International Partnerships

African universities have many links with universities. Initially they tended to be based on colonial heritage but this is no longer the case. The partnerships have gradually expanded out from the colonial power that ruled the country to North America (Samoff and Carrol 2004), Japan, the Nordic Countries, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and, most recently, China and Cuba. While Cuba does not build the capacity of SSA universities (Cooper, Kennelly et al. 2006), its model of university education for health professionals may be relevant to and influencing SSA universities, given the extent of Cuban presence and Cuba’s experience of health profession education . More recently, Brazil has become engaged quite significantly in SSA, especially with Lusophone countries (GHSi 2012) and China’s provinces are partnering with countries in SSA – i.e. Chinese province to SSA country (Brautigam 2009). A review of the literature identified the following reasons for international partnerships with SSA universities: colonial history; geopolitical interests; social responsibility/altruism/global citizenship (Faculty of Medicine 2011); career advancement; research opportunities; creating market niches; and funding availability.

Milèn (Milèn 2001) notes that in the 1990’s the lack of “local ownership” and “genuine partnership” were seen as reasons for the failure of development cooperation and thus capacity development. Tools and guidelines for establishing, implementing and monitoring international academic partnerships have been established by numerous institutions and organizations, for example: the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (Afsana, Habte et al. 2009), Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED) / The Academy for Educational Development (IJsselmuiden, Duale et al. 2004), Swiss Commission for Research Partnership with Developing Countries – KFPE (IJsselmuiden, Duale et al. 2004), American Council on Education – ACE (Van de Water, Green et al. 2008); University College of London – UCL (UCL 2010); Karolinska Institute (Brytting, Ekblad et al. 2009). It is therefore perhaps surprising that the issue of genuine reciprocity in international partnerships with SSA universities is still a concern today. Hatton and Schroeder (2007) argue that “the funding context within which partnerships must exist” (my italics) forms a significant barrier to building genuine partnerships between northern and southern institutions. The funding context (funding is Northern controlled, project-based, insists on partnerships between Northern and Southern partners) creates barriers to equity, mutual benefits and sustainability. While the context, including the funding, within which a partnership operates will no doubt influence the partnership for all partners, Gross et al (1971) showed how a school that had a history of innovating failed with an innovation because of the implementation process used.
Together, Horton et al (2003), Casey (2008), and (Shivnan and Hill 2011) identify 11 factors for successful partnerships for capacity development that I will use in my Framework of Analysis.

a) Likely to be Most Revelant

Principles of Good Partnerships for Strengthening Public Health Education Capacity in Africa (2004) by COHRED.  This document outlines 7 Principles of Good Partnerships for Strengthening Public Health Education Capacity in Africa.  They are: 1. Be well defined and have a clear and manageable focus; 2. Good communication; 3.  Staff development and training of the African partner at the center of activities, and optimize the use of local resources, expertise and budgets to ensure sustainability; 4. Coordinate donor investments and direct funding to African institutions;  5. African institutions should prepare their own internal environments to engage external partnerships and use them strategically; 6. Monitor routinely and evaluate regularly using appropriate indicators, yet be flexible to take advantage of opportunities; 7. Support national and regional health strategies and seek to strengthen existing regional organizations and professional associations.

A Guide for Transboundary Research Partnerships – 11 Principles, 2nd Edition (2014) by Swiss Commission for Research Partnership with Developing Countries (KFPE).  An update to KFPE’s 1988 publication (see below), this guide presents 11 Principles partners in international research partnerships, especially North-South, may consider to guide their partnerships.  After presenting the princples, the guide then takes the guide’s user through 7 fundamental questions important to the ultimate success of partnering.  Note: the 1st Edition of this new guide is dated 2012, the 2nd Edition is dated 2012.

Partnership Assessment Toolkit (2009) by Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (CCGHR).  CCGHR’s Partnership Assessment Toolkit (PAT) is a useful guide for partners to use when examining important issues at various phases of a partnership.  Although a 25 page PDF, the core of CCGHR’s PAT is actually only 10 pages of questions divided into four distinct phases: Inception; Implementation; Dissemination; and, Good Endings and New Beginnings.

Global health toolkits: Guideline Development and Adaptation; Health and Training Needs AssessmentCurriculum Design; Developing and Subspecialty Training Programme; andService Review & Audit by The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists by (RCOG).  Five fairly detailed global health toolkits published by the RCOG to guide to assist individuals planning and implementing obstetrics and gynaecology projects in lower resource settings.  These guides are designed so that they can be be used as tools by other health professionals.

Where there is no lawyer: guidance for fairer contract negotiation in collaborative research partnerships (2013) by Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED).   An unusual, but potentially useful, document that covers a wide-range of issues work negotiating between research partners.  Organised into eight chapters: 1) fair research contracting; 2) strategies for negotiaton; 3) intellectual property rights; 4) ownership and sharing of data and samples; 5) capacity building and technology transfer; 6) compensation for indirect costs; 7) research contracts in (legislative) context; and, repository of policies & templates.

b) Secondary References

Promoting academic-practitioner partnerships in international development research (2012) by INTRACWorld Vision & University of Bradford.   A briefing document that may assist academics and NGO implementers to work together effectively.

Developing a timeline for exit strategies (2016) by Sarah Lewis, INTRAC.  Presennt issues to assist with ending a project or partnership effectively.

Approaches to Partnerships (2010) by BOND for International Development.  A research document by Anna Stobart of Hafton Consultancy that examines partnering best practices of UK NGOs involved in international development.

Ladder of Citizen Participation (1969) by Sherry R Arnstein.   Although almost fifty years old, a useful reference tool to remind individuals involved in partnerships on the various steps of the ladder towards “citizen power”.  The first step is “manipulation”.  The last step is “citizen control”.  The eight steps are divided into three groups with the top group being “citizen power”. That “partnership” is in the top group accounts for many authors speaks of “true” or “genuine” partnership.

The Partnerering Toolbook: An essential guide to cross-sector partnering (2011) by The Partnering Initiative,  This guide is for individuals and institutions considering or involved in cross-sector partnerships.  Although cross-sector considers partnerships between the public, business and civil society sectors, this guide is of general use.  It’s presented in seven chapters: The Partnering Challenge; Building Partnerships; Partnering Agreements; Managing the Partnering Process; Delivering Successful Projects: Sustaining Partnerships;  and, Successful Partnering. Both English and French versions are available for download and Arabic, Chinese, Farsi (Persian), German, Hindi, Portuguese, Serbian, Spanish, Swahili, Russian and Vietnamese versions are stated to be available.

Tool Kit for International Partnerships by British Council.  Designed for UK Further Education colleges and Technical & Vocational Education & Training institutions this toolkit presents a range of questions individuals directly (implementers) or indirectly (overseers) should consider asking at various phases of the project cycle.

Partnerships Resource Centre (PrC) web-site by Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM).  A useful web-site for individuals seeking cross-sector partnerships resources.

Guidelines for Research in Partnership with Developing Countries – 11 Principles (1998) by KFPE.  KFPE original 11 principles for North-South research partnerships.  They are: 1. Decide on objectives together; 2. Build mutual trust; 3. Share information; develop networks; 4. Share responsibility; 5. Create transparency; 6. Monitor and evaluate the collaboration; 7. Disseminate results; 8. Apply results; 9. Share profits equitably; 10. Increase research capacity; and 11. Build on the achievements.  Useful annexes too.