Engaging The Private Sector In Sri Lanka

Engaging The Private Sector In Sri Lanka

“Stakeholder engagement” is a term most often applied to companies, referring to how they manage relationships with employees, consumers, communities, other businesses and government. However the theory and practice of stakeholder engagement can equally be applied to non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Indeed it has gained momentum in recent years, particularly regarding how NGOs can work with the private sector.

NGOs around the world are being driven to engage more, and in partnership, with the private sector. While this relationship has been driven historically by the need to diversify funding streams – which is still the case – some NGOs are finding increasing value in leveraging the private sector to achieve programme aims.

Integrity’s Head of Stakeholder Engagement, Kate Ives, recently supported CARE International, to develop private sector engagement strategies in both Sri Lanka and the South Caucasus. The challenges in each case are reflective of many organisations as they endeavour to work with non-traditional partners:

– Do the partners have compatible objectives, and to what extent can objectives be compromised if the outcome is the same?
– How can activities be planned to meet both long-term development or humanitarian objectives, whilst delivering economic value in the short-term to the business?
– How do NGOs and businesses carry sceptical employees with them on the quest to work with new partners?
– What skills and training do staff need to carry out this work? How is the potential culture clash in organisational style reduced or mitigated?
– How are partnerships monitored and evaluated, to ensure that real impact is being achieved for all parties?

The burden of evidence regarding NGO-business partnerships indicates that the most impactful relationships meet the objectives of all organisations involved. While these objectives aren’t always clear from the outset, Integrity believes that an ongoing process of dialogue and stakeholder mapping is essential to building successful relationships in the long-term.

To find out more about Integrity’s work in this area, please contact our Head of Stakeholder Engagement, Kate Ives: [email protected]

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