The Role of Partnership in Achieving Program Objectives: Issues and Challenges


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This presentation was made at the USAID/East Africa partners meeting on July 1st 2009. The theme of the meeting was “Building Regional Alliances: Strengthening African Leadership” The presentation focus on the role partnerships play towards the achievement of program objectives, highlighting some of the issues and challenges of partnership. Starting with a key characteristic of partnership as a union of equals, the presentation traces partnership as a strategy that USAID has applied in its work with Africa since the agency was established. The presentation indicates that there is a perception gap in which US partners view their relationship with African partners with a high degree of satisfaction, while African partners are more reserved, identifying several concerns with their relationship with US partners. However, over time, the presentation indicated that, there have been major changes in the relationships between US and African partners. For example there is a significant shift in the degree of influence and responsibility that are now afforded African partners; as a well as recognition of the resource contributions by African organizations, such as knowledge of the environment, relationship with communities, and other stakeholders.

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The Role of Partnership in Achieving Program Objectives: Issues and Challenges

  1. 1. The Role of Partnership in Achieving Program Objectives: Issues and Challenges By Winston J. Allen, Ph.D. Africa’s Health in 2010 Presented at USAID/EA/RHH Partners Meeting Speke Resort, Munyonyo, Kampala July J l 1 – 2 2009 2,
  2. 2. Partnership Is it a global buzzword for collaboration between all kinds of organizations, or is it a g , core element for sustainable development?
  3. 3. Partnership • Long history in international development literature – 1969 Pearson Report “Partners in Development” – 1980 Brandt Report “North-South” stressing importance of North-South dialogue and co-operation – 1996 Development Assistance Committee (DAC) report on development co-operation 3
  4. 4. What is Partnership in the Context of Health? An organizational model that bring together groups that include governments, international agencies, civil society, private sector representatives, into a formal, collaborative relationship dedicated to the pursuit of a shared health goal. 4
  5. 5. Characteristics of Partnership • P t Partnership - a union of equals – ( hi i f l (equity) it ) • P Partnership - a mutually b hi ll beneficial alliance b fi i l lli between orgs; roles, responsibilities & accountabilities are clearly defined • Partnership - based on trust, shared vision & commitment to common objectives j • Risks & benefits are shared in pursuit of a shared g p goal 5
  6. 6. Why is Partnership Vital in the Development Process? • Enhance effectiveness & efficiency of development efforts • Access to crucial resources - expertise & relationships that would otherwise be inaccessible • Partnerships produce new knowledge to inform development – learning is a key benefit derived from partnership • Accountability leads to stronger partners – Mutual accountability 6
  7. 7. Factors for effective partnership – Development of trust between parties – Cooperative interpersonal relationships – A ti communication Active i ti – Mutual influence – Joint learning
  8. 8. 8
  9. 9. Types of Partnerships yp p • North – South – D Donor with l ith local NGO/CBO/FBO l – Donor with government – Donor with private corporation – International NGO (INGO) with local NGO/CBO/FBO – International NGO (INGO) with government – INGO with INGO
  10. 10. Types of Partnerships yp p • South – South – NGO/CBO/FBO with government – NGO/CBO/FBO with NGO/CBO/FBO – NGO/CBO/FBO with private corporation – Government with private corporation
  11. 11. Effectiveness of partnership p p • Effectiveness can be measured through: – Partner satisfaction P i f i – The achievement of program goals & objectives
  12. 12. Effectiveness – Partner Satisfaction • Comparative analysis of 4 case studies - partnership between US PVOs & African NGOs in Kenya/Ethiopia (Darcy Ashman, 2001) • Perception Gap – US Partners – high degree of satisfaction – African partners – more reserved, identifying several concerns with partnership
  13. 13. Effectiveness – Partner Satisfaction African perception – Inequality – Lack of mutual influence (negotiate mutually satisfactory arrangements) – Length of contract short (1-3 years) g ( y ) – Little say in what will be reported, when, & in what format – Impact of internal policies of US partners on Africa partner organizations (e g staff turnover) (e.g.
  14. 14. Effectiveness – Achievement of Objectives • Historical approach to US foreign assistance - strong partnerships are crucial to overall impact of work supported in Africa f • USAID logo in the 1960s, 1970s, and currently – Reflects commitment to partnership 14
  15. 15. Partnership: A Community of Learning “As a basic principle, locally-owned country development strategies and t d l t t t i d targets should emerge t h ld from an open and collaborative dialogue by local authorities with civil society and with external partners, about their shared objectives and their respective contributions to the common enterprise” – Development Assistance Committee. 1996. Shaping the 21st Century: The Contribution of Development Cooperation 15
  16. 16. Partnership & Strategic Information • GAO report of March 2001 – “USAID fights AIDS in Africa, but better data needed to measure impact” – Missions & regional offices use inconsistent indicators to measure program performance – Data collection is sporadic – There is no requirement for missions & regional offices to regularly report the data they collect • Turning point in reporting requirements – now standard across USAID health programs
  17. 17. Partnership & Strategic Information p g • Increasing need for the establishment of systems that will allow USAID & partners to effectively manage program portfolio • Creation of a community of learning for USAID & its partners 17
  18. 18. Partnership & Strategic Information • Support to develop standardized indicators in consultation with other partner organizations • These indicators enable program managers to track similar results over time & across multiple countries • Use of program monitoring data for jointly tracking progress towards program objectives & for decision making for p g j g program improvement 18
  19. 19. Partnership & Strategic Information p g • Program accountability & improvement depend on collection, analysis, reporting, collection analysis reporting & use of data • Opportunities for mutual accountability develop around program implementation & the learning process resulting from joint analysis use & reporting of program data analysis, use, 19
  20. 20. Partnership & Strategic Information p g • Decisions made through consensus yield better, more relevant choices of projects programs or projects, programs, policies • Solutions are more likely to be tailored to problem as perceived by those affected & resulting benefits more likely sustained 20
  21. 21. Partnership & Strategic Information p g • M&E Partnership Principles – Sh d vision of all th Shared i i f ll those i partnership in t hi – Genuine participation & collective decision making – Transparent mutual feedback & communication Transparent, – Openness to differences & conflict resolution – Trust accountability mutuality & openness Trust, accountability, 21
  22. 22. Partnership & Regional Programs p g g • Partnership is a very important approach for regional programs – Produces strategic advantage in program implementation • Regional partnerships allow donor funds to make greater impact i several countries, without h i t i i t in l ti ith t having to invest di tl i t directly in each country thru bilateral programs – POTENTIAL FOR SCALING UP RESPONSES 22
  23. 23. Partnership & Regional Programs • Sub-regional health organizations make significant contributions addressing health needs in countries within the sub-regions e.g. ECSA, sub regions – e g ECSA WAHO • Regional partnership can play the following role in achieving program objectives: – advocacy for policy change – resource mobilization – generation & dissemination of evidence-based best practices – harmonization of standards & guidelines 23
  24. 24. Partnership: Issues & Challenges • Southern agencies argued that relationship must change from hierarchical donor-recipient or p g p patron- client to that of partnership • Shared power - not an end in itself - but directly linked to achieving better development outcomes mutually valued by US & African partners (To what extent is power shared?) 24
  25. 25. Partnership: Issues & Challenges p g • Leadership & absorptive capacity • South-to-North accountability is traditionally centered around funding • Limited funding for local organizations make relationship with organizations from the North look like dependency rather than partnership 25
  26. 26. Partnership: Issues & Challenges p g • Functional accountability – accounting for resources &i immediate i di t impacts th narrative & regular t thru ti l financial reports Versus • Strategic accou ab y – long-term a a ys s o S a eg c accountability o g e analysis of impact & results of programs on the end user & communities it is intended to benefit 26
  27. 27. Partnership: Issues & Challenges p g • To what extent does principles of collaboration conflict with established principles of accountability? – Tensions between partnership & accountability • Power Sharing – Where is the balance of power? • A Assessment of partnership t f t hi – Need for mutual assessment of the partnership relationship
  28. 28. Partnership: Issues & Challenges p g • Communication – Space & Time • Manpower – Human resource • Financial constraints • Organizational capacity • St t i I f Strategic Information - M it i & E l ti ti Monitoring Evaluation 28
  29. 29. Partnership A core element for sustainable development
  30. 30. What is Changing? • Significant shift in the degree of influence & responsibility afforded local partners • Recognition of resource contributions by African organizations – knowledge of the environment, relationship with communities & other stakeholders etc stakeholders, • Partnership management behavior change (perceived as controlling & unresponsive by African partners?) • Acting as partners rather than as contractors
  31. 31. Some Questions to Ponder Over • What is the future of partnerships in Africa? • What impact will the current global economic crises have on partnerships? • To what extent is there real shift towards equity in partnerships between African & US organizations? 31
  32. 32. Thank You!!