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Spotlight on the Code – let’s talk about partnerships.

Sep 21, 2020 | ACFID Blog

I probably shouldn’t have a favourite ACFID Quality Principle, but I do.  It’s QP 5 on Collaboration.  It recognises that no one should go it alone in development and humanitarian work.  Mutual respect, transparency and understanding are the cornerstones of all quality partnerships.”
Bridi Rice, Director of Policy & Advocacy at ACFID

This month we are pleased to wrap up our Spotlight on the Code series, shining the light on Quality Principle 5: Development and humanitarian responses are optimised through effective coordination, collaboration and partnership. Partnership is central to ACFID, as our talented staff rely on our partnerships with you, our members, allies and stakeholders to deliver on our vision: to see Australia acting with compassion and fairness for a just, sustainable and equitable world.

In this Spotlight, we’ll explore different partnership models, hear from some of our high-performing members, and link you to further information.

Partners of Australian NGOs are diverse. We work with and through a range of coalitions to create catalytic social and economic change.  The partners of development organisations include individuals, informal groups, businesses, institutions, governments and universities. It’s no surprise then, that the structure and nature of partnerships have also evolved and become more diverse. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to effective collaboration. 

Partnerships of all types are critical to achieving effective development and humanitarian outcomes and it’s essential that we invest time and effort to ensure they are successful. A healthy partnership needs to understand the context in which partners are working, acknowledge each partners’ strengths and challenges, and recognise and respond to unequal power dynamics. For collaboration to work effectively, organisations must invest in developing quality relationships with partners that generate trust over time. 

The political and security landscape has also changed, and there are greater public expectations and scrutiny of all development partners. Accordingly, the Code requires members to conduct due diligence assessment with organisations they fund.

Understanding of partnership principles and partnership practice has evolved considerably in recent years, and the Code’s Compliance Indicators have been crafted to emphasise the importance of joint negotiation, shared goals, and effectiveness in partnership approaches.

Quality Principle 5 is implemented by ACFID members through three commitments:

Here’s what we have in store for you:

  • We interview Matt Anderson, CEO of KIT International who elaborates on their changing approaches to partnerships, the benefits generated when partners lead and evolve projects, and the importance they place on monitoring partnerships along the way.
  • We hear from ACFID member Act For Peace, about how they work in the CAN DO Consortium, ways they support their in-country partners, and how such collaborations create efficiencies for everyone.
  • We profile how 7 ACFID members partner in 7 different ways. The partners of Australian NGOs have become significantly more diverse in recent years, with more development actors in many developing countries. This blog highlights the diverse structure and evolving nature of partnerships.

We hope you enjoy the journey as we spotlight Quality Principle 5, the last in our Spotlight series which provides thematic ‘deep dives’ into each of the Code’s Quality Principles. A wrap up of the best of Spotlight –  stories, case studies, learning and resources – is on the ACFID website.

Bridi Rice

Bridi Rice

Director of Policy & Advocacy, ACFID

Bridi leads ACFID’s partnerships with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Research for Development Impact Network, #EndCOVIDForAll campaign and the Asia Pacific Development, Defence and Diplomacy Dialogue. Bridi holds a Masters in Politics (Research) from La Trobe University’s Institute for Human Security and Social Change. Her topic of exploration was the power dynamics of partnerships between Australian advisers and Papua New Guinean leaders. Bridi is a former Senior Manager at Ernst & Young and Executive-level employee of the Australian Attorney-General’s Department.


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