The Hague, the Netherlands – On 13-14 October 2016 AWEPA and the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) came together to take stock of the Strategic Partnership programme with the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA).
The strategic refection days provided an opportunity for AWEPA and NIMD staff members, representatives of the NMFA and NIMD’s local partners to share experiences, knowledge and best practices from the countries in which the programme is implemented.
Staff were able to reflect on the effectiveness of the implementation of the Strategic Partnership so far, evaluate progress towards achieving the programme’s objectives, and discuss potential bottlenecks and challenges.
Day one of the meeting was dedicated to the progress made during the first half year of the Partnership. The participants shared their key findings, challenges and lessons learned.
The session kicked off with a presentation on the political party-parliament nexus, as one of the core themes under the joint learning agenda for the Strategic Partnership programme. The staff and partners were encouraged to reflect on the interplay between political parties and parliaments, and analyse how the specific nature of this dynamic relationship could shape and influence decisions made in each country as part of the Strategic Partnership programme. Specifically, NIMD and AWEPA staff gave real life examples from the countries in which they worked, demonstrating the importance of understanding the context surrounding their work and shaping the approach taken accordingly.
Following this session, participants heard from Mr. Joris van Bommel, Deputy Head Civil Society Division and Coordinator of the Strategic Partnership programme of the NMFA. He discussed the NMFA’s vision for the 25 partnerships, which are being rolled out with selected non-governmental organisations across the Netherlands, and which aim to strengthen civil society organisations in low- and middle-income countries in their role as advocates and lobbyists. Mr. van Bommel called on the participants to share their views of the collaboration with the NMFA so far and their ideas to further increase the effectiveness of the Partnership.
Day two of the event was a chance for the organisations to look to the future of the Strategic Partnership, placing a key focus on planning and measuring results. The staff discussed strategies for international lobbying and advocacy; planned for the first measurement of the indicators; reflected on the Annual Plans for 2017; and suggested improved ways of working together to ensure that our partnership continues to be successful in 2017 and onwards.