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Partnership Brokers Association – 1 year on

PBA has just completed its first year as an independent organisation.

A significant milestone and now time to focus on growth and impact. Our newly established Communities of Practice (carrying responsibility for our Learning, Training & Transforming agendas) are becoming established and we expect to build our research and advocacy activities to match the success of our training programme. Watch this space!

Partnership Brokers Training in Canada

November saw the completion of a Level 1 training in Toronto – our first in the city, and our first time working with the Social Innovation Generation. 24 participants, from a diverse array of brokering contexts, proved that partnership brokering in Canada is thriving, and that many individuals in many different types of organisation are working hard to meet the needs of complex partnerships at home and abroad.

Organisations represented included: Canadian Co-operative Association, Cuso International, Environment Canada, MaRS, Natural Step, Plan International Canada, Public Safety Canada, Rural Secretariat of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, University of Waterloo, World Vision International.

In their feedback, participants confirmed that the training had helped them significantly to understand the partnering needs of their organisations and partnerships and how their improved brokering skills could make a significant difference to their partnerships’ efficiency, effectiveness and impact.

We would like to thank Social Innovation Generation for their work in building awareness of the importance of partnership brokering for effective collaboration, and their support in helping us provide this training. We would also like to warmly thank the Rural Secretariat of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for their support by ‘lending’ us one of their planning team (a graduate of the programme) to take on the role of co-trainer alongside Ros Tennyson, the Association’s Development Director. Thanks too to Nick Luff – another graduate – who joined the team for a day as a third co-trainer.

This training in partnership brokering will be returning to Canada in 2013 – we are currently looking at opportunities in Toronto (mid-April), Calgary (late-Sep) and Vancouver. If you would like to register your interest please email us.

EG Magazine – partnering effectively

The September / October edition of EG Magazine – published by the Global to Local Foundation is now available online. This edition is focussed on Partnering Effectively, Education for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Procurement.

For more information on the magazine, and to download the latest issue click here

Global to Local Foundation is committed to:

  • Educating individuals and organisations in the principles and application of sustainable development.
  • Assisting local, national and international authorities, industries, companies, communities, groups and individuals to deliver locally appropriate sustainable policies and solutions.

For more information on the foundation click here

 

 

 

 

Making the Case for Partnership: webinar 20 Sept 2012

The Partnership Brokers Canada Network is running a webinar at 1300 EST – those who are interested in learning and contributing to discussions on the Canadian context are invited to join.

This webinar will explore how to make a convincing case for partnership within organisations – looking at both financial and non-financial value. It will also consider the role of a partnership ‘broker’ (whether operating informally or formally) in helping key players to make the case by drawing on successful partnering experiences from elsewhere.’

A brief introduction will raise key issues and pose some suggestions – we welcome an active discussion and the opportunity to share different views on this critical topic. Ros Tennyson has agreed to give a short presentation, followed by questions and comments. If time permits, we’ll also be inviting a representative from the Rural Secretariat (RS) of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to discuss the developmental evaluation process for their core lines of business, which has a particular focus on the collaboration stream. It will be a ‘encore’ summary of their webinar from this past June.

Partnership Brokers Training in Amsterdam

The first Partnership Brokers training Level 1 took place in the Netherlands in June 2012, hosted by NCDO.

17 Participants completed this 4-day  training. The course took place in a wonderful space – very much appreciated by all the participants! – in the city centre of Amsterdam. As one of the participants commented ‘although it is right in the heart of Amsterdam it feels like a quiet and perfect place to learn and reflect’.

This first Dutch group had a mixed back ground with people from government, businesses, NGO’s and  some social entrepeneurs. Most participants expected to learn more on structuring and understanding partnerships and to gain tools on how to build and manage partnerships. Throughout the week people commented that it was a ‘rich and high quality course’ and gave them ‘lots of food for thought’. People also felt that this course was ‘exactly what they needed’, and was ‘a great mix of theory, practice and reflection’.

The group has established a LinkedIn group to keep sharing experiences and knowledge (partnership brokers).

The next Amsterdam Partnership Brokers Training Level 1 will take place on 26, 27, 29, 30 November 2012, with plans developing for May 2013 and November 2013. More information is on the Level 1 page: http://partnershipbrokers.org/w/training/level-1/

NCDO is a Dutch expertise and advisory centre for global citizenship and international cooperation. NCDO carries out research, provides information and advice, stimulates public debate and is actively involved in the field of training and education.

 

 

 

Level 1 trainings under development

New Level 1 training courses are being planned in:

  • USA (Seattle)
  • Canada (Toronto)
  • Europe (Amsterdam)

Contact us of you would like details when information becomes available.

Level 1 Ghana

A second partnership brokers training course has just taken place in Ghana – commissioned by Newmont Ghana Gold Ltd for their community development staff and some of their key NGO and regional government partners.

To date ‘in-house’ partnership brokers training has been commissioned by Microsoft (in USA, Europe, Middle East and SE Asia), AusAid (in Fiji), GTZ (in India) and the Government of Newfoundland & Labrador (Canada). If your organisation is interested in an in-house version of this course please contact us for more details.

What do Partnership Brokers Do? An enquiry into practice

To coincide with the launch of the Association, we have published a comprehensive report into the role of partnership brokers in multi-stakeholder collaborations. This brings together the practical experiences of 250 accredited partnership brokers and seeks to help both partnership brokers and the wider partnering community to better understand the partnership broker’s role in building and maintaining effective, efficient and innovative partnerships.

The enquiry finds that partnership brokers can make a difference to partnerships in two key ways:

  1.  By helping partners address typical partnering challenges
  2. By improving a partnership’s efficiency, effectiveness and innovation

‘What do Partnership Brokers do?’ uses brokers’ personal reflections on their practical experiences of partnership brokering to draw out what the most common roles they play are, and what challenges they face.

Some of the key findings are that brokers:

  • Spend considerable time on relationship-building and relationship management.
  • Exercise a range of specific skills that also demonstrate approaches that partners can adopt and use themselves.
  • Assist partnerships by pulling partners together when they fall out with each other and by pushing them to achieve more.
  • See real value in becoming more ‘reflective’ in the way they approach their work.
  • Have a need to balance effective, valuable input and potential dependency on them.

This research starts the ball rolling in assisting a greater understanding of the role of a Partnership Broker. The vignettes from brokers in their own words convey a real need for effective brokering – if partnerships truly are to achieve their ambitious goals. There is more work to be done, and we invite brokers to share their experiences with the partnering community to continue the quest for learning.

 

Download the enquiry here

Meeting the challenge of Post PBAS Level 2 – the role of critical friends

By Carmel Vandermolen

Carmel Vandermolen

This is a story of two people who live over 2000 kilometres from each other, but despite the distance have become very important ‘critical friends’ in both a personal manner and as Partnership Brokers.  These two critical friends have both had to deal with the challenges of post PBAS – the Partnership Brokers Accreditation Scheme which is the Level 2 option for practitioners seeking accreditation

This journey starts in September of 2010 when these two critical friends meet for the first time while attending the Level 1 training, and like many before them had a whole new world open up to them.  Now for everyone who has been lucky enough to participate in the Level 1 training you will know that part of the program is to set you up with a critical friend to support you in reviewing your action plans developed during the training for implementation upon return to your work.  While neither of these critical friends was purposefully set up in the training, the connection that was made meant that it happened anyway.

These critical friends have since completed PBAS Level 2 training, one at the end of 2010, and the other at the start of 2011.  The PBAS Level 2 training comes with a very knowledgeable and supportive mentor who helps you question and improve your skills in the area of partnership broking.  Over the three month period of PBAS the connection made with the mentor and the support that is provided goes a long way to improving both your skills and confidence.  And then comes that black hole at the end of the three months when the training finishes and you no longer have access to the wonderful mentor and the big question of “how do I keep up the important practices that I have developed and implemented in the last three months?”

One of these important practices is the development and use of a log book that helps you to identify patterns and supports you to evaluate your own skills.  What is improving?, where could I improve?, what went wrong that time?  All the important reflective practice skills put into a format that can help you to expand your brokering skills.  After getting used to having to write up and submit a log book, now you have no need to for a training purpose, but for a growth purpose and to continually learn and improve there is every need.  But life gets busy, you skip a week, you have more meetings this week than you can handle, you skip another week of the log book.  Soon you realise that you have not used it for over a month, and then it is so much harder to get back into it even though you know how beneficial it is for both yourself and the partnership(s) that you are involved with.

Roxanne Hodda

Then comes another important teleconference with your critical friend, and a discussion that is focused on the same issue, how to deal with the challenge of maintaining your reflective practice after completing PBAS!  In the discussion between the critical friends an idea forms, and then the idea turns into action.  The idea is in the form of reporting to each other at the end of each month, in just one page, of the challenges and successes faced in that month.  The information should come from your log book that you have kept over that month.  No longer do you have your mentor from the Level 2 training, but you do have each other and a commitment to each other to be the best you can be.  And to be that important someone in another’s partnership life that can be that support for both the good and bad times, for the frustrations and the highlights when it all goes right.

The role of a critical friend can never be overlooked, and in meeting the challenges of post PBAS Level 2 it can be essential in making sure you get the best out of the training you have just completed.

Carmel says thank goodness I have Roxanne as Roxanne says thank goodness I have Carmel.

To be continued….

Partnership Brokering Project – Survey findings

A pleasing number of people from the global network of partnership brokers (114) responded enthusiastically to our recent survey. Responses indicate an interesting level of consensus about the way forward for this work and we (the staff team and the International Development Group) will be using the findings as a basis for the comprehensive development plan from January 2011.

We feel our general direction has been warmly endorsed and have summarised the findings below. A full summary of responses can be downloaded here.

Warmest good wishes for the Festive Season and for all the important work that will be undertaken by you and other partnership brokers in 2011!

Survey headlines include:

Training
  • Expansion of open Level 1 training courses to new regions warmly welcomed (SE Asia, Africa and USA specifically mentioned)
  • Strong endorsement of sector-specific Level 1 options – Health and Extractives sectors achieving highest rating
  • Respondents indicated a high need for single sector or individual organisation trainings for every sector – business, donors, governments, international agencies and NGOs
  • Some made the case for small groups for Level 1 making it possible to be highly personal and responsive to individual brokering challenges
  • Many endorsed Level 1 being a residential programme in a ‘retreat’ setting as an important aid to getting participants out of their comfort zones
  • Warm enthusiasm for other post-Level 1 training opportunities with the following emphasis:

–          Cross-sector exchanges (88 rated this as ‘high importance’)
–          New Leadership training (78 rated this as ‘high importance’)
–          Specialist topics (55 rated as ‘high importance’) – with negotiation, communication, reviewing and personal development being singled out as topics
–          Level 1 refresher courses (46 rated as ‘high importance’)

  • 55 respondents thought a Masters level qualification (Level 3) would ‘add significantly to knowledge and influence’ on partnership brokering –a long-distance course being an important component and a strong emphasis on practice
Research
  • An overwhelming majority, 88.7%, of respondents said that there was a demand / need for evidence demonstrating the impact of brokering.
  • The theme that received the highest marks in terms of ‘usefulness’ was “A comparative analysis of brokered versus un-brokered partnerships.”
  • Suggestions for other research topics were largely variations of the ones proposed (see LEARNING section of website for more details)
  • Research into internal versus external brokering was suggested
  • There was considerable enthusiasm for being involved in research from the respondents
Network, Institute & Influence
  • Strong interest in a community of practice as long as it was well moderated – with particular enthusiasm from many in developing regional chapters / networks (ie linking Level 1 graduates from different cohorts but living and working in the same region)
  • Interest in some international and regional events to ‘put brokering on the map’ with decision-makers and leaders in all sector
  • Considerable support for an international professional institute of partnership brokers – though some expressed a level of dissatisfaction with other professional institutes and hope that this would be different.