This post was originally published at PAEPARD and has been republished with permission.
Karaki, K., Medinilla, A. 2016. Donor agencies and multi-stakeholder partnerships: Harnessing interests or herding cats? (Discussion Paper 204). Maastricht: ECDPM.
Promoting and supporting partnerships is a complex and iterative process, requiring considerable resources, knowledge, and time.
Based on these insights, some reflections, implications, and recommendations are presented below for policy makers and donor agencies aiming at boosting the effectiveness of their support to partnerships.
- Promoting and supporting partnerships is a complex and iterative process, requiring considerable resources, knowledge, and time. A deeper analysis and understanding of the role of donor agencies in the partnership process is thus required to foster effective partnerships.
- This paper studies the roles of donors in a selection of partnership related instruments. It shows that there is a gap between donor agencies’ policy objectives and their current practice, which needs to be filled to realise the full potential of partnerships.
- Overall, donor agencies tend to limit themselves to funding partnerships, often through competitive procedures, adopting a reactive attitude to supporting partnerships. More could be done in terms of coordination between their instruments and donor agencies to maximise the effectiveness of their interventions.
- Therefore donor agencies can contribute more significantly, by using their large palette of resources, including political connections, networks, expertise and knowledge. This depends in turn on the design of their instruments, their level of understanding of the operating context, and degree of involvement and flexibility in the partnership.
Deeper analysis and understanding of the role of donor agencies in the partnership process has never seen more pressing if they are to succeed and contribute to sustainably improving livelihoods. (page 10) (…) While most donor representatives learnt how to support partnership on the job, very few of their agencies invested resources and time to build (formally) their internal expertise and capacities on partnerships. (page 20)
When working on long-term change, for example transforming a community’s livelihood or adapting a global value chain, M&E should seek to register contribution rather than attribution of a linear causal link between partnership actions and achieving their objectives.(page 31)