In November of last year (2014), the Irish Forum for Global Health held its biannual International Global Health Conference. As part of the conference ESTHER Ireland ran a session titled the Partnership Panorama. The aim of this session was to give a snapshot of the ESTHER Ireland Partnerships as well as recipients of the Start-Up Grant. The panellists were asked to give their experiences of institutional partnerships including the benefits and challenges of these partnerships.
Recordings of each session were made during the conference including the Partnership Panorama. These recordings are being used by ESTHER Ireland to further improve its current partnerships as well as in its prospective partnerships. It is anticipated that the lessons learned from the session about institutional partnerships involving Irish institutions will be applicable to future partnerships as well as partnerships in the other member countries of the ESTHER European Alliance.
Vicki Doyle, Capacity Development
Dr. David Weakliam, ESTHER Ireland
The main points that were outlined in the session were;
- Institutional partnerships have a huge potential to benefit the institutions and staff involved as well as the wider communities they serve.
- The type of intervention is unlimited, it all depends on the needs of the partnership.
- Capacity building is a common component in these types of partnerships.
- Institutional partnerships are well placed to act in a mid-level community based approach.
- Reciprocity is central to these partnerships however the benefits for Northern partners may be more subtle than those for Southern Partners.
- Such partnerships must be institutional and well integrated to ensure continuity and longevity of the partnership.
The features of a successful partnership:
- Reciprocity – must be clearly identified as early as possible and continually updated.
- Communication – must be clear, constant and equal between partners.
- Relationship – the partnership must be a true relationship with trust and equal power for each partner.
- Goal Setting – goals must set in partnership and decisions made together.
- Ethical – the partnership must be ethical for everyone involved.
There were several Citizen Journalists who attended the conference and there are several interesting pieces written about the conference through the Global Health Writes initiative. Of particular interest, is a piece written by one of the Citizen Journalists, Jessica O’ Dowd, about the Partnership Panorama. This article can be read here on the IFGH Website.