What local groups bring to the partnership table

    Local organizations aren’t always aware enough of what they can bring to the partnership table, said Mike Mutungi, CEOof I Choose Life Africa, at the 2013 Devex Partnerships Forum in Nairobi, Kenya.

    But after conversations with international organization leaders, Muntungi feels he has a better handle on what they’re looking for in a successful partnership.

    “We understand the context better than anyone else, we can provide the human capacity,” noted Mutungi. “We can bring that into the conversation moving forward.”

    International organizations shouldn’t feel that they hold all the power in vetting local organizations, Mutungi said. He encouraged everyone to turn the tables and ask: What do international organizations have to offer local groups? The selection of partners is a two-way street, and prospective partners must vet each other and ensure everyone benefits from collaborating.

    Mutungi said I Choose Life looks at chemistry and trust as two key factors of whether they can work together successfully with an international organizatzion.

    “We may not have the historical competencies, but we are credible, we can be trusted and if we are given responsibility, we are able to deliver,” he said.

    But Mutungi called for a review of architecture of aid — including compensation competition and project overhead discrepancies — to allow local groups to grow.

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    About the author

    • Kelli Rogers

      Kelli Rogers is an Associate Editor for Devex. Based on the U.S. West Coast, she works with Devex's team of correspondents and editors around the world, with a particular focus on gender. She previously worked as Devex’s Southeast Asia correspondent based in Bangkok, covering disaster and crisis response, resilience, women’s rights, and climate change throughout the region. Prior to that, she reported on social and environmental issues from Nairobi, Kenya. Kelli holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, and has since reported from more than 20 countries.