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Exploring Partnerships and Principles in Conflict Contexts

The Partnership Brokers Association was commissioned by Charter for Change, through the Dutch Relief Alliance, to examine the interface between humanitarian and partnering principles, and contribute to the debate on principled humanitarian aid and localisation. The full report  ‘Towards Principled Humanitarian Action in Conflict Contexts – Understanding the Role of Partnerships’ captures the voices of over 120 local/national humanitarian practitioners in Nigeria and South Sudan, and provides some fresh insights into understanding how partnering might support/enable principled humanitarian action.

The report will be launched and discussed on Wednesday 2nd June at 2-3.30pm CET, at an online event moderated by PHAP. We invite you to register and join what will undoubtedly be an important and engaging conversation.

1-2-1 Professional Support for Partnership Brokers

PBA’ s new service, 1-2-1 Professional Support for Partnership Brokers has been designed to support partnership brokers on-the-job, wherever they are in their practice. Whether you are taking on a new partnership brokering role, working through a challenge, aspiring to deepen your practice and grow your skills – you can benefit from 1-2-1 support. The service is provided by a Practice Partner – an experienced, PBA accredited partnership brokers – will work with you 1-2-1. You can choose the Practice Partner you would like to work with under one of the three support packages:

  • Sounding Board: up to three focused sessions to navigate a specific partnership brokering challenge
  • Deepen Your Practice: longer term professional development support, for example, one session per month over 10 months, plus sharing resources and tools
  • On Demand: a set number of sessions to be used as and when needed, within a defined time, as agreed between you and your Practice Partner, a retainer-type agreement

More information on 1-2-1 Professional Support.

Download: 1-2-1 Professional Support brochure (pdf)

The Meditative Art of Partnership Brokering

At PBA we examine and explore partnership brokering through various lenses. One of them is the Art & Science lens. In this edition of “Stories from Practice” we present a paper related to visual-art meditation.

Meditation describes different mind-body practices that help cultivate clarity and calm independent of circumstances. Nepal-based Accreditation alumni and PBA Associate PRAJWAL SHAHI shares his experiences with a visual-art meditation technique and describes how it benefited his reflective practice and work as partnership broker.

„This paper explores the need for and value of meditative steps in reflective practice. It shows how a structured tool, such as Zentangles, can even focus on frameworks used in partnership brokering. One of the paper’s central themes is “learning is ever-evolving.” The author reflects on and re-engineers his problem-solving skills as Partnership Broker by using meditative art. For him it was an indispensable practice during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, where many had to learn how to do business differently. This journey has inspired him to deconstruct the partnership brokering framework using meditative art, to expand his understanding of it and to apply it creatively in a partnering context.“

Read Prajwal’s art-inspiring paper here and share about your reflective practices on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Moving beyond transactional and transformational

In this edition of Stories from Practice we look at the question of transactional and transformational collaboration.

PBA accredited partnership broker ANNELIES CLAESSENS invites us to glimpse into the professional world of an internal partnership broker in an Alliance setting.

She explores ways of looking at added value, transformation and evolution of a complex partnership, and shares her reflections on helping partners move across the collaboration continuum. Annelies’ paper offers an excellent analysis of how collaboration can be both transactional and transformational, as well as an analysis of drivers and approaches to collaboration in the humanitarian sector.

“Imagine accepting the challenge of supporting a partnership of 15 Dutch aid agencies and the Netherlands Ministry of Affairs in moving from ‘transactional’ to ‘transformative’. I found out along the way that this process is not linear but that fluidity between different concept and processes is key. This article describes how an internal broker can assist in finding appropriate decision-making processes for managing such an alliance, whilst being accountable and vulnerable. To co-create, adopt and model the results of the alliance, the internal broker should pivot between providing traditional leadership and encouraging collaborative leadership of the individual organisations.”

Read Annelies’ thought-provoking paper here and tell us about your experiences on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Tempered Radicals and Partnership Brokers

DAWN BAGGALEY‘s Accreditation paper explores how partnership brokering is central to creating sustainable change, and how the emerging professions of partnership brokering and sustainability compare.

In her role as Head for Sustainability for the NZ Post, Dawn draws her own experience as a sustainability professional and internal partnership broker and she invites the perspective of others in the field through a survey questionnaire.

She applies the concept of “Tempered Radical” – someone who “works within the system to change the system” – to examine how partnership brokering principles could help the sustainability profession to mobilise knowledge and skills to address systemic, cultural and organisational challenges.

Dawn’s paper sheds light on the skills, tool and strategies they use and how brokering is essential to creating sustainable change.

“This paper explores how partnerships and internal brokering is key for creating sustainable change within organisations in particular business.  Through the lens of Tempered Radicalism, the author is analysing the skills and strategies that have guided her work as a sustainability profession and identify similarities between partnership brokers and sustainability managers. A peer survey shows that over 80% are brokering as part of their day-to-day work.  There is huge potential for both professions to learn from each other and collaborate.”

Download Dawn’s paper here. What are you observing about sustainability and partnership brokering in your collaborative context?

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Messages on Principles and Partnership in Conflict Setting

In 2020 PBA worked on a research on principles and partnerships in conflict setting in South Sudan and Nigeria. The research was commissioned by a coalition of organisations – Caritas Norway, DanChurchAid (DCA), Kindernothilfe (KNH), Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) and Dutch Relief Alliance (DRA).
Below you can find four key messages derived from the research and actions to be taken. For the the full report “Towards principled humanitarian action in conflict contexts. Understanding the role of partnershipsfollow this link.

Download: Messages on Principles and Partnership in Conflict Setting (pdf)

Next BPR cohort is enrolling

The Certificate in Brokering Partnerships Remotely is a five week course delivered online. We have just opened enrolments for our cohort. The course dates are: 5 May – 2 June 2021. Weekly webinars will be hosted on Wednesdays at 3:00PM UTC (8:00 Vancouver & Seattle/ 10:00 Lima, Bogota, Mexico City/ 11:00 Washington DC & Ottawa / 12:00 Brasilia / 16:00 London / 17:00 Madrid).
The course is delivered in English but some of the materials (Course Manual) can be available in Spanish and Portuguese. Participants can also choose to submit their journals in Spanish or Portuguese instead of English.

To get more information and register for the course please visit the Remote Partnering website.

Brokering Partnerships Remotely in 2021

Over the last year, being able to collaborate effectively on partnerships, networks and alliances that are operating remotely has become a ‘must-have’ skill. Our online Brokering Partnerships Remotely course helps to grow your skills, confidence and competencies in brokering partnerships at a distance. This training is an opportunity to experiment and test out novel methods and solutions for the ‘new normal’ of operating remotely. Learnings from the course can be put to immediate use in your day to day partnering work.

Three regional cohorts have been planned for 2021 (more information and to register):

  • Europe, Africa, Asia: 3 – 31 March 2021 with Bulbul Baksi, Ros Tennyson and Lola Gostelow
  • Americas cohort: 5 May – 2 June 2021 with Catherine Russ, Helga van Kampen and Jocelyne Daw
  • Oceania and South-East Asia: 18 August – 15 September 2021 with Julie Mundy and Kate Hayes

This course is also offered on commissioned basis. If your organisation might be interested, please contact info@partnershipbrokers.org.

 

Assessing the effectiveness of partnership brokering

Our first feature in the 2021 Stories from Practice series presents a paper on self-assessment and measuring the value of a partnership broker’s role and work.

The PBA Accreditation journey invited US-based BETHANY CRAIG to take an evidence-based approach to her performance as an internal partnership broker for the American Red Cross.

Assessing her effectiveness to understand how her role is contributing to better partnering outcomes was pivotal for strengthening capacity building across the organisation.

“This paper analyses how the process of reflection informed the approaches to design and test a framework for assessing the effectiveness of partnership brokering. As an internal partnership broker for the American Red Cross one of the author’s key responsibilities focused on building the capacity of colleagues to collaborate well with external partners. The paper examines how understanding one’s own capacities and how the process of partnership brokering is effectively adding value is positively impacting organisational learning.”

Bethany’s paper offers an excellent example of developing a practical tool that internal brokers can use to measure the effectiveness and impact of their collaborative work.

Download the paper here and let’s hear about your evaluation approaches. How do you make the impact of your partnership brokering role more visible? Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Cultivating equity through applying a gender lens

Before we are closing this turbulent year, we would like to leave you with a thought-provoking and highly relevant story from practice.

In her PBA Accreditation paper Australia-based SAMANTHA GROVER shares about her experiences in integrating gender and equity as values in her partnership work. The relevance of a gender lens in partnership brokering and its contribution towards helping to establish equity moves beyond the man and woman relationship aspects.

Samantha works on environmental issues in an academic context. This invites another layer of significance to her work in that environmentalists consider the exploitation of nature to be supported by a patriarchal framework, while feminists speak about collaboration with nature, which resonates well with the partnering framework.

We all have a gender, but few of us are gender experts. Sustainability unarguably requires greater equity, and yet our internal and external processes are steeped in gendered institutional practices. As partnership brokers, we have the opportunity to help partners to recognise and change inequitable practices. Beginning with internal team practices builds buy-in and confidence. Deep capacity building will be required to mainstream gender and equity within research for sustainable development. Join Partnership Broker Samantha Grover as she weaves gender, academia, and sustainability research into a rich tapestry in this paper.

Read Samantha’s paper here and tell us in what ways you cultivate equity in your collaborative work on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Grasping for clarity: Defining interorganizational relationships

For the November edition of “Stories from Practice” we are presenting a paper on developing partnering approaches within and across organisations.

During her Accreditation journey, Canada-based alumni DANA SILVER explored her organisation’s relationship with funders. The process revealed that despite one of the core funders dedication to building a partnership, the understanding among partners of what “partnership” means differed widely.

The paper describes her experience in helping her organisation become more ‘partnership ready’. The examples provided on mapping relationships and exploring mindsets illustrate how internal partnership brokers can approach organisational development and capacity building in an inclusive, step by step manner.

“The term ‘partner’ is often used to describe a wide range of organizational relationships, without necessarily considering the value each contributes toward achieving the organisation’s mission. Internal partnership brokers increasingly find themselves in the role of having to serve as voices and instruments of change in support of their organisations having greater clarity about what they mean by partnering and having more coherent strategies and approaches to partnering development, implementation and evaluation. This paper explores the opportunities and challenges organisations face in making partnering a core part of their work.”

Read Dana Silver’s paper here and tell us how you foster partnering approaches in your organisation. #partnershipbrokers on Twitter.

Through “Stories from Practice” we are sharing compelling papers written by partnership brokers as part of their PBA Accreditation journey. Every story is a contribution to a colourful mosaic that shows the many facets of our growing professional field.

Links between partnership brokering and effective leadership

The October edition of Stories from Practice explores how partnership brokering relates to leadership.

Accredited partnership broker STUART KINSELLA from Australia shares an in-depth analysis of leadership qualities and how these qualities are tied to the attributes of partnership brokering. He further outlines how he applied these in his professional practice, and how leadership qualities can nurture the success of a partnership.

“The contribution made by a good partnership broker, particularly an internal partnership broker, can often be overlooked and/or is undervalued. However, there are strong parallels between the qualities demonstrated by a good partnership broker and key attributes of leadership. For example, the best leaders lead through influence, not the power of their position, and they are open to new ideas, criticisms and different perspectives. This paper argues that a good partnership broker has extensive leadership capabilities and can therefore frame their ‘offering’ (ie their skills and expertise) in this context.”

Download Stuart’s paper here. Tell us how you improve and enhance your leadership skills and how this impacts your collaborative work. Twitter @PBA_Brokers using #partnershipbrokers.

Building New Landscapes for Partnering Remotely

Is it true that, ‘It’s much harder to build trust without meeting in person’? Perhaps we have a new opportunity to do ‘business as unusual’ and to disrupt the patterns we found ourselves working in that didn’t feel equitable or effective.
Watch the recording of our third Global Dialogue on Partnership to explore with Catherine Russ, who created the prototype for PBA’s ‘Brokering Partnerships Remotely’ certificate course, the disruptive potential offered by remote dynamics in partnerships. Get motivated to try some new things!

 

 

6 partnering lessons for bilateral donors

In the September edition of Stories from Practice we invited PBA accredited partnership broker Dulani Sirisena to share her paper with our global community.

Dulani explores the relationship between donors and beneficiaries, and how both sides can move beyond the transactional nature of a funding relationship toward extracting greater value and impact. While not all partners have to be ‘equal’, it is key to seek equity in the partnership.

Dulani provides insights from her own practical experience with DFAT programmes in Sri Lanka and offers pointers as to how mutuality and reciprocity can be achieved. Not least also asking the question, whether to partner with all the consequences of mutuality, reciprocity and sharing risks, costs and benefits, or not to partner and instead focus on providing funds in the most effective way possible.

“In today’s world of complex development challenges, such as the global crisis we are facing right now, it is no longer enough for donors to play a passive role in the development equation. A broader understanding within the development community is required of the value-add a donor can provide beyond funding. This paper shares lessons on common partnering challenges from the Australian Community Rehabilitation Program in Sri Lanka, and the application of key partnering principles to resolve them. It explores the critical role of a bilateral donor in building and supporting effective partnerships.”

Download Dulani Sirisena’s paper here and tell us about your insights on working with donors on Twitter @PBA_Brokers using #partnershipbrokers.

What can partnership brokers learn from engineers?

Short answer? A lot. In her PBA Accreditation paper, Vietnam-based Takara Morgan explores the challenges related to introducing partnership brokering approaches to existing collaborations. Examining and understanding the structural integrity of the partnership is key to help partners ‘retrofit’ and implement principles and practices, that will not only carry the dynamics of collaborative processes but lift the partnership’s effectiveness and ability for transformative impact.

“What can partnership brokers learn from engineers? Not much it might seem. On the surface, engineers may even be considered the antithesis of partnership brokers. However, if an existing partnership is considering introducing partnership brokering approaches, the partnership broker needs to understand the foundations on which the partnership was built. If there are cracks, these need to be addressed before applying extra loads. If not, there will be problems later on. This paper explores case studies on retrofitting partnerships with partnership brokering approaches, and suggests four pre-conditions that need to be assessed to determine if a partnership is ‘retrofit ready’.”

Read Takara’s paper here and tell us how you helped existing collaborations adopt partnership brokering practices, using #partnershipbrokers on Twitter.