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The Partnership Toolbox: A Facilitator's Guide to Partnership Dialogue

Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
Year Published:
Resource Type:
Technical Guidance

CRS partnerships are one of its most valuable assets. Some are decades old, others relatively new. Partnership is a complex set of relationships and issues. Like any relationship, it takes trust and transparency, communication and dialogue from everyone. As we become caught up in the business of monitoring our joint projects, we often loose track of monitoring and nurturing our partnership relationships, assuming they will ‘take care of themselves’. This is not the case. Any relationship needs time to communicate visions, plans, and past hurts and misunderstandings in order to thrive. Partnerships are the same.

Culture and partnership relationships differ widely within CRS country offices and programs. Therefore, this manual is intended to be a guide to be modified as needed. In some countries, spirituality and direct connections with Catholic Social Teaching are very important and should be specifically added into the designs. In others they are not as strong. Learning and communication styles also vary a great deal between cultures and the sessions may need to be adapted to the appropriate style. There may be stories, myths or parables from the local culture that can be used in sections. It is intended for you to use and adapt as it best fits your situation.

The contents of this manual grew out of CRS’s collaboration with the Global Excellence in Management (GEM) Initiative, a project of Case Western Reserve University. Through a twoyear learning initiative on partnership, CRS and GEM held a series of participatory workshops that formed much of the content of this manual. Anastasia White, a GEM staff member, laid solid groundwork for the manual by capturing the sessions in the first draft of the document.