Partner Microsite: ActionAid
ActionAid: A Partnership Approach
Working in partnership is one of the core principles of ActionAid’s approach. We recognise that we are part of a wider movement against poverty and that we can only achieve our goals by working collaboratively – locally, nationally and globally – with people in poverty, our supporters, partners and colleagues. By working with others, we can achieve more, building a formidable movement for positive and sustainable change for people living in poverty.
How we partner with others
Our strategy, People’s Action to End Poverty, outlines ActionAid’s commitment to working for long-lasting solutions and advancing credible alternatives to transform the lives of people living in poverty. ActionAid works in partnership with others for greater synergy and impact. The partnerships we seek to build are those that most effectively address the root causes of poverty, vulnerability and injustice, and that help to strengthen people as empowered agents of their own development through a human rights-based approach. We harness the strengths, knowledge, resources and influence of an ever-growing range of partners in addressing the challenges of today for sustainable impact. Our partnerships are based on the key principles of mutual respect, complementarity, accountability, shared values and respect for the autonomy of our partners.
Who we partner with
ActionAid works in a diverse range of countries and contexts and our partners are equally diverse. They include local community-based organisations and NGOs; other international NGOs; social movements; networks; academic institutions; government; and the private sector. The breadth of partners we work with reflects the complexity and richness of our work today across geographies, functions and levels (from local to international). It also reflects a broad spectrum of partnerships, within the range of collaboration, cooperation, co-production, alliance and movement building.
Examples of how we work with different partners:
Working with local community-based partners
The majority of ActionAid’s partners are local, community-based organisations and social movements representing people living in poverty, with whom ActionAid builds long-term partnerships designed to bring about lasting, positive change. We work in partnership with more than 2,000 locally-based organisations around the world, and we’re involved in over 100 alliances and networks, supporting over 13 million of the world’s poorest and most disadvantaged people. Our partnerships with local organisations help to strengthen civil society and ensure that our work is rooted in communities and addresses their needs and priorities. Partnerships with social movements and people’s organisations that represent their members help to build greater legitimacy and pressure for change.
In Myanmar, for example, ActionAid works with local partners to identify and train young community members – called “Change Makers” – to stimulate community-led development projects in their own villages and work with local authorities to ensure sustainable development. At the same time, we strengthen the capacity of our partners and, in many cases, have supported “Change Makers” to set up their own community-based organisations and local NGOs through which they carry on their work in the community.
Working with Government
ActionAid recognises that for our work to be sustainable and to bring about the best possible outcomes for people living in poverty, we need to engage constructively with government, at different levels. Our work aims to ensure that poor people get their voices heard, have their say in the decisions that affect them and can to hold their governments to account for delivering quality, responsive public services, such as education and health care, or social protection schemes. In 2012 we worked with over 225 local and national governments around the world.
We work with government to influence their thinking, promote innovation, share information, help the government to strengthen its delivery capacity and enhance accountability to communities. For example, we often support agricultural extension services or work to get farmer-to-farmer networks recognised as part of the government framework, and thereby secure increased budgetary support. In this, and all contexts, we work to ensure that we do not “replace” government in delivering services, but support this process.
The human-rights based approach defines our work. There are three axes to this: empowerment, solidarity and campaigning. We believe that an end to poverty and injustice can be achieved through purposeful individual and collective action, led by the active agency of people living in poverty and supported by credible rights-based alternatives and campaigns that address the structural causes and consequences of poverty.
Bangladesh: Working with government
In Bangladesh, ActionAid has been working with the Fire Service and Civil Defense (FSCD) Department since 2009 on an initiative designed to train more than 62,000 local volunteers to serve as first and frontline responders during emergencies, so that the community themselves can manage the initial shock of an emergency when it strikes.
With support from the European Union, ActionAid is working in collaboration with the Fire Service and Civil Defense Department and our local partner – Population Service and Training Center (PSTC) – to support this initiative. To date, ActionAid Bangladesh has helped the government to train 1,850 volunteers enrolled in this programme. Since their training volunteers have successfully taken part in search and rescue efforts responding to different incidents, including the Nimtoli Fire Incident in 2010 and the 2013 Rana Plaza Collapse.
Working with the Private Sector
ActionAid recognises the important role that the private sector plays in the countries where we work, and its crucial and increasing impact, both positive and negative, on people living in poverty. A thriving private sector is one of the engines of economic growth and has the potential to support positive social development – creating decent jobs and generating tax revenues for public services, providing much-needed goods and services and enabling poor communities to access markets and livelihood opportunities.
It can also bring new technologies, resources and innovations to help tackle social and environmental issues. As such, the private sector can be a powerful ally in working for sustainable development. On the other hand, it can create obstacles and block progress for poor communities, limiting their access to and control over productive resources; creating environmental damage; propagating unfair labour practices; and avoiding paying a fair share of tax which could be used to finance public services.
Vietnam: Working With Microsoft
In Vietnam, ActionAid is working in partnership with Microsoft to improve disaster preparedness and response for vulnerable communities in the Mekong Delta. Through project funding, mobile technology and technical support from Microsoft, the project is equipping 16 communities in Soc Trang province and local government with more accurate data and information so they can better plan for and respond effectively in the event of a disaster.
ActionAid develops partnerships with progressive companies that are committed to responsible business practices and working for sustainable and equitable growth. We seek constructive and strategic engagement, working with companies, where possible, to leverage their resources and expertise, and to influence and promote positive behavior and practices that empower and improve the lives of poor communities, but at the same time, challenging negative behaviour when necessary for the benefit of people living in poverty.
In Bangladesh, the international engineering firm Ramboll’s expertise and funds helped us to redesign and build disaster resistant housing for vulnerable communities. This project was highly commended in two categories at the British International Expertise Awards 2014.
Reports and publications:
Putting women at the centre of the post 2015 economic transformation agenda.
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ActionAid Annual Report 2013.
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ActionAid Annual Report 2012.
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