Civil society partnerships

Designing and implementing

1. Participatory planning

Civil society partners should participate in both design and implementation of the programme. UNICEF and the civil society partner jointly determine the objectives and implementation strategies for the initiative, with each partner investing tangible resources (cash or supplies) and/or intangible resources (knowledge, time or technical expertise). Throughout the partnership, UNICEF and the partner share responsibility for the initiative's failures and successes.

2. Confirmation of each organization's intent and procedures for formalizing a partnership

Once the programmatic purpose for collaboration is established, the relationship can be formalized. At this point it is important to jointly determine the structure of the relationship, which will depend on the role the CSO will play.

3. Discussion of the potential risks and rewards for each organization

After the parties have agreed to pursue a partnership, a risk assessment of the partnership should be carried out. For UNICEF, four key factors should be considered:

  • Legal status of the CSO in its country of origin (i.e. is it legally registered as a not-for-profit entity?);
  • Capacity of the CSO to fulfil its responsibilities to the partnership;
  • Financial responsibility and transparency (particularly for PCA and SSFA agreements);
  • A previous UNICEF history of working with the CSO, where applicable.

These questions should be discussed and relevant documentation reviewed. Negative answers to any of the risk assessment questions do not necessarily preclude a partnership, but they suggest additional precautions may be needed to manage potential risks. Where financial transactions are involved, the UNICEF office may need to adjust the quantity of resources to be transferred to the partner or increase audit requirements. For an MoU, the risk assessment should address reputational risk.

4. Additional steps

Additional steps in designing the partnership include:

  • Drafting a work plan;
  • Initiating assessment procedures;
  • Drafting the programme document or agreement;
  • Finalizing the assessments and associated reports;
  • Finalizing the programme document;
  • Preparing and signing the partnership agreement;
  • Launching the partnership.



New enhanced search