COLABORATION PARTNERSHIP AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONAL NETWORKS
At the end of this topic, the trainee should be able to:
a) Describe the impacts and rationale for collaboration.
b) Describe ways of creating broker relationships.
c) Discuss various types of community partnerships.
d) Discuss impacts of partnerships in community.
Partnership is relationships between two or more people joint in an objective for the purpose of profit making.
Each person is called a partner and institution they form is called a firm or an organization. In partnership each member contributes skills and labour for the benefit of the organization. Collaboration which is referred to as partnership together in a bid to achieve a goal at a faster rate than on individual basis.
Most collaboration is made by like minded people and who have similar objectives.
Community development largely depend on collaboration and partnership since it deals will diverse people, community or groups who need to collaborate so as to improve their well being.
Development agencies also use collaborative mechanism to reach their clients through organizational networks and partnership.
Ways/strategies used in building community partnerships
Focus on partnership goal-potential partners need to identify the objectives for understanding the partnership the objectives can be social, economic, institutional etc.
They should establish and approach partnership development in a way that contributes to the realization of the set objectives. This include
a) Participation and consultation-this will enable and encourage the partners to gear towards achieving the set objectives in a mutual way.
b) Integral planning at a strategic levels –this assists development partnership in stages so as to facilitate and account for monitoring and evaluation.
c) Financially sound and management partnership needs an accountable financial management in order to avoid conflict among partners and to justify the use of resources. This contact to the development of partnership solidarity which facilitate easy realization of the set objectives
d)accountable and transparent action-this promotes a shared course of action in partnership by discouraging corruption and misuse of the partnership funds thus promoting easy achievement of the set goals.
e) Collaborative innovative management-this promotes involvement and consultation by members in pointing out the strength and weakness of their union where management involves all parties. The change of achieving the set objectives are heightened or increased.
iii) Linking partnership with other related activities (collaboration) after identifying the partnership objectives and developing a partnership approach. Partners should link their organization with other related activities, this leads to the speeding up of goals achievement and assists the partners in monitoring and evaluating (to compare their progress with those of other related organization)
iv) The partnership should be developed in relation with a broader organizations obligations and functions
v) Partners should identify other actors, assets and mechanism involved in the delivery of goods and services that the partnership is interested in i.e. partnership never works in isolation but in union with other organizations. They also need assets and external help for efficient delivery and provision of services e.g. consumer, government and other stake holders.
vi) Developing partnership frame work-partnership should explore the role of each factor on the basis of their potential intern of skills, knowledge and experience; this forms the partnership frame work which assists the partners to contribute equally in respect to their professional experience. In the same time the partnership framework does the appreciation of the different characteristics that partners have i.e. if a framework is put in place.
When developing a relationship framework partners should design mechanisms for partnering i.e. promoting effective interaction which can be achieved through;
• Creating a learning approach
• Ensuring adequate preparation
• Establishing clarity of communication and commitment to roles
• Reviewing and monitoring partners performance
• Building on strength and discouraging weakness of the partners in the partnership.
The partnership frame work should consider the content of roles played by each partner by
i) Identification of key components that respond to the objective of the partnership
Partners should address their challenges which may be social, political economical etc so as to avoid incompetence
-in partnership framework, partners should consider equity and access to information by all partners. Gender sensitivity is thus important in enhancing equal access to information.
-partnership should also address institutional objectives such as skill transfer, ethnology transfer, capacity building and decision making structure.
-partnership framework should be geared towards achieving key principles of the union.
Key principles of the union include
i. Transparency and accountability
ii. Legitimacy and legality
iii. Specificity of roles played by each partner (sharing roles/power)
iv. Stake holders participation
v. Risk management
vii) Enhancing capacity to implement partnership-partners should develop an understanding of the operating context of the organization such as political, economic policy and administrative aspects. Partnership should thus define clearly the area of operation in order to avoid conflicts between the goals and activities being undertaken.
They should develop an understanding of the regulatory environment that partnership should be aware of the external environment that partnership should be aware of the external environment in which it operates e.g. the law and should abide constitution of the country as well as other regulatory authorities such as licensing and payment of tax.
Partnership should develop appropriate skills for implementing and sustaining the objectives by coming up with an organizational development strategy to respond to the changes and other factors affecting the union the strategy should entail mechanism for dealing with these changes and sustainable.
Relationship should address financial capacities to ensure strong financial base for the implementation of their union. This is done by management in collaboration with other stake holders.
Challenges of partnership in community activities
1. Inadequate trust
2. Inadequate resources
3. Elite domination (people aware of what is happening –literacy)
4. Insufficient information sharing
5. Leadership conflict owing to diverse interest (scramble for leadership)
6. Conflicts of expectation
7. Weakness of working structure and co-ordination
8. Competition and internal rivalry
9. Poor evaluation structures, poor performance assessment (personal evaluation)
10. Weakness of individual and initiatives
11. External interference e.g. political
Importance of partnership, collaboration and networking
a) Enables sharing of information and ideas thus enhancing the partner’s strategies and programme implementation
b) Enables people/community groups to avoid duplication in delivery of services to communities this allows for effective utilization of resources in various intervention measurers
c) It enhances feelings of ownership among different stake holders involved.
d) Programs tend to be successful because of the complementarily of skills and expertise that is pulled together through networking collaboration and partnership thus reducing cost in terms of human and other resources.
e) Collaboration and networking helps to crate cross border awareness of common problems.
f) It provides members with support and encouragement as opposed to when one is working in isolations
g) It provides the needy masses or groups of people with an ability to influence policies both locally and internationally.
Impacts of collaborations and partnerships on community development
1. Additional source of capital-through partnership a lot of capital will be obtained to fund community activities since each partner will contribute to the union financially, materially or in any other way
2. It leads to a broader management base-due to the complimentary of the partners’ experiences in different spheres/areas the management base of the union is enhanced through diversification and division of labour leading to increase in performance and ease of managing community activities.
3. Ease of expansion-partnership promotes faster expansion of community activities due to collaboration, consultation and complimentary of partners’ skills experiences and expertise, this leads to a quicker achievement of goals and consequently quicker expansion.
4. It enhances enhanced sustainability-the broadened financial and skill base allows for the community activities to be sustained for longer time/lifespan.
5. Sharing of profit and losses-the partnership allows for the distribution of the disadvantageous/burdens and opportunities or achievement of the community development activities.
6. Operational disputes may arise
7. Difficult in decision making