUSMA. NIS’ partners have access to further facts and figures about our completed and ongoing projects on our Interface.
Myanmar has seen one of the world's longest-lasting civil wars. The causes of conflict are numerous and intertwined. In 2011, the newly elected President Thein Sein, supported by chief peace envoy Minister U Aung Min, initiated a process of change towards peace. NIS has since the beginning of 2012 been involved with a number of key projects to support the peace process, which in turn will help stabilise the country.
From 2012-2015, NIS provided administrative and management support to the Myanmar Peace Support Initiative (MPSI). At an event in Yangon on 30 January 2015 with the OECD/DAC Chair, the initiative was officially closed. Read more about the results of the MPSI in the Operational Review report and NORADs Results Report. From 2014 and onward, NIS has also provided administrative and management support to the Beyond Ceasefires Initiative (BCI), which was conceptualised and is directed by Sofia Busch.
In Myanmar, NIS work to support social cohesion and the peace process at local, regional and national level through two separate funding platforms, the Paung Sie Facility (PSF) and the Joint Peace Fund (JPF).
Paung Sie Facility was established in May 2014, as the Peace Support Fund, and has in the past provided funding under two pillars: the peace process and inter-communal harmony. Since 2015, the PSF has been focusing its funding increasingly towards support for the latter pillar, and projects that contribute to inter-communal harmony and social cohesion now make up its core area of support. These are largely demand-driven, small-scale and tailored initiatives. To mark this transition, the PSF in July 2017 changed its name to the Paung Sie Facility – 'Paung Sie' means living and working together in harmony in Myanmar. Moreover, in late 2016 the PSF established its 'Gender, Peace and Security window', a funding stream aimed at increasing the substantive participation of women in building social cohesion and provide support to emerging, sub-national organizations working on the issues of gender, peace and security. Read more about PSF at www.paungsiefacility.org.
In support of the Myanmar peace process, the Joint Peace Fund (JPF) was established in December 2015 as a multi-donor fund to support national efforts to achieve a final and lasting settlement of ethnic armed conflict in Myanmar. Through its three funding pillars (peacebuilding, peace architecture, and research and innovation), the JPF provide financial, technical and advisory support to national organisations, ethnic organisations, and the government. NIS manages the Technical Secretariat and provide overall support to the governance of the JPF, in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). Read more about JPF at www.jointpeacefund.org.
Donor partners in Myanmar include Sweden, the UK, Australia, Norway, Canada and the EU, as well as the JPF donors through a Grant Support Agreement managed by UNOPS. Donors to the PSF and the JPF have access to further facts and figures through the respective donor dashboards.
NIS is a non-profit foundation headquartered in Oslo, Norway, with country offices in Somalia, Mali and Myanmar. Currently NIS has more than 70 employees, with the majority being highly-skilled national and diaspora staff in-country that can effectively navigate the complex political and security landscapes. This allows NIS to work with the political nuances of complex environments to provide the best chances for successful interventions.
NIS was started by individuals with experience working on the Horn of Africa in response to what was seen as a lack of politically attuned donor policies, specifically in Somalia, with too heavy a focus on humanitarian relief where little or no support was given to help rebuild government institutions and services.
Eric Sevrin has almost 20 years' experience working on humanitarian, political and human rights issues. Eric held different advisor and manager positions in the Norwegian Refugee Council for close to ten years, and was involved in the start-up of several country programmes. He has done extensive programmatic work on humanitarian crises and conflict countries, including Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Niger, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Uganda, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Colombia.
Christopher Eads has close to 20 years' experience working on political and economic development issues, mainly in East Africa and the Horn of Africa regions. Christopher was a senior country analyst in the Africa Department at the Economist Intelligence Unit for over ten years, as well as the deputy editor for the EIU's World Commodity Forecasts. He has done extensive analysis work on conflict and post-conflict countries including Eritrea, Ethiopia, Liberia, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Somalia and South Sudan.
Please see the contact section for the contact details for our management team in Somalia, Mali and Myanmar.
Brenneriveien 5 (2nd floor), 0182 Oslo
PO Box 9025 Grønland, 0133 Oslo
+47 21 39 60 37
Country Representative, Somalia
Country Representative, Mali
Director of the Paung Sie Facility, Myanmar
Director of the Technical Secretariat of the Joint Peace Fund, Myanmar
If you wish to raise a concern, please see our whistleblowing form.
Vacant positions at the NIS headquarters in Oslo, Norway, are announced on this page, as well as in other relevant networks and career services. Vacant positions at NIS in other countries where NIS operates are usually announced publicly in national and/or international newspapers.