Water Charity and Local Partners
Water Charity operates by forging partnerships with local organizations in the countries, cities, and communities in which we operate. Each situation we encounter is unique to the culture of the location and the needs of the people.
We respect the knowledge of the community in determining the hierarchy of needs, and the best solutions for their problems. Local participation assures that the projects have support, and will be maintained into the future, as the local groups have a stake in the outcome.
Our approach is to target projects, find local partners, establish quantifiable objectives, guide the projects to timely completion, and evaluate effectiveness of the processes and the outcomes.
We remain open and flexible in our approach, allowing us to move around obstacles and learn from our experiences. We tailor the approach to the circumstances surrounding the project at hand.
There are numerous benefits that accrue from local partnerships. The first is cost-effectiveness. The utilization of scarce project resources is multiplied by using local staff. Sending outside administration and labor from distant places to perform work on the ground is largely prohibitive.
Local partners can better understand the important economic and political issues that will impact on projects. Their knowledge of local customs, traditions, laws, and politics are essential for success.
Local partners, with their knowledge of the local resources and economy, can better navigate the planning and construction processes. It is often difficult for outside consultants to know about the availability of local products and labor necessary for the success of the project.
Using local partners gives us flexibility in staffing and scheduling. We can operate with a core staff, and multiply our capabilities with partnerships as the time comes and the need arises.
In summary, we have found that great benefit is obtained by seeking out and funding organizations to carry out or assist with projects. We have developed selection procedures that assure we will partner with local groups that are in the best position to implement the projects.
Our ability to partner with local groups not only assures the success of the immediate project, but it has long-lasting impact. It becomes more likely that the project will be maintained into the future. The skills learned by our local partners can be replicated, taught to other local groups, and expanded into other projects.
After a successful project with a partner, with our new experience gained in the locality, it often is logical to plan subsequent projects along the same model. Another job with the same partner becomes much easier, as compared with starting a new selection process from scratch.
The Selection Process
Thus, it is seen that the process to select local partners is crucial to the success of the project. Within the geographical area we have selected as meeting our criteria for need and feasibility, we establish a list of potential partners.
We review available information on candidate partners, and request further information from those in which we see a potential.
We then conduct an in-depth in-country analysis of potential relationships. We look at past and current projects of potential partners, and check references with government agencies, community groups, and individuals.
There are many factors that enter into the evaluation of partnership organizations. These include the nature of the organization, their past performance in similar projects, their technical capability, their financial condition, their ability to interact with other organizations and individuals, their ability to interact with the existing social and political structures, and their ongoing capability to provide support after project completion.
The approach of partnering with local groups is well established, and provides a multitude of benefits. It assures that our limited resources will move us as far and as fast as possible toward our established goals.