HI distinguishes between what are referred to as strategic partnerships, negotiated at institutional level, and operational partnerships which are directly initiated by the programmes and missions. Operational partnerships are a vital part of all our projects and are key to implementing our social mission. They are usually formed based on the short or long-term strategies defined by the teams in the field. However, they may also constitute the operational side of strategic alliances overseen by headquarters.
© P. Meinhardt / HI
HI considers operational partnerships to be a form of collaboration between two or more structures, a collaboration based on cooperation as opposed to substitution, subordination or competition. The relationship is built and negotiated by the actors involved and at the very least includes:
• A mutual commitment to implementing all or part of a project;
• Joint accountability to the donors and/or beneficiaries and/or national authorities;
• A shared responsibility in terms of the project results.
An operational partnership is not a form of subcontracting and must meet very specific criteria and be formalised in a signed contract. Furthermore, our institutional policies set out measures which concern our partner organisations. This information is therefore indispensable for any organisation which wants to enter into a partnership with our association.
The selection of partners is very closely linked to the analysis of the context and the actors involved in a given project. HI has therefore established a partner selection procedure, which defines the seletion methods and conditions for setting up partnerships.
You can consult our conditions for setting up partnerships on request.
HI has been developing its thinking on partnerships since the 1990s. Its position is formalised in two internal guides :
• Understanding partnerships to better build relationships (2002);
• Capacity-building and partner relations (2008).
Our intervention principles (adopted by the board of trustees in 2009) highlight the specific challenges of partnerships namely: finding synergies, formalising relationships, sustainability and exit strategies.
In 2009, our organisation also became a member of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA), and in this capacity signed a commitment statement regarding its partnership principles: equality, transparency, a results-focused approach, responsibility and complementarity.
In 2016, a HI strategy paper on operational partnerships set out the criteria, as well as the main guidelines for implementing and monitoring operational partnerships overseen by the programmes and missions in the field.
All documents are available on request.
HI has equipped itself with institutional policies in order to define the frames of reference required to implement its missions. These apply to all the organisation’s employees and volunteers, but also include measures applicable to our partners. It is absolutely essential that our operational partners respect the principles set out in these documents.