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Danmission.dk1. Partnership Foundations
The members of the church, as the world wide body of Christ, are sent in mission together. Danmission understands itself as an organization sent in mission together with our partners. We express our being in mission through our overall aim of bringing witness to the Gospel of Christ through word, action and cooperation. Danmission understands partnership in this light: Being in mission together defines the essential nature and character of our relationship and partnership. Partnership constitutes the relationship we have to each other as part of One body of Christ. Being in mission together is to be in service together, to God and to human beings. Partnership across cultural boundaries is motivated by a need for complementarity and inspiration, implying that it is natural for Christians to think of themselves in relationship with others. Consequently partnership‘s deepest expression is found in worship of the One God, in mutual respect and appreciation, and in walking together, supporting and helping each other while learning of each other and of God. Danmission’s partnership approach builds therefore on mutuality that promotes learning from each other, and appreciating each other’s contribution to the common work. Danmission bases its work (main fields are church development, dialogue and poverty reduction) in a biblically inspired worldview that understands all people to be created in God’s image as equal, valuable and inalienable human beings. Accordingly, we all belong to the same family, irrespective of our culture and religion, and we must live and cooperate in mutual respect of one another. As Christians we believe that from creation all human beings were meant to live in love, justice, peace and freedom. Danmission and her partners share a common value basis rooted in a Christian worldview. While interpretations might differ between cultural and denominational contexts our Christian foundation serves as a common ground for understanding and fellowship, and for dialogue about theological and spiritual issues as well as issues related to poverty reduction. Danmission’s dialogical approach intends to strengthen mutual respect and learning, as well as promote accountability, transparency and joint ownership of the partnership. It furthermore intends to enhance the quality of projects, strategies and methodology and thereby the overall effect of the commonly owned work. Danmission in partnering with a church or a Christian organization is embedded in the calling to reach out to our neighbor, Christian or people of other faith or without outspoken faith, with a special focus on the marginalized and vulnerable groups from a holistic approach that aspires to address spiritual as well as material needs. The joint vision of reaching out to the vulnerable and marginalized constitutes a core value shared by Danmission and its partners while it at the same time reflects the very foundation of being in mission together, whereupon partnership builds. The promotion of a vibrant and open national and international debate that supports a strong, independent, diversified civil society is envisaged by Danmission and her partners as well as Danida’s Civil Society Strategy. Therefore Danmission contributes towards to Danida’s Civil Society strategy by strengthening her partners to be valuable members of their respective civil societies. Danmission partners are churches as well as Faith Based Organizations (FBO’s) in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Partners differ in their relation to Danmission, and they differ in the way they work and the context they manoeuvre in. The present partnership policy describes how Danmission relates to her partners and partners’ role in Danmission’s work. These goals might be different in the context of the applied activity area, but need to be formulated in order to identify roles, responsibilities and ensure mutual accountability between Danmission and her partners. Partners have different roles as strategies are different for poverty reduction, church development and dialogue. This policy will address these differences and thereby contribute to a common understanding of partnership within Danmission. This policy will constitute the very foundation for the way Danmission approaches and values partnership within its work. Its purpose is to guide and facilitate Danmission’s partnerships. 2. Danmission’s Approach to Partnership
2.1 Danmission’s Partners
The possibility of partnership is not reserved for Christian churches (of all denominations)
only, but includes multi-faith organizations that have Christian presence (e.g. Christian
presence in the governing body). Danmission’s identity is firmly rooted in an Evangelical
Lutheran tradition open for relations with other denominations and other faith tradition, with
the aim of cooperation as well as mutual inspiration and enrichment. Specifically in relation
to dialog efforts and poverty reduction work it is relevant to cooperate with other faith
traditions or secular organization.
Therefore goals and agreed contents of partnership can vary among Danmission’s
partnership relations. These depend on the work Danmission and partners wish to realize
together. In order, for example, to do successful poverty reduction work Danmission will
partner with variety of partners able to meet this objective. This includes partnerships with
organizations that are exclusively geared to poverty reduction and possess vital capabilities
and have a strategic position in relation to the envisioned goal.
The following criteria constitute Danmission’s basic conditions for engaging in a partnership
with an organization:
Danmission gives priority to partner with Churches and organizations that share a protestant faith, but is open to partner with other Christ-centered Churches and organizations The Church or organization share Danmission’s fundamental values and Code of The Church or organization is legally registered The Church or organization performs good governance and is built on democratic decision-making and has enforced appropriate by-laws/constitution. The organization has a sector or thematic focus (including expertise) that coincides with Danmission’s programme and strategic focus 1 This is only applicable in countries where this is possible and advisable. The organization complies with, or is willing to develop its capacities, that ensure required and satisfying standards of financial management and operation
Partner Diversity & Roles
Danmission’s partners are diverse in their mission, governance structure and way of
participating in civil society. While some partners operate on the grassroots level with close
relations to local communities, others are active at national or regional level. Below a brief
description of the four categories of organizations Danmission’s partners with:
Churches often have longstanding relationships with Danmission dated from their deep-
rooted relations with its predecessor organizations – Danish Santal Mission and Danish
Missionary Society These churches are “off-springs” or closely related to the historical
missionary work of the 20th and 19th century. By nature, Churches have a clear mission of
being foremost a church with its respective duties and work wherein poverty reduction and
dialogue often is an integrated part.
Faith Based Organisations (FBO)
Danmission’s partners are often Faith Based Organisations (registered NGOs) which are
primarily focused on poverty reduction and dialogue. These partners are organisations which
relate to Danmission’s poverty reduction and dialogue work, while not being involved in
typical church work like evangelization and theological education.
Strategic partners play an important role in achieving formulated goals together with
Danmission and its affiliated partner. The reason for this kind of partnerships is to augment
activities, initiatives and the capacities of Danmission’s longstanding partners. The foremost
reason to engage with strategic partners is to efficiently achieve a certain result in the field of
poverty reduction and dialogue where a strategic partner on short-term base contributes to
this goal. These partners are not necessarily Christian organisations.
Participation in networks is by nature different from Danmission’s bilateral partnerships as it
constitute a more multilateral cooperation with like-minded organizations that is directed to
learning, capacity development and advocacy. Cooperation in networks supports
Danmission’s bilateral partnerships and its results.
2.2 Partnership Characteristics
Expectation levelling (Partnership agreement)
Danmission envisions that all major partnerships are defined in a partnership agreement
between Danmission and the partner. The partnership agreement formulation serves as a
point of departure for a fruitful process of expectation levelling between Danmission and her
partners. It is vital that rights and obligations towards each other are spelled out clearly in
this agreement. However, certain flexibility should be maintained as political and social
situations can rapidly change in the countries where Danmission’s partners operate. It will be
very important to clarify expectations in terms of financial input towards the work,
administrative regulations and professional collaboration (e.g. placement of missionaries
/project consultants) and which role partners can play in Danmission’s work in Denmark,
2 Danish Santal Mission merged in 2000 with the Danish Missionary Society and became Danmission. 3 The partnership can also be formulated and described in a Memorandum of Understanding/Cooperation and for minor partners through a project agreement.
and how Danmission should support the work in the South (e.g. North advocacy). A review
of the partnership furthermore constitutes the natural base for a new agreement period. This
ensures that goals of the partnerships are reviewed and if necessary adjusted for the
Danmission’s partnerships are built on the common interests in the areas of church
development, dialogue and poverty reduction. These areas of cooperation and partnering are
different in their nature and therefore call for a distinct interpretation of roles within
Danmission’s partnership approach.
Below are the roles and capacities which partners and Danmission bring to the common
partnership table. The list below is not exhaustive and can easily be made longer. However
the listed roles and capacities illustrate the various complementary relations between
Danmission and her partners.
Church Development & Dialogue Work:
Danmission’s Role & Capacities:
- Exploring implications of the “organic” character of partnership, i.e. what it means to be members of one body, Christ. How do we support and appreciate each other beyond economic relations? - Listen and respond to partners on issues of common concerns - Develop and nurture a language with sensitivity for partnership and socio-cultural differences, which at the same time build connections allowing inspiration, and critique, to flow mutually between us - Listen and respond to needs and expectations of partners regarding capacity building - Establish and engage in relations between partners and between partners and - Engage with other international partners in relation to reporting, administration and - Engage in discussions and developments of new focus areas for partner churches - Fund interventions within the areas of church and dialogue according to program Partners’ Role & Capacities: - Provide contextual insights in common engagements - Engagement in dialogue, Christian Witness and Theological Education - Engage with other Danmission partners in formal/informal sharing of resources - Bring critical perspective on the local engagement of Danmission as well as in - Relating to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark regarding understanding of
Poverty Reduction Work
Danmission’s Role & Capacities:
- Funding of poverty reduction interventions - Facilitation of capacity development in relation to rights based approaches (especially advocacy) and project circle management - Facilitation of mutual learning between Danmission partners 4 North advocacy refers to advocacy/lobby activities undertaken by Danmission in Denmark (or through respective global networks) that support the work of partners. - Contribution to establishment of national, regional and international forums for partners on relevant topics and advocacy measurements - Facilitation of Quality Assurance, compiling and sharing of best practices - Advocacy in the North and within appropriate networks - Alignment and coordination with other donors in relation to funding, reporting and Partners’ Role & Capacities: - Design, administration and implementation of local activities and intervention - International, national and local and context acquaintance (and sharing with - Participation in international, national and local networks and in relevant advocacy - Sharing of Best Practices and successful methodologies with Danmission and its - Participate in Danmission’s national and international partner meetings /forums Significance of Ownership The mutual ownership of the partnership is essential for the work Danmission and her partners are engaged in. In order to engage in meaningful work, partner activities should be related to the local context. Therefore active participation of the target group that is meant to benefit from the initiatives is vital and significant. This can only be realized when a partnership is owned by both partners and characterized by a mutuality of accountability and transparency. The actual influence of partners on Danmission’s strategy and programme development should be felt and be notable as it characterises ownership and ensures quality and relevance of the work. Accountability and Transparency Exercised accountability and transparency is a precondition for practising good partnership that bears fruit for the partner as well as for the target group of the work. Accountability applies to financial administration as well as being obligated and responsible in terms of accounting for activities, accept responsibility and disclose results in a transparent manner. Accountability is therefore closely related to transparency that informs about internal procedures in relation to decision-making and accounting. Both attributes are closely linked to governance. Danmission and her partners strive for accountability and transparency towards each other based in accountability towards own constituencies, including the target group anticipated to benefit from activities and interventions. To improve accountability and transparency is a joint task that involves active capacity development as well as openness to share information and active participation in planning of the each other’s work. Long-term Partnership: Strategic Value Danmission engages in long-term partnerships that have matured over time and that are built on mutual trust and respect. This approach is rooted in Danmission’s vision of walking together in one mission and being part of the same body of Christ. Furthermore it constitutes a strategic value as it prepares Danmission and its partners to address changes in programming and strategic approaches that is a natural part of today’s poverty reduction work. Finally, long-term partnerships ensure sharing of knowledge in relation to local contexts (socially, politically and economically) and thereby continuously develop capacities at Danmission on relevant issues.
Resources and Partnership
Partnerships between organisations with unequal access to resources constitute a challenge
for the partnership. This is particular the case if one is perceived as being “the giver” and the
other as the one “who only receives”. This challenge is acknowledged and experienced
especially when Danmission constitutes the main funding resource of a partner. This can
create a dependency-relation, which can undermine the partnership. It is therefore important
that inequalities, differences and power relation are not hidden but addressed in an open
manner by identifying and formulating strength and challenges within the partnership. Roles
might be different in relation to the wished outcome as mentioned above, but it is vital for
the success of the commonly owned work that the diverse roles and capacities are equally
valued and respected.
It must be emphasised that a good and fruitful partnership is built on openness and honesty
that constitute the very departure for overcoming challenges and difficulties.
2.5 Partnership in Crisis
Danmission’s work builds on close cooperation with its partners in the South, while mutual
trust is the pivotal ingredient for the success of a partnership. In case of documented fraud,
critical administration and problematic partnership, which jeopardize the outcome of the
common work, Danmission will approach such situations by the following steps. These
steps, however, should contribute and lead to re-establishment of good partner relations.
• Partner will be informed that Danmission finds the situation inacceptable for further cooperation and partnership. A meeting that discusses and looks for solutions between the partner and Danmission will be arranged. • In case of fraudulent behaviour that affects the implementation of project activities, financial transfer and support will come to an immediate stop (see also section 6 in project agreements for poverty reduction projects). • If the partner wishes to address the identified problem area Danmission will support relevant capacity development aimed at improving the working area in question. • Danmission wishes, also after financial support has stopped, to continue its relations and contact with the partner. Of course only if this is also a wish from the partner. • In case Danmission wish to continue the started work in the specific area it will eventually look for another appropriate partner who might be able to carry on the work if the cooperation with the initial partner cannot be continued Overall, Danmission does not like to leave a partner in crises and will therefore try to keep
relations as long this make sense for the partner and Danmission.
Danmission’s invites partners to engage in critical dialogue with Danmission on any issues
or topics that influence cooperation and the outcome of work. Danmission’s dialogical and
learning approach highly values a critical and constructive dialogue with its partners. Finally
Danmission’s long standing relationships with partners constitute a trustful ground for such a
critical and constructive dialogue.
2.6 Personnel in Partnership
Danmission has a long history of sending personnel to work with its partners in Africa, Asia
and the Middle East. Missionaries were often placed at partners for a long time and were
closely related to the development of churches or organization they were working for.
Partners constituted not only an employer for the missionary but also a home. While
missionaries historically often were leaders they are today placed to assist and enhance the
work of partners in defined areas of need. Danmission regards the sending of personnel as an important and supportive part of the partnership where the partnership is “practically lived”. This should however go hand in hand with Danmission’s overall strategic needs where also placement of personnel plays a significant role. Danmission has identified three overall categories of personnel: 1. Country or Regional Representatives that develop the national and regional work of Danmission and nurture the partnerships in the region or country. 2. Consultants and advisors that in close collaboration with partners contribute with expertise to the development of working areas at partners. These positions are regarded as being entrepreneurial and where technical development within a certain area is required. 3. Personnel that assist partners that lack personnel and capacities. They provide also the opportunity to strengthen the partnership by their actual presence and his or her active participation in church life in the south. The exchange and ecumenical aspect plays a significant role for the bond between partners and Danmission and should hereby be strengthened. Additional to the above mentioned categories Danmission currently has personnel in leadership positions. These placements have been shaped in order to meet special needs expressed by partners, in pioneer areas of work. These positions constitute an exception from the above mentioned position and have a strategy towards local leadership to sustain the work after the personnel have left the position. Finally, volunteers and interns (placement varying from 3 month to one year) play an important role in transporting cross-cultural experiences and narratives from their stay and work to Danish congregations and society. The sending of representatives, advisors and volunteers is a common task which responsibility is understood as a common one of Danmission and its partners. For a more detailed explanation be referred to Danmission’s personnel policy. 3. Partnership and its Significance for Danmission’s work
Danmission has in the recent years developed a programmatic approach to its work that formulates overarching goals and corresponding strategies in relation to her Church and Dialogue Work as well as Poverty Reduction Work. Beside the development of thematic focal points one consequence of Danmission’s programmatic approach is a more inclusive way of cooperation, where good partnership plays a decisive role. Global partner meeting is one important feature to name in this context as it gathers partners to discuss and deliberate on methodologies, best practices and evaluate the overall results in relation to poverty reduction. In that light strong partnerships that foster ownership and quality of the commonly owned work is an important ingredient for success and a strategic choice of Danmission. Dialogue and Rights-Based Approach in Poverty Reduction Efforts Dialogue between religions, denominations and ethnic groups that prevent and resolve conflict and promote peaceful coexistence are regarded as one precondition for successful poverty reduction. Another is the fulfilment of constitutional rights and the opportunity for active political, social and economic participation. Both are regarded as being equally
important for the overall success of Danmission’s poverty reduction efforts. Here again
Danmission’s strong and close partnerships are significant as they constitute the very
propellers of dialogue and empowerment of marginalized and vulnerable people.
3.1 Partnership and Learning: Walking Together
Being in mission together has direct implications for the organizational structure of
Danmission as well as international partners. This entails building organizations that reflect
all facets of the partnership, and mutual involvement and consultation on strategic and
financial matters and shared responsibility. As such, capacity development, building
sustainable organizations and effective as well as transparent administrations should be
understood both as ways of supporting the preaching and witnessing ministry, as well as
having a specific task of expressing our understanding of how to be in mission.
Capacity development aims to develop structures that can help to bring about the intended
results, and realize the decisions taken between Danmission and her partners. It provides the
opportunity of measuring quality while it at the same time enhances the capabilities to reach
intended goals. Danmission’s Quality Assurance Strategy is one key document in relation to
capacity development that introduces procedures and structures for ensuring the quality of
the work Danmission and her partners are engaged in.
Learning among and between partners
Mutual learning plays a significant role in Danmission’s approach to capacity development.
Regional, national and global learning forums where best practices are shared and advocacy
methodologies are deliberated and discussed is one effective way to develop capacities of
Danmission’s partners on a South to South level instead of the traditional North to South
axis. Beside its effectiveness by sharing best practises and successful methodologies in
specific working areas, it also stimulates mutual ownership of activities undertaken within
Danmission programmes. Changes in programmatic direction and strategies are naturally
related to the need of new capacities. Yet all capacity development should take its departure
from partners’ actual need and the goals envisaged by Danmission’s partners. It is therefore
important that an inclusive process that clarifies the necessities for capacity development is
initiated between Danmission and its partners. Capacity development is regarded as a
process that builds upon close cooperation between Danmission and its partners and that
moreover is ready to address new challenges with new and innovative methodologies.
The present Partnership Policy has been developed in correspondence with Danmission’s approved strategies and overall Mission and Vision. Danmission’s current partners as well as missionaries have been involved in the formulation process. It is however indicated that this policy will be reviewed after 3 years as strategies might be revised and new methodologies be developed and engaged. A partnership policy should take this dynamics into account and be open for revision.
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