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Process of Partnership Building – part 2

So far, I showed the process of partner exploration and formation. The next series of slides shows more about its operation and strengthening. Partnership, or alliance faces many challenges during operation period. I have already explained some of common challenges as barriers in introduction section. Now, this slide shows more details about the challenges. There are so many, but as you can see, most of them are about human factors. Human factors are always big challenge for partnership operation. Here, I’d like to show again slides about the SWAN project in Vietnam. As I explained before, the staff members of ILSI-Japan  are water engineers. And using money from JICA, they improved the infrastructure of water treatment facility, what we call it WTF.
It was very successful and drinking water became safe and clean by this work. And they are not only the specialists of improving infrastructure, they are also specialists of water management. They had very rich experience in many parts of the world to improve water management. They created training manual, they gave training to the member of the local water management union members, water management union, or we called it WMU sometimes, but this work did not go well. The members of water management union was so proud of their local management style and they did not want to listen to the Japanese specialists. They didn’t like the Japanese management style, so we wondered what to do with this situation.
So we had no answer to improve the management, but at the same time, while the water engineer teams  improved the infrastructure and gave training, we University of Tokyo team conducted  a lot of communication program.   First, we thought the poem club was only  the assets of the villages, later, we found mothers, children were also assets. For mothers, we gave a lot of awareness raising programs, using some demonstrations to  check the water with simple chemicals. We went to the school and gave children the chance to draw paintings about safe water and nutrition. And the poem clubs also worked very nicely. Mothers raised their awareness and the poem club members made more than 50 poems about the importance of safe water and nutrition.
Then some of them made songs using these poems and they sang songs in karaoke and in other places in the village. It was amazing and they became real assets for awareness raising of safe water and nutrition improvement. Let’s look at mother’s progress, before this communication program started, as you can see from this table, about 80% of mothers said  water quality can be judged by its outlook. If you think the water looks clean the water is safe. That’s their way of judging the quality of water. And only 5% said laboratory test is necessary. However, after two years, this 80% reduced to 40% and more and more people started to think laboratory test is really important.
This is a big change in two years.  More surprising thing is that these mothers, children and poem club members found the performance of the water management union members are not good,  and they tried to improve them. They asked the members to improve their management style. They did not listen to us, they did not listen to Japanese engineers, but they listened to the voice of mothers and poem club members. And I found some kind of local partnerships are built in here. And after this new partnership, the water management union members changed their management style. So the answer did not come from us, the answer came from them, inside. So it was not partnership between Japan and Vietnam, it was partnership between villages themselves.
I’ll repeat this again and again, and we may call it as a bottom-up supervision, not top-down supervision. And this might be very very useful for many community development project. This is a sustainable way to make a project more successful for long years.

Continuing on explaining the progress of the partnership, Dr. Jimba will explain Stage 3 – Operation and Strengthening. We will see slides about the SWAN project in Vietnam again.

There are 5 steps while building partnerships in stage 3.

  • Step 6- Facilitating and Assessing Effective Alliance Meetings
  • Step 7- Assessing the Health of Your Alliance: How Are You Doing?
  • Step 8- Alliance Member Competencies—Leaders and Staff
  • Step 9- Diagnosing Alliance Challenges and Finding Effective Remedies
  • Step 10- Building Consensus

Partnership or alliance faces many challenges during the operation period. Dr. Jimba talks about his experience on the SWAN project in water management project. Surprisingly, he has found women and children in the village and also important assets while conducting the community development project.

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