WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP:
GOVERNMENT SUPPORT TO THE RED CROSS / RED CRESCENT
Organisers : British Red Cross and British
The proposition for the workshop was that a strategic
partnership approach may provide a mechanism to build coherence
and consistency in Movement programming. It may also assist the
critical challenges of improving dialogue with donor governments
and maintaining resource flows for humanitarian situations and longer
term vulnerability reduction programmes.
The workshop sought to shed light and provide space
for dialogue on questions such as: What is the motivation for donors
or the Movement to enter into partnerships? Of the existing partnerships
which work best and why? How do partnership arrangements work in
practice? What are the end results of a partnership approach for
the most vulnerable?
The workshop was chaired by Dr. Mukesh Kapila, Head
of the Conflict and Humanitarian Affairs Department at the UK Government
Department for International Development.
Presentations from the British Red Cross, British
Government, Nigerian Red Cross, International Federation and ICRC
outlined the perspective and experiences of partnership from the
viewpoint of a donor government and different parts of the Movement.
The main partnership models discussed were the DFID/Federation
and DFID/ICRC partnerships, the Tripartite Pilot Project, the ICRC
Donor Support Group, the auxiliary role of National Societies with
government and partnerships between different components of the
Movement. It was noted that there is no 'one' model, but rather
that partnerships need to be tailored to individual contexts.
Generally, the participants welcomed the partnership
model as a new way of working in a changing world. Partnership arrangements
could replace short term, ad hoc, personality based support from
donors with a longer-term, more coherent and more predictable relationship.
It was stressed that partnerships should be results orientated,
and should lead to more efficient ways of working. Communication
was seen to be key, with greater degree of dialogue and openness
between partners than in more traditional donor/recipient relationships.
Partnerships should not limit relations between organisations, but
rather act as a gateway from which to build and explore further
However, the experiences of the participants showed
the need to be realistic about the inputs and resources needed to
start up and maintain this kind of complex relationship. Expectations
need to be managed of all stakeholders, both direct participants
and those more indirectly involved in the process.
A prerequisite for the Red Cross / Red Crescent Movement,
is that the independence of the organisations involved should remain
paramount. The partnership approach was seen by all involved as
very much work in progress. The workshop therefore provided a useful
forum to share learning and experiences. Overall, the success of
the partnership model will ultimately be judged on its ability to
provide improved benefits for the vulnerable.
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