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close this bookNGO Guidelines for Good Policy and Practice (Commonwealth Foundation)
close this folderPart I: NGOs: what they are and what they do
close this folder9. The international dimension
View the document(introduction...)
View the document9.1 Forms of international linkage
View the document9.2 Funding links
View the document9.3 Operational links
View the document9.4 Partnerships

9.4 Partnerships

Partnership describes a relationship in which the parties involved acknowledge each other as equals. In consequence they have mutual respect for each other. Partnership means working together to find solutions and achieve goals. It also assumes a willingness to learn from each other, for while equal, the parties may have different but complementary skills, experiences. It means sharing power and pooling resources.

While comparable terms such as project partner, counterpart organisation or partnership are often used to describe relationships between North NGOs and funders and South NGOs, these words often tend to be hollow. In addition, North-South relationships usually involve only NGOs and funders in the North which have international operational or funding interests. Many local and national NGOs in the North are parochial in their outlook, and regard links with the South as the preserve of the international bodies, and as irrelevant to their needs.

It is encouraging to note, however, that this is changing. This is in large measure due to the impact of pressure from southern NGOs and international NGO networks, including the growth of international associations in which both northern and southern members participate as equals.