CARE in the Pacific PARTNERSHIPS RESEARCH REPORT
Publication Date: 17/12/2021
Partnership is central to CARE International’s global vision where poverty has been overcome and all people live with dignity and security. CARE International’s partnerships in the Pacific are carried out through CARE Australia managed country offices in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Vanuatu, and through the CARE in the Pacific team (which sits under CARE Australia) which manage partnerships in countries where CARE Australia does not have a country office. This currently includes Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Tuvalu. CARE Australia is in the process of developing its Pacific strategy. Central to this process is understanding its approaches to partnership and supporting local leadership with its partners in Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Tuvalu. CARE in the Pacific commissioned this Partnerships Research to document its partnership approach and reflect key contributions and gaps to advancing localisation for its partners in the Pacific. The research was conducted during September and November 2021 and involved CARE in the Pacific and 12 partners in Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Tuvalu.
What this research report does
⮚ Documents CARE in the Pacific’s partnership approach and the key features of the partnership that are supporting locally led outcomes
⮚ Employs a qualitative approach drawing on the voice of partners through feedback captured during interviews, and secondary documentation related to CARE’s partnership and localisation practice, and current sector discourse on localisation to demonstrate how CARE in the Pacific is supporting localisation, and approaches hindering locally led outcomes
⮚ Identifies actions and approaches for CARE in the Pacific for charting a more strategic course for partnership and localisation by building on existing positive practices and considering areas for improving partnership practice to better support localisation
⮚ CARE’s partnership can be characterised by long-term and short-term partnerships. The long-term partnership is guided by a high-level partnership agreement with sub-agreements developed for project or program specific engagement. Capacity strengthening is focused on supporting organisation-wide learning and growth. The short-term partnership usually begins with CARE either securing or identifying a funding opportunity. Based on consultation and shared objectives, agreement is sought to work together and co-design proposals/projects. A sub agreement guides the engagement. Capacity strengthening (informed by due diligence assessments) is largely focused on ensuring partners can meet CARE’s program quality, administrative and financial requirements, including donor compliance requirements.
⮚ Both long-term and short-term partnerships are contributing to positive change, in advancing CARE’s strategic objective of achieving greater impact through partnerships, and for partners, helping to achieve positive change at organisational and community levels. Having both short-term and long-term partnerships allow for flexibility in the partnership and as partnering is also influenced by the amount of funding CARE has available to support partners. A long-term partnering approach would better position CARE to achieve its broader partnership goals for transformed partnerships in the Pacific for reduced poverty and inequality. A key consideration is for CARE to articulate how it will support partners who want to transition to long-term partnerships, the strategy to engage long-term partnerships and with which organisations it will establish such partnerships.
⮚ CARE’s approach is grounded in supporting partners to achieve their mandate and objectives, working within partners priorities, and partners strengths. Partners perceive CARE is taking a partner led approach that is based on shared values and complementary vision, and a strong commitment to partnership. This approach together with the provision of quality technical support in gender, disaster, and humanitarian programming is helping establish CARE as a partner of choice. This is noted by partners as a core strength of CARE’s partnership approach and an area that CARE should continue to build on.
⮚ CARE has strong foundational policies, processes, and principles in place for partnership, but these are not being consistently applied outside of project implementation. CARE has strong processes and principles in place for partnering but these are not being fully maximised, with the focus more on assessing project delivery and results and not partnership outcomes. This approach to partnerships is potentially hindering achievement of more meaningful partnership outcomes, including more effective programming. There is a desire from partners to have more conversations and participate in processes that are focused on assessing the partnership.
⮚ CARE is directly investing in partnerships in several ways: recruitment of dedicated staff and consultants to the CARE in the Pacific team including a Partnerships Coordinator, Gender, and Inclusion Senior Advisor (Fiji), Program Quality Coordinator, Finance & Grants Coordinator and Project Coordinators. CARE is also demonstrating ongoing financial investment in partners by mobilising consecutive funding with the majority of its partners. It will be important for CARE to consider and plan for future resourcing that may be needed to support a long-term partnering approach, acknowledging that CARE largely operates on project specific funding which directly influences the parameters of support CARE is able to provide to partners as this support has to fit within project budgets.