Taking the survey is the first step – it is what happens next that counts

Oxfam HaitiOxfam is serious about partnerships and so joined 76 other international non-governmental organisations in taking Keystone’s Partnership survey, which solicits views from partners.

“The results were not particularly shocking to those of us working in programs although we hadn’t expected we would do so poorly,” said Makarand Sahasrabuddhe Program Quality Lead for Oxfam International.

“The data was a gift. It came from over 800 partners. It pointed clearly to the fact that they did not think we engaged well with them. Having data, rather than anecdotes, helped everyone in Oxfam acknowledge that we needed to do better.”- Makarand Sahasrabuddhe, Program Quality Lead for Oxfam International

The survey has prompted some hard thinking and a swathe of actions designed to improve how Oxfam develops and maintains partnerships.

Oxfam developed a management response to the report and then shared this along with the report with partners. Country offices were asked to organise meetings with partners rather than just mailing the report to them. It was expected that in these workshops, Oxfam would dive deeper in understanding partners’ perceptions and jointly work out actions that Oxfam and partners could take that would lead to better engagement.

HaitiIn some countries the report lead to a thorough review of partnerships. Some of these reviews were done internally, and others by external consultants.

The senior leadership has acknowledged that Oxfam need to regularly monitor the health of our relationship with partners. And future country visits will include visits to partners.

“We have been wanting to ask ourselves hard questions about our engagement with partners and I think the survey was very useful for kicking this process off.” – Makarand Sahasrabuddhe, Program Quality Lead for Oxfam International

In terms of program quality, guidelines are being revised to ensure that partners have a greater role in program design and review. In addition, all partners now have access to resources on Oxfam’s Policy and Practice website.

“Oxfam’s senior leadership are convinced we need to do much, much better and Keystone should take credit for triggering this process.”- Makarand Sahasrabuddhe, Program Quality Lead for Oxfam International

Oxfam will be carrying out a light touch survey in early 2017 to check whether these actions have improved partnerships.

For more information on Keystone Accountability’s Partnership survey please contact Kai@KeystoneAccountability.org.

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