Business and INGO Partnerships: Are We on the Same Planet?
At a session on defining the “next generation” of primary health care at the United Nations General Assembly, Tim Evans, senior director of health, population and nutrition at the World Bank Group, said the international development community is suffering from “pilotitis.”
“We have an epidemic of startups, and we need an epidemic of scale-ups,” he said.
Evans described a “systematic blind spot” in global health to understanding and implementing solutions to scaling that we — international nongovernmental organizations and companies — know can work, such as encouraging partnership between the public sector and private sector health systems; creating large-scale pilots in order to create the evidence and measurements needed to justify a primary care approach; and creating affordable models that promote health and prevent diseases, not just treat them.
The evolution of partnerships
We’ve come a long way since I started working in the nonprofit sector 25 years ago, with partnerships evolving from pure philanthropy, to corporate social responsibility, to cause-marketing, to public-private-INGO partnerships, to social entrepreneurship, and finally to “shared value” — a term that assumes that a partnership can be created where a company realizes business benefits while a nonprofit realizes its mission, such as saving lives or improving health.
Economic value is created in a way that also creates value for society by addressing its needs and challenges. As we’ve gotten better at shaping these partnerships, we’ve seen real progress.