Organizations such as UNICEF, which are recognized and respected as leading global organizations advancing the rights of children, wield significant influence in convening public and private actors at all levels. They can thus play a catalytic role in forging effective collaborations around child-focused initiatives through, for example:
Technical expertise and field presence
With their extensive technical capacity and field presence, organizations such as UNICEF have developed considerable expertise in all areas of programming. Their far-reaching field presence also facilitates the dissemination and application of knowledge, data and policy within religious communities. Some activities might include:
Tools and agreements for collaboration
As noted above, collaborative engagement with religious communities can contribute to all aspects of programming: advocacy, direct service provision, coordination, policy development, etc. It may take different forms, ranging from contractual agreements to informal relationships of a consultative nature. The particular context, programme goals, presence and interest of potential partners will determine the most effective strategies and approaches. In addition, the nature of the partnerships may change over time, varying from less to more formal arrangements as trust is built and further opportunities arise. Sometimes significant work can be undertaken without a written agreement. “Informal collaborative arrangements remain a highly valued modality for engagement at all levels of UNICEF and, where appropriate, should be acknowledged and valued.”
Determining the most appropriate type of partnership is a process that relies heavily on clear goals, a thorough evaluation of potential partners and an honest assessment of a child rights organization’s own capacities to contribute to the different facets of partnership. It is also important to understand the legal status of religious actors to enter into agreements and transfer of funds.