“Together, we can make a difference.”
It sounds cliché, but in the world of humanitarianism, partnerships have been shown, again and again, to be key in fighting global poverty and injustices.
Of course, it occurs on an organizational level all the time. In the humanitarian community, organizations intersect in countless ways. At the end of almost any humanitarian website, there is a tab at the bottom called “Partnerships,” “Partners,” or “Work with Us.”
When one organization has the expertise to improve education opportunities, another has the educators on the ground, another has the finances, and another has the technology to create school supplies that are more affordable or efficient; a partnership can be massively beneficial.
Pooling resources to unite for a common goal means that more help can be brought to where it is needed most.
Historically, partnerships have occurred between countries in order to achieve common political, economic and sometimes humanitarian, goals.
Often, these arise out of necessity: wartime, natural disasters, disease epidemics, and so on. But when partnerships arise out of foresight, crises can be handled more efficiently and existing programs and policies can be improved.
An example is the countries united in a commitment to the Millennium Development Goals, which have been implemented over the last fifteen years to a largely successful degree.
In the partnership between GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Save the Children, there are five key elements: programming, research and development, joint-advocacy, employee engagement and cause-related marketing.
The Partnerships page of CARE, an organization whose mission is simply “to serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world,” is divided into sections: foundations and trusts, corporate partners, humanitarian partners, institutional donors, and research and technical partners.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is a part of the UN Secretariat. Its mission is to bring together humanitarian groups to make sure that responses to emergencies are coordinated and coherent.
It works with governments, regional organizations, and groups at the national and international levels in order to make sure that the people who need help are getting as much as they can as quickly as possible.
These are all examples of the many ways that partnerships can be utilized. There are so many different aspects to any heartfelt mission, so organizations can connect in ways that the average person might never have considered. When opportunities are considered critically, the possibilities are endless.
It can all start to feel a little bit like alphabet soup sometimes: The IRRI works with HRDC, SKEPs, and a company called PRIME. UNAIDS cosponsors include UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, and UNODC.
But here is what lies at the core of it all: organizations are coming together, communities are coming together, and individuals are coming together to make a difference and to do what is right. With technology increasing the rate of globalization, partnerships are easier than ever to form, and this should be taken advantage of.
It can serve as a lesson to anyone about the importance of coming together.
For any individual who looks at everything that is wrong with the world and says, “But what can I do?” because their resources and the scope of their influence are limited, he can ask, “What do I need in order to make a difference?”
From there, he can reach out to other individuals and groups who have different resources to offer, who have a different sphere of influence, who can help the person to make the kind of impact that will really be worthwhile.
“Partnership” is a word that can mean so many things. It offers forth a range of possibilities that are almost infinite. Humanitarian groups are one of the most important examples of how much more can be achieved through communication and the formation of connections.
– Emily Dieckman