With nearly 170 participants registered, 21 countries represented, countless organizations and specialties and the loud buzz of excited conversation, the first ever Unclogging the Blockages in Sanitation workshop in Kampala got off to a great start. Day 1′s goal was to Understand the Blockages: an entire day dedicated to informing participants of the challenges faced within the sanitation sector.
By Lorea Russell – This originally appears on the Tomorrow Global blog.
David McGuire, President and CEO of The QED Group LLC, wrote a piece on Devex Impact last week about how the private sector was a critical but misused partner in development. Mr. McGuire talks about the “give us your money and we’ll do good things” attitude that a lot of NGOs have. Guilty as charged.
For a long time I saw PPPs as a way of getting a company to put in some money to kick in the USAID contribution, and not as a real partner. As I’ve started to work in the social enterprise sector, I’ve had to re-think and re-frame how I feel about business models being used to further development goals. That led to a rethink of my previous interactions with the private sector.
I have mixed feelings – I’m kicking myself for all the missed opportunities to engage the private sector in a meaningful way. I would never treat a donor or another partner like a check, so why would I treat a private sector partner that way? Mostly because I just assumed they didn’t actually “care” about the communities the way I did. I thought they just wanted to throw money at the problem so I could fix it and they could say they were making a difference. In retrospect, these partnerships might have produced a lot more if I’d taken a different approach to communicating with partners – language, process, and definitions of success can make or break successful partnerships between the private sector and NGO partners.
We have featured posts and information regarding the importance of private-public partnerships (PPPs) for global health. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is hosting a special series that examines ways that PPPs can impact agriculture. The core issue is malnutrition and PPPs play a vital role in reducing the burden. “Smart public-private partnerships that draw on the added value of government, business and civil society will ensure that we can reduce hunger and improve nutrition in sustainable, people-centered ways that ultimately improve lives and save them,” writes InterAction CEO Sam Worthington.
Edesia founder and Executive Director, Navyn Salem, wrote last week about how her nonprofit is partnering with the Haitian government, the United States, Nutriset and others to establish a pilot program for the distribution of a new fortified peanut paste for schoolchildren.