Inclusive Partnerships Training

In the area of not-for-profit cooperation, all too often tensions arise between international programme partners once the funds have been secured and the programme implementation is well underway. One reason for this is that the programme partners have insufficiently clarified from the outset their own work ethos, communication preferences, and mutual expectations. Besides, donor-driven programme management requirements and reporting structures are often not flexible enough to reflect in particular the implementing partners’ values and expertise, as well as the changing realities in the countries of intervention.

Whether your organisation has formed a consortium under Dutch MFA funding or other funds, you have certainly asked yourself: how can inclusion be embedded in our programmes’ daily work? The proposed training helps increase knowledge, awareness and skills that are needed for inclusive partnerships.


Together with gender equality, inclusion is one crossing theme of the Strengthening Civil Society Policy Framework at the Dutch MFA to improve the situation of discriminated groups in the countries of intervention. Importantly, the new Policy Framework has established inclusion also as a key-factor shaping the partnership process with local organisations and target groups, facilitating their participation in programme design and implementation.


The training Inclusive Partnerships aims at reinforcing your capacity to put inclusive cooperation into practice within your consortium.

You will improve your skills of cooperating with people from various backgrounds (e.g. national, ethnic, professional, generational, gender-based) and dealing with differences in each phase of the programme. As a result, your consortium will be consolidated, performing better and emotionally robust. By the end of the training, you will have achieved the following objectives:

•  To increase awareness and communication competences about the – often implicit – values which you adhere to and expect from your partners in programme work.

•  To navigate the complexities that are related to conflicting interests, diverging concerns and power relations impacting the programme.

•  To improve skills and methods to embed diversity in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of your programme.


Whether you are in the stage of setting up a consortium, or are already implementing together a programme: to be embedded, any vision and action plans should be sustained by a set of competences applied on daily basis. Improving competences in intercultural management and communication of all partners forms a powerful ground to achieve inclusion. The proposed training helps organisations increase precisely these competences. Departing from various expertise, values and expectations that are duly acknowledged, you enhance your ability as a consortium to build a trust relationship in which willingness to understand each other better and openness play a key-role:

How much time and synergy would your project gain if diverging views and misunderstandings on responsibilities, constraints, time and crisis management or reporting duties, have been discussed and can be addressed well in time?

Awareness of your own and your partner’s work values and preferences, knowledge of the impact of culture on communication, and skills to address differences successfully will help you iron out such issues. Otherwise, insufficient alignment and communication between the partners may lead to implementation delay, budget excess, and frustration accumulating from all sides as the programme goals threaten to be insufficiently met.

To prevent these mistakes, the consortium members have to reflect on, and align, their cooperation practice from the very moment a programme is being designed down to evaluation. Intercultural management and communication competences are ideally developed before the proposal writing phase, or alternatively as an activity deployed during the kick-off phase. It is also advisable to plan structural reflection moments during implementation to monitor not only the programme’s progress, but also the partnership itself. This exercise can be done using qualitative and participatory methods focusing on the behaviour change of partners. As a result, the consortium produces a joint, evidence-based understanding of the perceivable changes happening in the partnership, which forms a basis for informed and consolidated action.


In order to acquire these competences for a strong and inclusive partnership, you and your partners join a learning process divided in six modules:

1.  Introduction: challenges and best practices of inclusive partnerships

2.  Intercultural competences for inclusive partnership management: trust, joint culture, appropriate participation, leadership, knowledge and practices sharing, Power Awareness Tool

3.  Intercultural competences for stakeholder management by partners: from mapping and understanding the ecology of your programme to handling differences (e.g. Stakeholder and Network analysis)

4.  Participatory monitoring and evaluation methods of partnership (e.g., Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI), Outcome Harvesting, Narrative Assessment)

5.  Inclusive programme management phase by phase for a robust partnership

6.  Conclusion: embedding inclusion: recap and work plan

Balancing online and offline activities, the training includes real-life cases, insights from neurology, and simulations. It also provides the opportunity for you to work on your own partnership process. For optimal results, you participate in the training together with key consortium partners to sustainably shape your cooperation process.


Manon de Courten is an experienced trainer and lecturer on intercultural management and communication. For her trainings, Manon draws on her experience as a project manager in the civil society sector and an evaluator of advocacy for human rights cooperation programmes. Being context-sensitive and fluent in four languages, she successfully engages with various stakeholders, ranging from community representatives to government officials.

Please feel free to discuss with Manon your organisation’s needs. The training contents can be adjusted as to suit your desirable time investment and planning optimally.