To achieve the SDGs, building partnership models which are long lasting, scalable and transformative, and which create shared value will be key. Already, traditional boundaries between the sectors have become blurred, with a less direct role for governments and a wider governance role for business and civil society. Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO of Plan International writes that her organisation is already working closely with the company Accenture and others to lay foundations for transformative social and economic change. One of their focuses in their partnership is to address the massive challenges with youth unemployment in developing countries. Plan International understands that it is also an opportunity if nations and institutions can harness the tremendous power and resourcefulness of young people, they can be part of the solution to one of the world’s most pressing problems.
Creating shared value in east Africa
In Uganda, this vision had led to A Working Future initiative co-created by Accenture Development Partnerships and Plan International to support youth economic empowerment through innovative collaboration across all sectors. With funding and technical support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, a wide ranging partnership – including a number of local businesses – has been formed to change the lives of young people in rural Eastern Uganda by providing them access to financial services, teaching them critical skills, and linking them to work opportunities.
The private sector has been invaluable at every stage, from the design of the programme to the delivery of training. Combined with Plan International’s grass roots reach and access, rights based approach, trusted community level relationships, technical expertise and local networks, as well as other partners’ contributions, the outcomes are already that over 12,000 young people have benefited from the programme.
Collaboration – working together – was according to Albrectsen one of the core objectives of A Working Future from the start, much more than simply benefiting from the each other’s resources and capabilities. The initiative is a model for the kind of partnerships she believes will be increasingly important in coming years. She emphasizes that different sectors should be open minded about working together, not afraid to take risks to collaborate in new ways, and to ensure the lessons of these partnership models – good and bad – are shared widely.
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