Betwixt & Between

Topic: Stories from the front line

Browse Issues:
Issue #6, Issue #5, Issue #4, Issue #3, Issue #2, Issue #1

Abstract: In 2012, the Food Systems Innovation (FSI) initiative was set up between four Australian organisations working to improve the impact of agriculture and food security programs in the Indo-Pacific region. The author was assigned to facilitate a stream of work in the partnership, working as an internal partnership broker in one of the four partner organisations, the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). A scientist by training more comfortable with scientific research and its outputs, she had to move out of her comfort zone into the world of facilitated collaboration working amongst organisations with a shared vision but with very different interests and expectations. She had no formal training as a partnership broker when she joined the initiative. The article relates her experiences and insights of her partnership brokering experience, and how it became a test in “becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable”. Learning to work differently: A scientist’s reflection on acting as a broker for food systems innovation Introduction In 2012, I took up the role of broker for the Food Systems Innovation (FSI) initiative, a multi-lateral partnership between four organisations. This meant I was working to influence approaches to agricultural development programming in order to improve nutrition outcomes. It also meant that I had to move out of my comfort zone of a scientist reading and writing science papers to enter the world of working with... Read the article

Brokering food security: Connecting smallholder farmers to markets in Poland and Zambia

Abstract: Partnership brokering is needed to work out new ways of organising food systems that treat agricultural smallholders as a resource and opportunity rather than a problem or distraction. This is because food systems are demanding innovation in the way they are organised. This is a matter of transforming stakeholders... Read the article

Managing conflict in partnerships– lessons from the private construction sector

Abstract: Partnerships between International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) and local Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are typically unsuccessful, often due to an inability to manage conflicts and disputes.  A well-developed governance approach for a partnership ideally includes a process for managing constructively these kinds of situations;... Read the article

Brokering shorter food supply chains

Abstract: How can we meet the growing demand from consumers who want lower cost, quality and tasty food and want to know where it comes from and how it is produced? One solution is to cut out intermediaries and shorten the social and geographical distance between consumers and food producers. This raises the important challenge of working out ways of organising geographically dispersed smallholders and family farms into food systems, which can provide quality food at scale and in a systematic and sustained way. The need is to organise collaborative arrangements with farmers in order to access... Read the article

Brokering in fast-moving partnerships: a Digital Promise case study

Abstract: This paper examines strategies for partnership brokering among small, fast-moving organisations where partnerships are crucial but the broker is required to skip or streamline some of the steps in the Partnering Cycle in order to fit the pace of the partnership’s work. In contrast with complex sustainable and community development examples, our partnerships at Digital Promise often involve fewer partners with more obvious... Read the article

Working with development giants – a broker’s dilemma

Abstract: In 2009, ZOA, the international non-governmental organisation founded in The Netherlands, teamed up with Care Netherlands, Save the Children Netherlands and HealthNet TPO to set up the Dutch Consortium for Rehabilitation (DCR). This collaborative venture focuses on the recovery of (post-) conflict zones in Africa through infrastructure reconstruction, strengthening the social coherence of communities and creating employment. DCR has established the Pamoja project to implement its plans in... Read the article

Passing on the mantle of humanitarian collaboration across generations

Abstract: It is often said that we are influenced and inspired by others who demonstrate through their actions and values of what is humanly possible. In this article, the author reflects on the contribution her grandfather made to the field of humanitarian disaster preparedness and relief. Indeed, he may have been one of Latin America’s first brokers to stress the importance of collaboration in enabling vulnerable... Read the article

Developing a soft humanitarian field – improving doing and being through creative partnership brokering

Abstract: Meaningful humanitarian work today requires improving practitioners’ capacities to operate (do) and to be present (be). There is a side to their work which complements the more... Read the article

Supporting civilian protection as humanitarian action – a brokering experience from the DRC

Abstract: In the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the civilian population has been suffering repeated violations of human rights over the past 20 years. Interventions such as from the United Nations Peace Keeping Operation in the DRC have shown limited success in addressing... Read the article

Value for money in partnerships – a challenge to partnership brokers

Abstract: The use of multi-stakeholder approaches as a means of delivering international development commitments is growing. As development organisations work together to address ever more complex problems, partnership appears well suited to meet the many challenges they face along the way. While few would argue against the value of partnerships in the development context, it is important to consider the costs of... Read the article

Lessons from the frontline of Humanitarian and Technology Company Partnerships

Abstract: The widespread use of mobile technology and access to Internet by disaster affected communities creates significant challenges and opportunities for the humanitarian system. Many humanitarian organisations are increasingly venturing into innovative ICT programmes and partnerships with technology providers. In this article, the authors capture their insights, lessons... Read the article

Brokering a 2 Way Learning Partnership

Abstract: Knowing when to seek assistance and engage external support in a partnership is not easy. Just how this support may best be utilised and work with an organisation’s internal brokers can be challenging. In this case study, we explore how a combination of external and internal brokering is working to facilitate an innovative partnership between an important remote Indigenous art centre and a leading University in Australia. In 2011, the Gija Community in North Western Australia and the Centre for Cultural Arts Conservation within the University of Melbourne began a relationship, initially... Read the article

Partnership Brokers as Leaders

Abstract: Leadership needs to be a critical focus for partnership brokers as they work to gain insight and inspiration about effective ways to increase their contribution. Just as they may adopt a number of different duties in the fulfillment of their role, brokers may have to express different attributes of directive and non-directive leadership. Based on his own experience as a partnership broker, the author explores servant leadership and situational leadership in the context of partnership brokering. Partnership Brokers as Leaders "A failure to focus inward leaves you rudderless, a failure... Read the article

Brokering long-term partnerships – a cross-border approach based on a Romanian experience

Abstract: Partnerships are complex and we can argue that like many other human relationships depend as much on the attributes, characteristics and accomplishments of the partners as they do on the processes which bring them together and encourage them to commit to a stable... Read the article

Making it better: The Partnership Broker’s Role in Review and Evaluation

Abstract: Reflecting the growing interest in understanding the role of partnership brokers, the author reports on the outcome of a PBA organized workshop where a group of partnership brokers gathered to explore their role in the review and evaluation of partnerships. The discussion focused around a framework proposed by the PBA on the four different types of roles a partnership broker can perform. Making... Read the article