09 September 2011

Partnerships – really, what are they?

I love my drive into work - even in the chaos of Phnom Penh traffic, it gives me time to think about my day, what is possible, what didn't work, why I think what I think and numerous other random thoughts that pass through my mind!


My latest discovery in the car is my voice memo app on my iPhone. I know that many people have been using this app for years but I am a little behind technology in general. The great thing about this app is that I can now record these random thoughts rather than risk injury to my fellow road companions!

This week my thoughts, among other things, have been around 'What is Partnership?'

This phrase has become a part of the politically correct terminology we are expected to use in our work, church and communities. My worry is that it has become so normal in our vocabulary that we may have missed the point of it entirely or not even considered it's challenges and possibilities.

The US State Department, Trafficking in Persons office have even added the word to the existing 3 P's of Prevention, Protection and Prosecution - so we now officially have 4 P's to include Partnership. I guess my worry is that we often drift into partnerships knowing that this is how we should work rather than being deliberate and strategic and asking 'why'.

We all have our own frameworks for the word - for some it provokes a nice, warm feeling of how great it is to work in partnership - for some there is tension in how to balance this with the natural competitiveness among organisations and individuals?

If we become more deliberate and 'purpose driven' (to coin the phrase from Rick Warren's bestseller) in partnerships, looking at how we can, dare I say it, 'measure' them, are we degrading the relational essence of partnership and collaboration. Does this make them less desirable if we are focusing on outputs and not just our input?

Chab Dai is an organisation whose very soul and ethos is about collaboration and partnership. We are not immune to these issues and need to challenge ourselves at every level of our partnerships..

I guess for me, as I wrestle with this, it comes down to a basic question that I need to continually consider - What is the most effective way to develop deliberate partnerships to end global trafficking and abuse - and how do I measure them?

I think I need a few more car journeys for this one..
A fellow pilgrim,