MBA Renewables

Daniela Floris

Master's thesis

Identification of structural organizational conditions and other key influencing factors to develop a model for effective North-South NGO Partnerships

Professional background

Industrial and no profit organization management

Advice for future students

"No pain no gain."


Abstract of the thesis:
Available researches on strategic partnerships between Northern and Southern NGOs
mainly have the aim of identifying the factors that affect the success of North-South
partnerships in project development management, when the Northern partner acts as a
donor and the Southern partner acts as an implementer.
This research is aimed at identifying those factors that can determine the success or the
failure of a North–South partnership in a situation where the Northern partner can act at the
same time as a donor and as a project implementer. In such a situation the Northern NGO
can opt to act as unique implementer or as a co-implementer in partnerships with Southern
NGOs.
When the Northern NGO is both funding and co-implementing a project it has more
possibilities to better understand strengths and weaknesses of the co-implementing
partners and can also design a model tailored for specific partnerships that better responds
to the practical needs of both the Northern NGO and its Southern partners.
This research was conducted considering a case study of strategic partnerships between a
Northern NGO, fictionally named Tupopamoja, based in Italy, and seven of its Southern
NGO partners located in different countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Benin, Cambodia, India.
The initial findings were identified from the literature and substantiated with focus group
discussions and semi-structured interviews involving key managers of both Tupopamoja
and its seven Southern partners. A qualitative content analysis method was used to
analyze the data gathered for this study.
Thirty seven influential factors were identified from the literature and initially grouped in
nine categories; in a second stage, they were re-clustered according to two themes, from
which a model for the management of strategic partnerships was then developed.
Basically, the model can support Tupopamoja when it has to decide whether and how to
work in partnership according to its strategy, Mission and Vision. Furthermore, the model
can help the Northern organization to better understand which are the consequences of its
choices in terms of governance and partnership management.
The study reveals the fact that the ability of an organization to work in partnership depends
mostly on its capacity in designing feasible partnership projects where the decisional power
is as much as possible equally distributed and where goals, mutual benefits and
expectation are shared and agreed.
Partnerships designed as if they were projects can be managed through well-known tools
widely used in international development cooperation like Project Cycle Management and
Logical Framework.