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The concept of “partnership” as a mechanism for harnessing resources for effective engagement and delivery was introduced by SAVI at the onset of its programme in Lagos State. Relevant stakeholders (partners) were encourage to poll there resources namely, materials, expertise, reputation, relationships, and anything that could facilitate and secure things that were relevant to the partnership. This was by no means a one sided road as the members of the partnership also stood to gain from the platform created by SAVI. Today, the demand for public interest partnerships has increased dramatically in response to changing social problems, as well as changing ideas about how best to tackle them. Not just facts of life but powerful vehicles when managed well, partnerships are here to stay, and we need to learn their potential as well as their many pitfalls. Alliances and partnerships produce astonishing results—but only when information flows freely, people trust each other, and are loyal to each other and their mutual success. Operating from such a vibrant collaborative mind‐set that forgets about getting the bigger slice of the pie requires interdependence that does not come naturally to any organization.
Partnering processes are easier said than done and definitely difficult to undertake. The attendant issues of leadership struggle and followership all rear their ugly heads and may well scuttle the process before it even starts if not properly handled.
It requires a large dose of courage, patience, maturity and determination over time. It is rarely a ‘quick fix’ solution to a problem and can sometimes be dogged by frustrating and disappointing experiences – falling short of initial hopes and expectations. Unfortunately, much available guidance either celebrates more than it clarifies or focuses on just a small part of the landscape.