Giving Compass' Take:

• Sesso Christophe Gbeleou and Jennifer Schechter lay out four steps in the crucial process of developing working partnerships between governments and NGOs.

• Why are working relationships between governments and NGOs so critical during COVID-19? What can you do to foster partnerships between the private the public sectors to help support communities in need during the pandemic?

• Learn about the specific role of NGOs in working for marginalized communities.

This partnership, seamless in a time of crisis, was not always this strong. NGOs and governments are different. We have different goals, different mandates, and different constraints. NGOs can be nimble and flexible and can try things that governments can't afford to do, whether financially or politically. And while NGOs can take risks and fail, NGOs need governments to scale, especially in fields like health care and education. Governments set national policies and funding, which provide scale and sustainability. And governments can leverage the support of NGOs to innovate and enhance accountability.

How can NGOs learn to work effectively with governments? At Integrate Health, we have learned a few key lessons, often the hard way, over the past five years of working to build real partnership with government.

1. Center the voice of government.

Founding a genuine partnership requires putting government at the center from the earliest stages of designing a program or pilot.

2. Implement within existing government delivery and data systems.

If seeing is believing, then seeing a program work within the existing system is a prerequisite to scale with government.

3. Build relationships with government partners at all levels.

There are always risks associated with trying something new, but securing buy-in from multiple levels within a system or hierarchy can minimize those risks for individual actors.

4. Progressively transfer real ownership to government partners.

Given the risks associated with new or innovative ideas, it is understandable that government officials want to be convinced of the program’s feasibility and effectiveness before they are willing to take the reins. But ownership is absolutely critical to long-term success and sustainability. Effective government ownership ensures that a program will continue once the NGO is no longer leading implementation.

Read the full article about mutual relationships between governments and NGOs by Sesso Christophe Gbeleou and Jennifer Schechter at Stanford Social Innovation Review.