Partnering to catalyse sustainable change

Partnerships from development sector organisations’ perspective Development sector organisations should take a more active approach in their role vis-à-vis financial institutions and service providers. The best opportunities often come from being “invited in” versus relying on cold calling with good ideas. This calls for a structured approach to positioning engagements, as well as a focus on brand building before engaging with financial institutions. Our research illustrates that development sector organisations should structure their support so that relationships are managed across interventions. This also implies engagement with a select number of financial institutions over time.

Development sector organisations need to balance several factors when considering how to engage service providers and what capabilities are required internally. This includes continuity, operational efficiency, procurement processes, in-house relationship management and subject matter expertise. Our research recommends that, instead of funding procurement of professional services at arm’s length, the development sector should ensure continuity e.g. by providing relationship managers to support continuity across interventions. This should be combined with in-house research capacity and subject matter specialists.

Recent research indicates that most partnerships between the private and development sectors primarily involve financial support, while knowledge sharing, capacity development and technical cooperation are secondary benefits. As development sector organisations consider private sector partners to promote sustainable financial development, it is important for financial institutions to understand the perspectives of different development organisations and the services they provide. Some of the questions to ask are: • Do the development objectives coincide with our commercial objectives? • Do internal processes within the development sector partner align with our change dynamics? • Do funding cycles and processes allow flexibility to adjust and extend projects as required by us? • Are we comfortable with supporting the required monitoring and evaluation processes? • Does the development sector organisation seek to partner on engagements that complement our internal capabilities? • Does the development sector organisation seek a long-term partnership, and does it have an approach that enables continuity?

 

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