Long Read

Working in partnerships

Simavi knows that realising maximum impact through our programmes depends on how well we collaborate with other organisations, networks, institutions etc. We look for specific added value in these collaborations and explore best ways of teaming up. Good partnership can help us to maximise the impact of programmes. Partnerships can create access to a diversified financing pool. Moreover, building partnerships helps us stay innovative.

In addition to our in-country partners, we look for Dutch and international parties that compliment our expertise and/or have a similar vision or goal. It is important that we get the right partners around the table. What the right partner is differs per programme. It can be a private or public organisation, an organisation with a specific expertise, network or reach. Our partnership strategy is simple: partners should complement each other and bring in their own expertise and networks to create extra added value. It aligns with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17 that seeks to strengthen global partnerships to support and achieve the ambitious targets of the 2030 Agenda, and the new nota ‘Investeren in Perspectief’ by Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch minister of Foreign Affairs.

Discovering new partnerships

Most of Simavi’s current programmes are either led by Simavi or by another Dutch or International Non-governmental organisation NGO, but the Perfect Fit programme, which aims to improve menstrual health through access to reusable menstrual pads and menstrual health education, is a different kind of partnership. The programme is funded by Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) and is led by Kopernik, an Indonesian private sector organisation.

Dorine Thomissen, programme manager of the Perfect Fit programme, is very positive about the partnership:

‘Kopernik is managing the programme extremely well, which has allowed Simavi to focus on the research and education elements of the programme. Based on the positive evaluation of the project, we were invited by GCC to apply for further funding to scale up the programme. This grant required us to provide co-funding, which we managed to raise together: Kopernik by developing a partnership with The Body Shop in Indonesia and Simavi by integrating Perfect Fit into our EKN-funded SEHATI programme. In many ways, this has turned out to be a great partnership. It is built on complementarity and equality and has proven to be extremely flexible. We complement and strengthen each other, which has led to great success and is a perfect example of the global leadership we envision.’

International alliances and consortia partners

We collaborate in alliances to create added value and enhance effectiveness, as well as to extend the reach of programme strategies and core activities. Simavi is an active partner in the GUSO Alliance, the Watershed alliance, and the More Than Brides Alliance (MTBA) and leads the WASH SDG Consortium with Plan, SNV and the WASH Alliance International. In the Ritu programme we work with TNO and Red Orange, and in the Golden Line we collaborate with Solidaridad and Healthy Entrepreneurs. Currently we work together with over 20 international non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Knowledge institutes and research partners

Simavi collaborates with universities and research institutes to perform evidence reviews that we use to inform our programmes. We also seek collaboration with these organisations for the research and evaluations that are part of our programmes. Simavi does not have the ambition to become a research institute, but we do see the importance to contribute to missing evidence in the sector.

Knowledge institutions can help us shape our activities and programmes in an objective, systematic and methodologically responsible manner. They can also play a specific role whilst developing new, innovative techniques that we can implement in our programmes.

Network and advocacy partners

Simavi is part of several networks. May of these networks are based on a specific theme, for example menstrual health or WASH. Simavi benefits from these networks as they facilitate sharing and learning amongst organisations working on specific topics. On the other hand, many of these networks organise joint lobby and advocacy. Working together with other partners in our lobby and advocacy work increases the likelihood to make an impact on both national and international policies and frameworks. Lobby and advocacy is an important strategy in many of our programme alliances as well.

Business partners and institutional partners

Simavi receives funding from a variety of institutional and private donors and sponsors. We often apply for funding in partnerships, responding to specific calls for proposals. Institutional donors and foundations often have a specific focus in terms of the programmes that they fund, or the approaches that they are interested in. Without these donors we would not be able to implement our programmes.

Private sector partners

We are seeing a growing social involvement from the private sector; they want to make an active contribution to people, the environment and society. With our knowledge of local context, extensive partner networks in different countries and access to consumers, we can be an interesting partner for private sector companies. Our approach guarantees that women, girls and other local target groups are actively involved (ownership) and that the result is sustainable. On the other hand, private sector partners offer a different perspective and applying a business model approach can contribute to the sustainability of our programme interventions.

Simavi seeks partnerships with in-country, Dutch and international private sector partners. These partners play different roles in our programmes that depend on their specific expertise. These collaborations create opportunities to leverage more funding and increase the scale of our work: the private sector provides technical solutions, products and services that can increase access to water, sanitation and hygiene as well as sexual and reproductive health and rights; Simavi raises demand in local communities and ensures that services are accessible, affordable and meet the needs of the Bottom of the Pyramid. Simavi links this to the FIETS sustainability principles.


Start the conversation

Share this article

Do you want to know more about partnering with Simavi?

Please contact our colleague Renate Douwes

+31 (0)88 313 15 78 (direct)