2020 lessons on partnerships – and wishes for 2021

The year 2020 has taught us some valuable lessons about partnerships. And left a lot to wish for.

Partners for Impact (PFI) was founded in July 2020, in the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic. The impetus to found this new initiative was a strong belief that all successes in international development have been through work in partnership.

The discovery of several Covid-19 vaccines in just a few months time is a prime example of how partnerships can be formed quickly and work well, also under great duress. If there is demand, if incentives are aligned, and if there is a willingness to work together, great innovations can be achieved.

However, as our founding blog outlined, and Covid-19 has exemplified, many organisations in international development remain uncomfortable working in partnership. There is a worrying and inefficient degree of “going it alone” in the sector, which undermines collective impact. Or organisations work in partnerships, but loose themselves in complexity, and loose sight of the impact they aimed to achieve.

Without well-functioning partnerships, and a razor-sharp focus on impact, there is a real risk that life-saving innovations such as vaccines will not reach the people who need them.

2021 will be another litmus test for the international development sector. Is there sufficient willingness to work together – and sufficient willingness to finance this collaboration – to roll out a Covid-19 vaccine globally? Will partnerships place impact front and center of their efforts?

We at Partners for Impact hope that our blogs and interviews and further resources have been helpful for your work. We wish you a healthy, balanced 2021.

Published by Katri Bertram

Katri works in international development, and is a mom of four children. She is driven in her work to ensure that all people can receive quality healthcare, gender equality becomes a reality, and organisations working in these areas leverage the power of partnerships for impact. 
Katri has worked at the World Bank, where she headed External Relations for the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF), and Save the Children, a non-governmental organisation that works in 120 countries, where she headed global advocacy, policy and campaigning.
 Katri lives in Berlin/Germany, and is Finnish by nationality. She is a graduate from the London School of Economics (Master in International Relations), the Hertie School (Master in Public Policy), and the University of York (Bachelor in Economics and Politics). 
Also follow Katri on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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