4. Phases in the partnership process

Working in partnerships could be divided into 5 different phases. These phases are coinciding with the moment in the project cycle. The figure below represents the phases in the partnership process for a single project during a rapid onset emergency. In reality however, you may have strategic partners for a longer period beyond the duration of a project.

Ideally, the partnership process is started as part of your preparedness planning. This basically means that the selection process has been completed during “peace” time, resulting in a framework agreement to work with a partner during an emergency. This will save considerable time once an emergency hits. Moreover, identifying partners during your emergency preparedness planning will provide an opportunity to invest in capacity development of the partner. Partners are usually selected before proposal design, but this is not always possible.

Each phase in the process has some critical steps that have to be taken. The exact steps in the partnership process may vary in each response. The reality of an emergency is often complex, hence the below guidelines should be tailored to your specific needs and context. It is recommended however to adhere as much as possible to the specific steps outlined below.

4.1.1 Why is selection so important?

4.1.2 Meeting donor requirements

4.1.3 Developing eligibility criteria

4.1.4 Eligibility criteria

4.1.5 Capacity assessment

4.1.6 How to conduct Assessments

4.1.7 Due diligence assessment

4.1.8 Terrorism concerns and legislation

4.1.9 Selection committee

Once the partner is selected it is time to agree on the terms and conditions of the partnership. Contract negotiations, as well as starting-up the partnership, can be a lengthy process. It often happens that this process takes too long, causing frustrations and delays in the response. Having a framework agreement in place developed during the EPP, will significantly reduce the time spent in this process. Still, for every individual project, the following steps will need to be done:

Contracting & Start-up Checklist

  • Decide on your model of collaboration
  • Develop and agree on partner budget
  • Develop and agree on partner work plan
  • Develop and agree on M&E plan and tools
  • Negotiate terms and conditions & sign off partnership agreement
  • Transfer 1st instalment to partner
  • Conduct  inception workshop

The content of a partnership agreement, as well as the accompanying budget and work plan, should be developed jointly. Do not impose anything to your partner. This will only cause a lot of frustration and problems during the implementation stage.

4.2.1 Models for collaboration

4.2.2 Consider these issues for collaboration

4.2.3 Making and managing budgets

4.2.4 Developing a work plan

4.2.5 Develop a M&E plan and tools

4.2.6 Negotiating and signing the Partnership agreement

4.2.7 Pre-Authorisation Letter (PAL)

4.2.8 Transferring 1st instalment to partner

4.2.9 Inception workshop

It is important to realise that the role of CARE in a partnership often has shifted away from direct implementation. This means that the nature of responsibilities of CARE staff will change. The below checklist highlights the main responsibilities of CARE staff in a partnership, where implementation is done by partners.

 Implementation Checklist

  • Coordination: Conduct frequent coordination meetings with partner staff
  • Reporting: Review partner financial and narrative reports
  • Disbursements: Ensure timely payments/disbursement due to partner
  • Ensuring program quality: Provide technical assistance, on the job coaching and (refresher) training where needed

4.3.1 Partner Coordination

4.3.2 Reporting

4.3.3 Planning and handling disbursements

4.3.4 Ensuring program quality

Monitoring Checklist

  • Conduct frequent monitoring field visits
  • Review and compile M&E data from partner
  • Conduct mid-term partnership review (survey)

4.4.1 Monitoring program activities

4.4.2 Monitoring the partnership

Each CO may have its own close-out procedures. Make sure to check this with your CO and Lead Member. In general, the following tasks are part of closing out a partnership agreement:

Close out Checklist

  • Consider requesting (no)-cost extension if the burn rate is low
  • Verify all project activities have been completed
  • Consider donating project assets to partner (refer to donor guidelines)
  • Review and approve final financial and narrative reports
  • Conduct partnership survey evaluation
  • Transfer remaining funds/balance
  • Archive final records and project documents
  • Invite partner to the After Action Review (AAR)
  • Recognise and celebrate achievements of the project
  • Send close-out letter to partner
  • Consider new project with the same partner

Closing out a partnership agreement is a phased process. Identify in an early stage the key activities to ensure there will be a smooth close-out. Closing out a partnership agreement is not the same as closing out the collaboration. If the cooperation was mutually satisfactory, the partnership can continue through a framework agreement (non-project based), or by starting a new partnership agreement for another project.

Annex 12.19 – Award Close-Out Checklist CARE Ethiopia