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Civil society partnerships

Build on convening and technical strengths

Convening role

Organizations such as UNICEF play a catalytic role in forging effective collaboration:

  • Using their status and legitimacy to act as a convener of different religious groups by maintaining a focus on child rights issues and initiatives.
  • Ensuring that religious partners who contribute significantly to children’s issues are at the table when national, regional and global programming is being developed.
  • Inviting the highest levels of leadership of major religious traditions to discuss and agree on an important advocacy initiative can increase the global political impact of children’s rights organizations’ work.
  • Using their influence to call together decision makers on behalf of smaller religious communities or members who feel they cannot raise important child rights issues with their leadership, thus ensuring the latter’s participation in important initiatives.

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:

  • Mapping the role and contribution of religious communities in programming areas to promote integration in national planning and programming.
  • Strengthening technical skills that religious actors bring to their work in health, education, nutrition, child protection, water, sanitation and hygiene, and HIV and AIDS. 
  • Providing evidence-based information that can be communicated in ways that resonate effectively with religious communities.
  • Sharing good practice and guidelines, such as child protection codes of conduct that religious communities can adapt and apply to their organizational structures.

 Tools and agreements for collaboration

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.  “Informal collaborative arrangements remain a highly valued modality for engagement at all levels of UNICEF and, where appropriate, should be acknowledged and valued.”





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