The PARCEL standards are about helping partner organisations to achieve independence. They are NOT solely for compliance or keeping donors happy. Keeping donors happy is important to partners. It means that they will continue to receive funding, which will help them to be independent. However, keeping donors happy isn’t an end in itself. Focussing on donor compliance reinforces the ‘one donor contract to another’ approach which is damaging to partner independence.
- EXPLAIN – When explaining the ‘why’ behind the standards, focus on partner independence and BENEFICIARIES. How does meeting this standard help get the right things in the hands of the people who really need it?
- SUPPORTIVE – Training should feel supportive but challenging. When something is not working well in a partner organisation, we need to help that partner identify and put it right. Training should never be alarmist, threatening or use ‘fear’ as a motivation tactic.
- ONGOING SUPPORT – Capacity building is an ongoing conversation and relationship. Partners should feel that we are ‘in it for the long haul’, and that facilitators and subject matter experts will be available to support them on their organisation’s journey to independence.
- TOGETHER – The INGO/partner relationship is one of support, and sharing challenges and success. INGOs are not simply interested in dealing with fraud/non-compliance issues or bad procedures, or ‘inflicting’ there own procedures on partners.
- EMPOWER – The standards provide a framework of minimum requirements for partners to work within. How they meet these standards is up to them. Partners should feel that they have freedom, choice and empowerment, and that with that comes responsibility and accountability. Through the PARCEL experience, we want partners to feel comfortable explaining their own organisation’s processes –not as mini-Oxfams or mini-World Visions but as independent organisations with their own identity, working towards international standards for logistics and supply.
- EQUAL – Partners should feel like ‘equals’ in the capacity building journey. Training is done ‘with them’ not ‘to them’. It is the project’s belief that partners hold the key to solving their own problems and finding answers to the challenges they and others around them experience.
- RISK MANAGEMENT – Rather than talking about ‘compliance for compliance sake’, the conversation should be about risk management, which is key to becoming a strong, independent partner organisation. Partners need to identify the risks they are taking –to project delivery, cost/quality, safety, their organisation, compliance and financial risk. Capacity building should help partner organisations appreciate the balance between the benefits of doing something and the risks of not doing it.