Posted on March 22, 2019 by Karina de Souza
CEO Water Mandate
|Last Updated||Aug 11, 2019|
Good governance, project management and partner communications are necessary for a successful partnership.
Establish the business case: Before starting any field work, all partners should have a good understanding of the business case for establishing the partnership and commit to it.
Embed partnerships within existing governance structures as appropriate: By supporting existing local government or other local partnerships, the project may be able to adopt their governance structure and function according to bestowed mandates and responsibilities, rather than re-inventing the wheel. Coordination structures offer an opportunity to ensure good governance alongside action and creating ownership of the partnership by all parties.
Use an appropriate legal framework for project implementation: A legal framework establishes an unambiguous set of rules and procedures guiding site selection, investment, development, licensing and operations of private development.
Balance the formation of a lasting governance structure with the excitement of getting started: While setting up an appropriate governance structure from the start is important to sustain the partnership, try to balance the need to get this right with some project progress in the field. Otherwise partners may lose interest and drift away.
Ensure appropriate project management capacity: Project management skills capacity needs to be built in for any project and implementing partners should be able to plan and execute activities on time, scope and budget.
Involve all partners in decision-making: While one partner may be the major funder, it is necessary to involve all partners in decision-making in relation to planning, design, implementation and evaluation of the projects so that all views are represented. This helps to avoid any future conflicts especially in cases where only one of the partners might be the recipient of the project output (e.g. a clean drinking water source) but other partners share in the project outcome (e.g. improved public health and employee attendance). Involving all partners requires internal communication that is open and focuses on plans and progress. It is also important to ensure that communication and implementation trickles down from strategic levels to local field level and back up.
Strengthening formal local water institutions through local leadership and commitment to the partnership business case had a very positive impact on partnerships in the river basins of Imarisha, Southwest Mau, Kiambu, and Nyamindi in Kenya. The community participation and strong engagement had a positive influence on their relationship with government and private sector actors. Furthermore, the partnership between Imarisha (growers) and the Naivasha county council became successful due to the legal framework they established for the partnership during project set-up. This framework helped to provide a certain agreement everyone could adopt and accept. Imarisha and the Naivasha council continue to use the partnership formed under IWaSP and continue with the activities initiated through the program, despite IWaSp exiting as a partner and facilitator.
Karina de Souza
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This lesson learned reflects the beliefs and experiences of the author, not necessarily the Pacific Institute, CEO Water Mandate, or UN Global Compact.