How do our partners feel about working with INASP?

Jon Harle reflects on findings from a recent survey of INASP’s partners.

Partnership matters to INASP. Firstly, because it is the right way to work, and is driven by our values. Secondly, because it is the most effective way of achieving real and lasting change.

But while partnerships can be powerful, they are rarely easy. They require commitment, hard work, the preparedness to learn, and a willingness to challenge each other.

Partnerships become more challenging in an environment where much of the work we do is not simply through a project with a defined start and end date, but through contract-based funding. These often combine a focus on results with compliance with quite detailed terms and conditions and can restrict the flexibility of both INASP and our partners to respond to challenges we encounter.

To understand how well INASP is doing as a partner we surveyed all current project partners in March 2020. The full results of the survey are available here.

19/20 respondents agreed that INASP’s values were clearly embedded within our work.

Over 75% of respondents rated INASP’s support as good or very good in all areas.

All respondents rated INASP’s support in capacity development as very good or good.

Our strategy commits us to support a global coalition of organisations and individuals seeking to achieve a more equitable knowledge ecosystem. Strong partnerships are vital to this, and we need to be more collaborative and more responsive to the needs of our partners. While these results were gathered pre-COVID-19, the pandemic has further highlighted the importance and strength of our partnerships, and the responsibility INASP bears in living up to its partnership ambitions.

We have reviewed the results of the survey within the team and are reflecting further on what we can do to improve the way we work with our partners. Inherent within partnerships (of all kinds) are difficult questions and issues of power and privilege and these concerns are at the front of our mind as we look closely at how to be better partners.

We are working to ensure that our values and partnership principles are embedded in our approach to programme management and delivery, and we will shortly be publishing a document outlining our approach to partnership, setting out our commitments and aspirations as a partner.

In 2019 we established an informal advisory group to help guide the development of our new strategy, and we now intend to make this a permanent structure, to continue to guide us as we implement our new strategy.

We also intend to run this survey again later in 2020, to understand if anything has changed, as part of a continue dialogue with partners.

Thank you to all those who took the time to respond, and to help us learn how we are doing, and how we can do better.

We continue to welcome feedback on our partnership approaches. Please do write or talk to any member of the INASP team, or to Jon Harle, Director of Programmes: jharle@inasp.info.

Jonathan Harle
Jonathan Harle is Director of Programmes at INASP.

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