Partnership development and management

From KM4Dev Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search


Partnership development and management


This conversation started on 27 October with Ewen Le Borgne asking what are the best references (literature, frameworks, perspectives) to understand and achieve successful partnerships, to manage and develop them well.


Partnership, management, partnership development, trust, framework.

Detailed Description

Various resources were shared. Quite a few related to the [Partnering Initiative |]. Various resources talked about what partnerships are, what 'partnering' is, and offered some tools and toolboxes, again especially the [1]. Jurgen Hagmann mentiond that with partnerships "there is no blueprint, just good processes of engagement which need to be tailored to the context." Audrey Lejeune mentioned how the 'Partnering for impact' series from OXFAM came together, based on the internal experiences of OXFAM staff and the need to beef up partnering skills. Boris Jaeger closed the series of suggestions with a book available in English, French, Spanish, German.


  • Simone Staiger
  • Carl Jackson
  • John Gray
  • Saskia Harmsen
  • Jurgen Hagmann
  • Audrey Lejeune
  • Patrick Lambe
  • Lotta Adelstal
  • Boris Jaeger

Examples in Application

N/A as this was a query about literature resources.

Related FAQs

Further Information

These are the great resources shared by the participants.

Original Author and Subsequent Contributors of this FAQ

  • Ewen Le Borgne

Dates of First Creation and Further Revisions

  • 27 October 2017

FAQ KM4Dev Source Materials

[Raw text of email discussions on which the FAQ is based] From: Ewen Le Borgne <> Date: 26 October 2017 at 16:38 Subject: Partnership development and frameworks etc.

Hello wise crowdsourced brain gang,

I have a question (and request for help) for all of you:

So much has been written about 'partnerships' and 'partnership development' and 'partnership management' etc. but what have you found to be the absolute best references (articles, thought pieces, books), frameworks, perspectives on understanding and achieving successful partnerships?

I am particularly interested in references that relate (at least among others) to academic institutions, but whatever 'cream of the crop' resource you might have is surely interesting enough to check.

I promise to summarise this thread - if a thread follows - on the KM4Dev wiki. Just to give a bit more background about it, I am currently sifting through many publications just around the corner of my organisation (ILRI) to help one large program provide better guidance for all staff (and indeed partners) involved to do a better job at partnering.

I know that from my past life in the WASH sector there were a couple of seminal publications on partnership development by BPD Water & Sanitation, but what are your best references?

I look forward to hearing from you, Over to you gang :)

--- From: Simone Staiger-Rivas <> Date: 26 October 2017 at 21:16 Subject: [km4dev-l] Partnership development and frameworks etc. To: KM4Dev <>

Hi Ewen,

I loved the literature review “Perspectives on partnerships” A summary is available here: but the full document is a worthwhile read.

Un abrazo, Simone


From: Carl Jackson <> Date: 27 October 2017 at 11:06

Hi Ewen,

On partnerships I liked the Partnering Toolbook:

Lots of other resources on their site

Also this literature review:

Warm regards,



From: John Gray <> Date: 27 October 2017 at 12:02

This includes a useful framework for collaboratively evaluating the strength of an existing partnership And a link to the WWF toolbox itself

With best wishes,



From: Saskia Harmsen <> Date: 27 October 2017 at 13:19

Hi Ewen,

Re. 'to do a better job at partnering', I have found participating in the Partnership Brokering Level 1 training incredibly useful, specially because it looks at the 'going' of scoping/brokering/managing/evaluating/exiting or renewing partnerships. The What of 'partnering' if you will, rather than the What of 'partnerships'.

For more info here:

warmly, saskia


From: Jurgen Hagmann <> Date: 27 October 2017 at 13:22

Hi Ewen,

I a sure you have seen the partnership guide we have developed 10 years ago as ILRIs partnership strategy. I am still getting requests for this and i know in the Wheat CRP they used it extensively as they found it very practical.

I have worked to develop partnerships in a number of CGIAR and other initiatives and i found that there is no blurprint, just good processes of engagement which need to be tailored to the context.

If you want we can have a coffee some time. I am out till end of next week, then back in Nairobi.




From: Audrey Lejeune <> Date: 27 October 2017 at 13:23

hello Ewen!

amazing - I love questions about partnerships!

I'm gonna be promoting my own work though... two years ago I developed a new project with Oxfam GB to improve how we work with partners. Oxfam GB has loads of framework, guidelines and policies regarding partnerships, but still was perceived as not a great partner to work with, we got quite a lot of good feedback, but we were criticised for holding on to information and knowledge, and sometimes not being inclusive enough. To support Oxfam staff and partners - from the UN to local women's groups - we realised we had to make a change. So I piloted a project - one of the workstreams was to improve the quality and effectiveness of the 'partnerships guidance' available. We brought together 11 colleagues whose daily jobs involved working with partners, and published learning papers, where they shared their own experiences and the learning they got out of it. The idea was to bring life to the dry guidelines and policies - so that staff could learn directly from other staff - on how to develop and manage partnerships.

What came out is the Partnering for Impact series, ten pieces of writing about everything from working in consortia, to setting up a network of partners, to building local leadership in emergencies, and building a win-win partnership approach. This series, written by and for development practitioners, is an exciting step along the path to achieving more effective change through partnership.

The Partnering for Impact series was published in June 2016 and received really good feedback. I invite you to have a look on Oxfam's website: Partnering for Impact series - blog post

Do aid organisations need marriage guidance? Five lessons for better partnerships, on Duncan Green's bog, From Poverty to Power. ---- also a blog I co-wrote, do read the comments, some interesting stuff!

I hope this helps, please don't hesitate if you have further questions or any comments!




From: Patrick Lambe <> Date: 27 October 2017 at 15:01

In case this hasn’t been mentioned yet, I have found this resource very helpful


Patrick Lambe

--- From: Ewen Le Borgne <> Date: 29 October 2017 at 18:06

Dear Simone, Carl and all,

Many thanks for sending so many useful resources already!

And Jurgen, of course I'm not looking for a silver bullet or blue print on partnerships, I'm trying to collect some curated information that my colleagues can also read and find useful for their own partnership development practice.

The CIP literature review is really useful in that sense as it's related to the context I'm operating in, but all the Partner Initiative resources are great too - and I'm yet to go through your own work Audrey.

Many many thanks to you all for this priceless advice! Are there any other obvious resources or references missing yet?



--- From: Lotta Adelstal <> Date: 30 October 2017 at 10:45

Dear Ewen and others! Partnerships - fantastic resources. And Saskia, thanks for sharing the training tips. I see they are even planning to have an event in my hometown Bangkok so might join. Will connect with you.

The 'creme de la creme' has already been mentioned but here are a few others that might have useful elements:

The brokering guidebook I think is the same author as the partnering toolbook so might overlap. Then there is the talking the walk on communication in partnerships, and lastly on agreements in partnerships, which might be useful.

Lovely to have so many of you in the same thread that I met in Addis in the event you organised Ewen! Warmest, Lotta


From: Boris Jaeger <> Date: 30 October 2017 at 10:46

Dear Ewen,

I would suggest the book of Reinhard Mohn (Bertelsmann and Bertelsmann-Stiftung, resp., on partnership he has written in 1986

Success through Partnership: An Entrepreneurial Strategy Doubleday Books, New York

Le Partenariat Clé Du Succès: Une stratégie de l´entreprise au service de l´homme. Editions de Fallois, Paris

Al Éxito Por La Cooperación: Un enfoque humano de la strategia empresarial Plaza & Janes Editores, S.A., Barcelona

Erfolg durch Partnerschaft Eine Unternehmensstrategie für Menschen Siedler Verlag, Berlin

Happy reading! Boris - "Curiosity is the beginning of all learning!"