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Practicalities of Partnership Building

Strategic Dialogue

Programming Partners: P3 Impact Award, University of Virginia Darden School, U.S. Department of State Office of Global Partnerships



  • This Strategic Dialogue marked the public presentation and final evaluation of the five 2020 P3 Impact Award Finalists. The P3 Impact Award recognizes exemplary cross-sector collaborations that feature public, private, nonprofit, or non-governmental organizations addressing societal challenges. Inaugurated in 2014, the P3 Impact Award is presented each year at the Concordia Annual Summit, in coordination with The University of Virginia Darden School Institute for Business in Society and the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships. 
  • This year the 2020 P3 Impact Award was presented to Eye Bank of Ethiopia’s Elimination of Corneal Blindness Partnership (EBE) and its representative, Patrick Emery. EBE is a public-private partnership between the Ethiopia Ministry of Health, SightLife, and the Himalayan Cataract Project, which serves as a model for development throughout Africa via the establishment of the first eye bank in Sub-Saharan Africa. It utilizes global best practices to ensure a steady supply of tissue to the country while improving cornea health system policy enablers. Since the initiation of the partnership, the EBE has met 100% of the demand for corneal tissue in Ethiopia and has completed 2,400 transplants, with 70% of transplants being successful after five years.

“The Eye Bank of Ethiopia partnership is very open with our intellectual property primarily because we know that we cannot solve the problem alone in Sub-Saharan Africa. We require additional eye banks and additional leaders throughout other countries to deploy the best practices that we have been able to prove work in a country such as Ethiopia,” Patrick Emery

  • In addition to this year’s winner, this Strategic Dialogue saw the presentation of the other four finalists, which included:
        • Asili – Eastern Congo Initiative’s Social Enterprise, represented by Abraham Leno: Asili reinvents humanitarian aid as startup capital for self-sustaining social enterprises operated by and for the people who need them. This partnership between USAID, IDEO.org, Eastern Congo Initiative, and Alight aims to address the lack of quality healthcare, the scarcity of clean drinking water, and the shortage of meaningful economic opportunities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Asili has already sold over 50 million liters of water to more than 100,000 customers and performs over 10,000 health consultations per year.
        • Localizing Development: IAF-Mott Public-Private Partnership, presented by Paloma Adams-Allen: The Inter-American Foundation (IAF) and Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Mott) have worked since 2002 to nurture Mexico’s incipient community foundation (CF) sector, and in 2012, the two organizations launched a public-private partnership providing financial and technical support to CFs in Mexico to support cooperatives, associations, and other grassroots organizations. The IAF and Mott have invested approximately $2.1 million to date and will invest an additional $600,000 during 2020, with other donors having mobilized over $10.7 million in matching funds. This investment has benefited over 28,000 rural and vulnerable Mexicans by funding 180 grassroots organizations.
        • State Affordable Medicines Program, presented by Oksana Movchan: With support from USAID through the SAFEMed project led by Management Sciences for Health, the Government of Ukraine launched the State Affordable Medicines Program. This program is designed to improve patients’ access to essential medicines and provide a reimbursement program for the three non-communicable diseases (cardiovascular diseases, diabetes type II, and bronchial asthma) that are most likely to affect mortality rates and significantly reduce quality of life in Ukraine. Since April 2019, 13 million e-prescriptions were filled nationwide and 2 million Ukrainian patients have benefited from the program.
        • WASH UP! presented by Sherrie Westin: Sesame Workshop (SW), the world’s largest informal educator, and World Vision (WV), the largest non-governmental provider of clean water in the developing world, established WASH UP! to deliver a life-saving WASH initiative by infusing WV’s local networks and rural WASH infrastructure programs with SW’s engaging, research-driven content. Since 2015, the initiative has expanded to 15 countries across Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, and content themes have expanded beyond traditional WASH messages to include neglected tropical diseases, inclusive WASH, and menstrual hygiene.
    • “One of the things that I really walk away with and that has been repeated over and over again is the importance of local ownership of these solutions and embedding these answers into the community,” Margaret Mary Frank

  • Following the presentation of the five finalists, the four present P3 judges, Joanne Sonenshine, Katherine Neebe, Christopher Schwabe, and Dan Vermeer welcomed everyone for an open discussion to highlight how these partnerships have pivoted to address the COVID-19 crisis, as well as the best practices to garner community buy-in and local ownership of solutions. 
  • The discussion highlighted many specific best practices for how intentional collaboration, vis a vis their partnerships, can create economic and social value. Chief among these trends was how trust, governance, and alignment are at the core of any successful partnership. All of the partnerships agreed that, regardless of the different issues they all address, without those three pillars of trust, governance, and alignment, the impact of the partnership will not reach its full potential. Furthermore, it was expressed that the idea of these three pillars should always consider the role of the community as well. If these projects are not inclusive and representative of the community, can they truly have sustainable impact? Ultimately, the populations that these partnerships are addressing should not be passive recipients but rather active participants.
  • With the scale of economic, environmental, social, and development challenges unable to be met through traditional development financing and philanthropy, particularly in the wake of COVID-19, each partnership contributed to a conversation and broader understanding of the role of community buy-in, philanthropic trends, and the importance of embedding new and innovative revenue generation at different points in the project, to support project resiliency.  

“It [running a P3] is not easy work. It goes above and beyond your traditional grantor-grantee relationship. It does require more effort and constant communication—constantly being in tune with what your partners have in mind, to make sure your goals are aligned,” Constance Tzioumis

Key takeaways & next steps:

  • Concordia welcomes public-private partnerships (P3s) to apply to next year’s 2021 P3 Impact Award. The applications usually go live during the first quarter of the year (between January and April 2021). For up to date information, click here.


Session Speakers