PARTNERSHIP BUILDING FOR ADVOCACY

INTRODUCTION

Meaning of Partnership

Partnership between two or more individual for individual or group benefit. Individual that is characterized by mutual commitment and responsibility toward achieving specific goals and objectives.

Ways of building partnership in advocacy

  • Common goal. Set goals enable partners to work in achieving the targeted goals.
  • In advocacy partners  advocate  for the plight  of the disadvantage  in society group  should  share  similar  interest  and goals . Compatibility discourages conflict of interest.
  • This provide basis of attaining partnership and objective goals. Partners and stakeholders should be committed in attainment of goals. Through commitment, attainment or success of the partnership is enhanced. Commitment also acts as a motivator factor to the stakeholder in a partnership.
  • Mutual cooperation. Cooperation promotes sustainability in partnership and a sense of belonging among stakeholders. This involve concerted  effort  by stakeholder  in planning  , decision  making and implementation   of advocacy
  • Recognition of partnership effort in fulfillment of objectives.
  • Transparency and accountability
  • Avoid duplication to avoid stiff competition while building partnership.
  • Active participation`.

Ways of determining   partnership in advocacy

Common goals

  • Trust
  • Acceptance of conflict
  • Equality and consensus
  • Mutual respect
  • Partnership processes

 Role of partnership in advocacy

  1. It enhances equitable  sharing  of resources among  stakeholders  as it facilitate  working through  specialization  as the side  of the worker.
  2. It increases efficiency and effectiveness of initiatives and project. It promotes complementing while avoiding competition.
  3. It promotes shared responsibility among stakeholders.
  4. It promotes active perception of the partners which lead to realization of a sense of belonging.
  5. It promote cooperation, collaboration i.e. exchange of ideas and effective decision making through its bringing of a diverse stakeholders.
  6. It provides the base of social and economic development through effective coordination of activities and utilization of resources.

Strategies of forming partnership

Effective collaborative partnerships promote actions that both improve personal outcomes for those receiving services and foster positive change in the systems that influence these services. The Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston completed a research study on interagency partnerships (Butterworth, Foley, & Metzel, 2001). This study identified a series of quality indicators for effective strategies in forming effective interagency partnerships. For each of these quality indicators, there are a series of self-evaluation questions a partnership can use to identify its areas of strength and needed improvement. The questions focus on determining the extent to which each indicator is fully or partially in-place. For those indicators that are not fully in-place, follow-up actions can be identified and initiated. This self-evaluation can be used as a planning tool during the development of partnership and for periodic reviews in monitoring the partnerships role and effectiveness. The following presents let’s review examples of self-evaluation review questions for each of the indicators;

Indicator 1 – The partnership has a clearly defined purpose: Purpose is operationally defined by having clearly identified outcomes and a data collection system in place to measure the intended outcomes. The outcome measures should emphasize quality of services and outcomes.

Indicator 2 – Allies to the partnership are identified and involved with the collaborative effort: Allies to a partnership are both internal and external. Internal allies within the partnership must be identified. These internal allies are the stakeholders involved in the planning and implementation of the partnership. Support is also needed from external allies who need to ensure political support for the partnership. Allies to the partnership have a common interest in its purpose and a commitment to its success. Successful partnerships frequently have champions among their external allies who serve as key sponsors and advocates.

Indicator 3 – The collaborators are committed to the partnership and exercise ownership in carrying out its activities: Ownership comes in part from identifying an individual from each partnering agency or program who is responsible for the implementation and success of the partnership. Inconsistent and/or rotating participation from partnering agencies will destroy the development of any real sense of ownership.

Indicator 4 – The partnership leads to actions and outcomes consistent with the defined purpose: Having specific action plans in place where tasks are well-defined drives action-oriented partnerships. Action-oriented partnerships also have needed resources committed. These resources are both the time of the partners, particularly among the designated representatives, and in kind or monetary or monetary support.

Indicator 5 – Mechanisms are in place to communicate values and resolve differences: Effective partnerships have organizational values that are identified and incorporated into action plans focused on meeting the interests and support needs of consumers. For example, an organizational value for a partnership focused on employment outcomes for individuals with significant disabilities could be a zero-reject approach to the consumer population, meaning that any person who expresses any interest in employment is given an opportunity. Effective partnerships also have mechanisms in place to resolve disagreements.

These five quality indicators can be extremely useful both in forming a partnership and in monitoring and continually improving an existing partnership. Conscientious use of these indicators helps keep a partnership goal and action oriented.

Impact of partnership on advocacy

To be effective, collaborative community partnerships must result in improved employment related outcomes for individuals with significant disabilities. There are a variety of employment outcome benefits. The first benefit is improvement in the timeliness and quality of the services provided. The second benefit is improved employment outcomes. How do collaborators know whether these potential benefits are being realized? The answer is to set up an information system that allows the partners on a regular basis to accurately assess the outcomes being achieved. Successful partnerships lead to action and outcomes. Without dependable and timely information on service and employment outcomes, the partners will not be able to accurately identify either the strengths of the collaborative effort or the continuing issues that need to be addressed.

  1. Time waiting for services: A consumer stuck on a waiting list or given delayed appointments for services will quickly lose interest. Waiting lists are sometimes used because of funding and/or staff shortfalls. Reducing waiting lists and time delays in accessing services are critical initial focal points of a partnership targeting improved employment outcomes.
  2. Time between intake and job placement: Rapid movement to employment is a key to improved employment outcomes for individuals with significant disabilities. Movement to employment can be delayed by a variety of factors, such as overemphasis on temporary work experiences or staff difficulties in helping consumers match to an appropriate job. Just like time delays in initiating services, time delays between intake and job placement can cause frustration for the consumer and lead to high dropout rates. Partners need to regularly measure the time between intake and placement and take action if that time is regularly exceeding 30-45 days.
  3. Number of persons assessed but not placed: Programs can sometimes find themselves providing assessment services to a much higher number of people that those who actually start working. Assessments are important, but assessments without job outcomes are a waste of resource and symptomatic of a problem the partners need to address. Maybe there are staff development issues where staff is unsure about approaching employers; maybe the job placement service is understaffed. Tracking the number of persons who are assessed but not placed is critically important in assessing the quality of employment-focused partnership.
  4. Number of persons achieving employment outcomes and wages earned: An increase in the number of persons achieving the targeted employment outcomes is the primary indicator of a successful partnership. It is the most critical outcome measure and must be tracked closely if the partnership is truly committed to measuring its success. It is also important that wages earned by consumers are tracked. If high employment outcome rates are dependent on frequent use of low paying job opportunities, the partnership needs to concentrate attention on improving wage outcomes.
  5. Number of persons successful in first job placement and number moving to subsequent employment opportunities: Movement from a first to subsequent job placements is not a sign of failure in the first job. For many individuals who are either new to the job market or who are working on reentering the job market, the first job experience can be a trial work experience. The lessons learned from that first placement can help in improve subsequent job matches and support plans. However, a constant turn over in first jobs can also be a sign that staff is struggling with the job development process. It is important for partners to know the success rate in first job placements so that fact-based decisions can be made about staff development activities and allotment of staff resources.

CONCLUSION

A final comment on effective collaborative community partnerships: Successful partnerships have a clear mission, focus on actions that produce intended outcomes, and consistently track and evaluate their impact. Partnerships with an employment mission for individuals with significant disabilities must focus their attention on the timeliness and quality of both services delivered and job outcomes achieved. Employment service and outcome data are critical to the partnership in determining the extent that it is successfully fulfilling its mission.

REVISION QUESTIONS

  1. Discuss the various for building partnership for advocacy
  2. Discuss the role of partnership in advocacy
  3. Describe the strategies of forming partnership
  4. Discuss the impact of partnership in advocacy
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