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Process of Partnership Building – Part 1

After the introduction part, I’d like to talk about the process of partnership building, and its implementation based on my experience in Vietnam. This slide shows the process of partnership building. It consists of three stages, starting from exploration, then formation, and finally operation and strengthening. By this we can create strengthen assess and manage our partnership. The detailed explanation is written in the text of gormley, and I do not go into the details for this time. The first part is stage 1 and 2 exploration and formation. Usually we do not find our partners from zero point. We find partners asking relevant information from our friends, or using our existing human networks. However when we need to explore partners from point zero.
This partnership residence model is useful even among known partners. We may recheck these points to make sure our decision is right. The check elements are goodness of fit, capacity, and operations. Goodness of fit means the comparability and suitability of the partners. Capacity means the ability and capability of the partners. Operations mean the operating structures and processes associated with partnership. There are many ways to check these items, but I want to highlight three points for these two stages. The first one is identifying promising partners motivation willingness culture and others.
A key criteria for the identification, if a potential pattern is totally new you may also have to check your potential pattern, as background maybe through your friends, or you may need to check some references. For this, it is important to have good human relations with different specialists since when you are very young, such human relation building during young period will be an asset for your future partnership building in your work. The next point is startup meeting. How to start it is a challenge, and I will show you an interesting case which I experienced in Vietnam later. The last one is community strategy. It is not always easy.
When I was working in Nepal, I had a project to build a school in a rural village. When I met with community representatives in the village, everything looked good. The negotiations went well and I thought the school would be built soon. The fund came from Japan and resources were sufficient, however it didn’t go well. Two ethnic groups were there and we talked with only politically strong groups at that time. And I didn’t know the weak groups were also living in there, and only the strong group attended our decision-making meeting, and after we left they ordered the weak part to work to build the school.
However as they were not too involved in the decision-making process, they were hesitant they were not motivated. They didn’t work well the construction process was very slow, and a rainy season came, and a half constructed building was destroyed by a heavy storm. So from this experience I found targeting many groups, all the groups in decision making process is really, really important. The appropriate communicate communication strategy is crucial. So now let me show you a series of slides about exploration, and formation of a partnership project. It is about safe water and nutrition project in Vietnam. It is called the project SWAN, and the case is published in a book called global health leadership.
This project was initiated by a Japanese NGO called ILSI-Japan. In Vietnam, in those days or in early 2000s, the quantity of water was managed by the ministry of agriculture and rural development. So they are in charge of creating infrastructure for safe drinking water. However the water quality was managed by the ministry of health. National institute of nutrition under the ministry of health was in charge of it. When ILSI-Japan explored partnership they decided to work with the ministry of health. Why? Because they knew officers in the ministry of health in the past work together with them in a different project.
So that was the main reason why they started to work with the ministry of health, not ministry of agriculture and the rural development. So in such a way sometimes partnership is decided and this may be true to other programs. So after identifying the ministry, ILSI-Japan thought they needed more partners from Japan. The staff members of the NGO are water engineers, who can improve the quality of a water treatment facility, and who can improve management of distributing water to the household, but they didn’t know much about health promotion or health education, so they wanted someone who could help them for these activities, and they approached us, my department in the university of Tokyo.
We talked a lot about it, and we thought we could get benefit together, and I decided to work with them, then we made a proposal for JICA asking it to help us to fund the project. It took more than one year almost two years, but finally we got money from them and we identified three communities, and after identifying the communities, Vietnamese partners in the national institute of nutrition helped us to organize a startup meeting, that I already mentioned before. So startup meeting is very very important. When we first approached, one village, the village leaders told us only bad things about the village. They expected JICA to give money, JICA would give some support for them.
So they wanted to show what are missing, what they want. Then I took a different approach, based on assets map approach, I asked them, “Do you have anything you are proud of in your village?” “Do you have any active organizations in this village?” By these questions I wanted to identify assets, what we can use from this village as resources, and after thinking and thinking the leaders said, we have active poem club. In the poem club retired older people get together and make poems once a month. They do it regularly and they’re very active. That’s all, they didn’t tell us any more assets, and I wonder what to do with this poem club.
They’re making poems and our project is safe water and nutrition. How poem clubs can help us to improve the operation of our project? I had no idea, but later they will prove themselves as an asset. So for formation the pran swamp project used the funding from JICA. We got funding twice. In the first phase we developed a model in three villages. Then in the second phase, we built up local capability particularly for health promotion activities. We expected village workers or local health workers can contribute a lot. Finally in the third phase, we urged local leadership become much much stronger, and we expected the local paranas will be made by working together with the private sectors.
This slide shows how partners have been changed or improved. In the beginning the partners were INSI-Japan, the university of Tokyo, JICA, and Vietnamese ministry of health local government, and communities villages. Then in the second phase, ministry of agriculture and the rural development started to join us. This is a very good news for us, because they are doing some kind of monitoring activities. And at the last stage, only Vietnamese partners started to sustain this project, with the new partners from the local private sectors. As you can see it took nearly 10 years for this development.

Dr. Jimba will discuss the process of partnership building. You can see from the chart, there are 3 stages of partnership building. We will discuss stages 1 and 2 – Exploration and Formation first.

pic Then he will give 2 projects as examples. One is in Nepal. The other is Project SWAN in Vietnam. He will especially explain partnership in Project SWAN in detail. Please takes notes on the two projects. We will design our own strategy for a situation project in the later step.

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