Monitoring, Evaluation and Administrative Manager of the Darwin Initiative and the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund

Clients: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Darwin Initiative supports developing countries and the UK Overseas Territories to conserve biodiversity and reduce poverty. The Darwin Initiative is the UK’s flagship biodiversity grants. It provides grants for projects working in developing countries and UK Overseas Territories (OTs).

LTS manages the administration and M&E of Darwin Initiative and the Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) Challenge Fund.

  • Since 1992 Darwin has funded 1,123 projects in 159 countries. In 2014 it reached the milestone of over £100M committed since 1992.
  • To date, £18.5m has been committed to 61 projects through the IWT Challenge Fund.
  • Both are contracted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with input from the Department for International Development and the Foreign Commonwealth Office (DEFRA, DFID and FCO)


The Darwin Initiative was established in recognition of  the support required by countries rich in biodiversity but poor in financial resources to meet their objectives under various biodiversity conventions: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES); the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS); the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). Projects must also demonstrate how they support the Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs).


LTS has provided expert advice and support to the management of the Darwin Initiative for most of its life, since 2000, including guiding the launch of new sub-funds. Duties under this contract have included:

  • Applications management – over 550 applications per year.
  • Monitoring and evaluation – over 100 live projects at any time. This includes supporting Defra to report against its, as well as monitoring the impact the programme has had on poverty alleviation as part of DFID’s ODA commitments. This includes a range of monitoring and evaluation tools and methods including theory-based evaluation approaches that rely on meta-analysis of portfolio level trends and field visits to projects to verify results and conduct project level evaluations.
  • Financial management – ensure claims and financial reporting are accurate.
  • Technical support to projects – responding to queries.
  • Lessons learning and communications – commissioning studies and briefing notes, managing website and digital communications.

Value and benefits

Since 1992, The Darwin Initiative has supported biodiversity conservation commitments in 159 poor countries with the dual objectives of biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation.

Key Staff

Victoria Pinion

Senior Consultant