NCA’s Programme Framework 2020-2030 is guided by the organisation’s global strategy, Faith in Action, and contributes to reaching ambitions mapped out in the Sustainable Development Goals as well as the national strategies and plans in the countries NCA and its partners operate. It also responds to the priorities in ACT Alliance’s 2019-2026 global strategy and is informed by lessons and results from NCA’s previous framework periods. Everything NCA does is built on the framework, and the ten-year timeframe ensures organisational commitment and predictability for NCA’s partners.

The six thematic areas included in the Programme Framework are Gender-based Violence; Climate Resilient Water, Sanitation and Hygiene; Peacebuilding; Faith-based Climate Action; Climate Smart Economic Empowerment and Fighting Inequality. The range of these reflects the varying needs of the rights-holders and civil society where NCA and partners operate, and the in-house expertise NCA has built up over the past years. Each thematic area also holds a different but equal level of importance in the contexts NCA works. Strengthening civil society is mainstreamed throughout NCA’s Programme Framework as six cross-cutting goals designed to capture and give direction to the organisation’s diverse partnership approach.


NCA delivers results through its holistic approach as a development, humanitarian and advocacy actor. Preparedness and resilience are included in long-term development programmes and protracted crises, transition to early recovery strengthened in humanitarian responses, and structural inhibiters to just solutions addressed. In line with the 2030 Agenda, NCA will adopt the principle of ‘leaving no one behind’.

The framework will also increase synergies between thematic areas through integrated programming by promoting co-localisation of interventions in the same geographical area. Working with faith-based actors and strengthening civil society have also been included as a strategic priority for the whole organisation. How NCA partners, and with whom NCA coordinates and collaborates, is detailed in NCA’s Partnership Policy.

Strengthening Civil Society

Civil society is at the core of NCA’s goals to save lives and seek justice. NCA believes that strong civil society actors and an enabling environment for civil society are prerequisites for the development of participatory democracy, accountable governance and social justice. Contributing to strong and independent civil society is therefore a goal in and of itself for NCA.

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In 2019, the CIVICUS Monitor found that 111 countries have closed, repressed or obstructed space for civil society. More than one hundred governments have introduced laws restricting the legal space within which civil society can function, often using national security legislation to restrict free speech, the right to assembly, and the ability of foreign donors to support national civil society organisations. 

NCA’s Response

All NCA’s work aims to strengthen civil society and local capacities through a rights-based approach. Together with its partners, NCA empowers rights holders to participate in the transformation of their communities in solidarity with others, upholding human dignity and human rights. NCA enhances partners’ ability to participate in formal and informal civil society networks, strengthens their organisational and financial capacities, and increases their advocacy capacity. NCA also strengthens civil society partners’ competency in areas integral to NCA’s programmes. NCA has developed six cross-cutting goals for SCS that are integrated into all of programming and tailored to the context of each intervention. 

Civil society actors and space are strengthened to

  • foster human rights and dignity and empower people to participate in the development and implementation of public policies, development plans and humanitarian responses
  • make sure rights holders are organised and empowered for collective action on common interests
  • hold duty bearers accountable
  • empower underrepresented groups to participate in decision-making
  • build multi-actor platforms to work together for social change
  • make sure local actors and national NGOs increase their participation in humanitarian response
  • make sure institutional capacities of partners are strengthened


Map of intervention areas

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NCA’s Sustainability Standards

Certified under the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS), NCA commits to implementing the CHS commitments and other sustainability standards in all aspects of its work. For NCA, sustainability standards refer to the rights-based approach, gender sensitivity, conflict sensitivity, anticorruption, environmental sustainability and accountability. Non-discrimination and inclusion of all marginalised populations is at the core of these standards.