As a membership organisation bringing together the efforts and resources of individuals, organisations and other key stakeholders, partnership is central to both the mandate and practice of the African Palliative Care Association (APCA).
Strong and strategic relationships are central to successful partnerships, and a focus on relationship development is critical to successful partnership development and management. As APCA develops a new partnership strategy, APCA aims to position itself so that it can respond to emerging challenges and seize new opportunities, further strengthening collaborative approaches to achieve effective palliative care development and integration across Africa.
Categories and characteristics of APCA partnerships
APCA participates in five types of partnerships:
- Essential institutional partnerships
- Funding partnerships
- Project partnerships
- Capacity building partnerships
- Learning and Development partnerships
APCA's definition of a partnership:
In the APCA context, a 'partner' is any person or organisation that APCA works with to realise its vision, mission, or strategic objectives.
General assumptions about partnerships:
- Strong relationships are central to successful partnerships; consequently, a focus on relationship development is critical to successful partnership development and management. The process of advancing a partnership should be handled with appropriate attention to ensure that relationships are nurtured at each stage of the process.
- The basis of APCA's partnership development efforts should be openness, honesty, and an effort to establish mutual benefit to APCA and its partners.
- Shared responsibility and benefit are critical to successful partnerships.
- With new partnerships (or newly defined partnerships), effort should be made to establish a number of immediate results, thereby demonstrating quickly the value of the partnership to both parties.
- Partnerships should be developed and maintained in the context of APCA's strategic plan, and the person delegated to managing the partnership should take responsibility for setting and managing partnership expectations according to what is realistic and feasible within the strategic plan.
- Ideally, all of APCA's partnerships should build capacity within both organisations.
Principles underpinning APCA partnerships:
- APCA partnerships should be centred on the following principles:
- Mutual trust;
- Shared decision-making, and;
- National ownership.
APCA can only sustainably support palliative care throughout the continent through partnering with national associations and existing institutions in Africa. APCA has thus established viable partnerships with existing and fledging national palliative care associations across the continent.
Through continuous technical assistance to national associations, APCA is able to effectively:
- Strengthen the organisational capacity of national associations to effectively coordinate palliative care activities in their respective countries.
- Support national associations to effectively advocate for development of policies and national guidelines that will enable availability and delivery of quality palliative care.
- Collaborate with national associations toward building capacity and skills in implementing palliative care training programmes.
- Support national associations to initiate and develop standards in palliative care and monitor adherence to them as mutually agreed.
Partnership initiatives provide an opportunity for APCA to use available technical expertise to provide the much needed mentorship and technical support to African countries that need them. Essential institutional and funding partnerships are essential to this process