The Power of Partnerships
“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.

partnershipsIt 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

Sources: Care, OCHA 1, IRRI, OCHA 2
Photo: Pixabay1, Pixabay2

Academics Stand Against Poverty
The international organization Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP) recently launched a new global program. The academic association’s new Global Colleagues program pairs senior poverty scholars with less experienced researchers working in the Global South.

The organization’s mission is to help scholars and teachers more efficiently address poverty’s most pressing issues. Partnering scholars on opposite ends of the globe will hopefully help to bridge the gap. The goal is for younger researchers to find better funding tools and have increased access to informative literature.

Experienced researchers will be able to offer support by helping their colleagues with international networking, offering reading recommendations and suggesting journals for publication. Applicants will be matched with senior researchers according to mutual interests, and potentially cross-regionally as well.

The partnership is scheduled to take place over the course of one year. During this period, the Global Colleagues team will provide additional support to the matched colleagues.

The colleagues will maintain regular contact and continually assess progress made in the achievement of agreed-upon goals. In this way, they will provide an informative example of international cooperation and partnership with the Global Colleagues Team.

Robert Lepenies, Global Colleagues project manager, has said that scholars at smaller research programs in southern countries have “untapped potential.” He hopes that ASAP’s first global flagship program will help newer scholars establish themselves in parts of the world where the study of poverty is limited.

Lepenies reassures that it will indeed be a two-way partnership. While academics in the earlier stages of their career will be helped tremendously by the new global partnership, older scholars will also be exposed to new poverty perspectives. Because poverty is a much more prominent issue in the Global South, this is especially true.

Hari Sharma, one of the junior researchers from the Nepal School of Social Science and Humanities, offered some perspective on the partnership. As someone in a developing country, he explained that it will be particularly helpful to be in a network with others who can direct him towards more funding opportunities.

Sharma also hopes to provide his partner, Sonia Bhalotra, with some new perspective. Bhalotra, a professor at the University of Essex in Britain, is hopeful that by sharing her knowledge with Sharma, she will be able to help him expand his career. She does not, however, expect to gain much out of the program.

She explained that it takes a lot of time and effort for junior scholars to singlehandedly attempt to make contributions to the field. In comparison, it takes only a small amount of effort from more established academics to provide the help they need to achieve their goals.

With only a few weeks under the new program’s belt, it will be some time before it can possibly be judged as a success or failure. Regardless of the outcome, the leading academics studying poverty deserve a round of applause for attempting to employ connective international tools to solve a worldwide problem.

Sarah Bernard

Sources: Academics Stand, Inside Highered
Photo: Relational Poverty Network

Oxfam AmericaFounded in 1970, Oxfam America works with people in more than 90 countries to create effective and lasting solutions to end poverty and campaign for social change. Here are 8 things you should know about the organization.

1. Oxfam America works on a global level to reduce poverty, hunger and injustice.

Oxfam America operates on the belief that poverty is wrong. They work on long-term solutions that address the underlying causes of poverty, and campaign for social change. Current Oxfam America projects include GROW, a movement that aims to build a better and more sustainable food system, and Aid Reform, which works to increase the U.S. government’s commitment to poverty-reducing foreign aid.

2. They are trustworthy.

Oxfam America is highly rated by several independent charity evaluators. The American Institute of Philanthropy and Charity Navigator have both given the organization high ratings.

3. They partner with local and national organizations.

Oxfam America aims to help local partners become self-sufficient by building alliances, networks and effective organizations. They create reciprocal relationships, learn about solutions to poverty from their partners, and providing them with funding and collaboration opportunities. Oxfam America works with their partners to provide communities with finance options, disaster and conflict relief, food security, and safe water sources, among many other things. Along with 17 other organizations, Oxfam America is united in the global effort to fight poverty; they work with 3,000 local partners in more than 90 countries and invest more than $1.1 billion annually to poverty-related causes.

4. They act on the belief that fighting poverty is about fighting injustice.

Oxfam America holds the strong belief that poverty usually arises from the violation of people’s basic rights. Acting on this belief, Oxfam America promotes the idea that knowledge is power. By educating individuals on their basic human rights, the organization helps create communities that keep their governments and government officials in check. Accountable governments change the systems that keep people trapped in poverty.

5. The projects they fund are community-driven.

By using solutions that are unique to the location and context of the problem, Oxfam America is developing the most sustainable and appropriate methods to combat global poverty.

6. Poverty puts people in harm’s way.

Oxfam America believes that poverty leaves people and communities in vulnerable conditions. They believe that poverty forces people to live in dangerous areas or build unstable houses in areas prone to natural disasters. Oxfam reports that the impacts of climate change will result in unprecedented pressure on global food prices, which will be a huge burden on the world’s poorest people who already have to spend up to 75% of their income on food.

7. They believe that laws, policies, and institutions have an enormous impact on poverty.

Much like the Borgen Project, Oxfam America works with decision-makers to encourage them to respect the views of the poor communities and to implement foreign aid programs that will be most effective in reducing poverty. By opening dialogues with the people who are directly affected by poverty, Oxfam America is giving a voice to those who need one the most.

8. Everyone can join in with Oxfam’s effort to fight against poverty and injustice.

Oxfam America believes that everyone has a part to play in the fight against poverty; by encouraging individuals to work together, the organization aims to raise awareness and inspire action on the world’s most urgent issues.

– Chloe Isacke

Sources: Oxfam America, The Guardian
Photo: Flickr


What comes after the Millennium Development Goals? In the UN High Level Panel held recently, an agenda was set to cover the process that will take place after the UN Development Goals come to an end in 2015. The three key points in the agenda included: women/gender equality, the role of the private sector, and global partnerships and governance.

With regards to women and gender equality, the main objective centered on raising women’s status. Henriette Kolb states, “Women constitute the majority of the world’s poor, but they also reinvest 90% of their income into their families.” It was highlighted that the financial independence of women is crucial to their well-being because it allows them to leave abusive and violent households/relationships. As for the private sector, the panel emphasized that private sectors are responsible for almost 90% of jobs in developing countries. Thus, it is important for corporations to be a part of global partnerships in order to address large-scale complex challenges quickly and efficiently. On a different note, the panel asserted that the private sector must be held more accountable for labor and environmental standards, gender equality, and governance in order to assure true sustainable development.

When it comes to global partnerships and governance, Kolb asserts, “developed economies need to be more serious about designing a robust international financing framework.” There must be a commitment to addressing climate change and a reform to tax and trade policies. It cannot be that only aid organizations and communities are aware of the UN Development Goals, pressuring their governments and holding them accountable for cooperation and contribution. Instead, the global community as a whole, including people living in developed countries, must come together in order to achieve the desired sustainable development.

With technology advancements  today, it is easy to reach people all over the global community. Thus, in Kolb’s words,”Let’s not wait until 2015 to get started…let’s start now with dreaming big and acting fast.” The cooperation and participation of all governments equally is needed today to end global poverty and reach the ultimate goal of another world with sustainable development.

Leen Abdallah


Source: Huffington Post
Photo: Climate Stewards