Partnership with PIN UkrainePublished: Aug 7, 2023 Reading time: 9 minutes
In 2022-2023, PIN Ukraine has partnered with over 200 CSOs and volunteer initiatives. How do we define partnerships, and why do we prioritise locally-led response?
Our Relief and Development Department's Partnership Strategy 2022- 2026 sees Civil Society & Inclusive Governance as one of the three strategic pillars of our organisation. Moreover, strengthening and transforming partnerships is one of the Strategy's organisational priorities.
For PIN, a partnership is a formal collaborative arrangement between organisations and institutions with mutually agreed objectives, a shared set of partnership principles and clear roles and responsibilities.
Who do we partner with?
Local civil society actors, including CSOs and grassroots, authorities of all levels, the private sector, think tanks, and academia, can partner with us. Following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, PIN has prioritised partnerships with CSOs and authorities; however, we aim to pay more attention to other actors in humanitarian response and development processesin Ukraine.
During 2022-2023, PIN has worked directly and through partners, covering most of Ukraine's oblasts in sectors such as Food, WASH, Shelter/NFI, Protection, Education, and Cash assistance. The overwhelming majority of our partners (around 90%) work in the east and south of the country.
Why do we partner with each other in crises?
Partnerships lead to increased long-term impact and ensure the sustainability of interventions. They also pave the way to mutual learning and growth through resource sharing and complementarity; they contribute to more effective campaigning on joint advocacy priorities. For local responders, partnering with INGOs can be a way to benefit from expertise on topics specific to the humanitarian and development spheres and connect with different stakeholders at the national and global levels. Partnerships can also bring access to direct funding from other humanitarian agencies. Meanwhile, through organisations and volunteers accustomed to local contexts, needs, capacities, and gaps, INGOs can adopt their particular knowledge and practices to quickly and adequately respond to crises. They can also reach difficult areas and innovate new partnership models.
Local humanitarian action
In Ukraine, the role of local civil society in addressing the needs of the current humanitarian crisis is immense. Efficient assistance to war-affected people is often impossible without community initiatives, volunteer groups, newly registered CSOs, well-established foundations and national networks of NGOs that work on the ground. Such groups know local needs, are well-connected with authorities, businesses and INGOs, and deliver aid to various locations nationwide. PIN recognises the significance of locally-led response and is committed to meaningful actions that support, strengthen, and amplify the work of local responders in Ukraine.
What has PIN done to achieve this goal?
- Equal partnership and participatory approach. In partnerships, PIN strives to construct shared visions and co-create joint programmatic frameworks based on complementarity. PIN is particularly committed to regular consultations with local responders to inform its operations. We advocate for necessary changes and involve our partners in the design of programmes and strategies. Further, we consider their suggestions in our project proposals, strategic revisions, advocacy activities, etc.
- Simplified due-diligence. Since spring 2022, PIN considerably simplified the algorithm used to assess our potential partners by introducing the E-PAT (Emergency Partners' Assessment Tool). E-PAT is just one of the major steps we have taken towards the localisation of our policies and procedures. E-PAT is used to conduct diligence for small/medium size and short/ middle term grants. This procedure provides the necessary analysis of a partner's operational and project capacity to implement proposed interventions. When compared with the regular assessment called PAT applied for strategic partnerships and long-term grants, E-PAT is less-time consuming and can be conducted within several working days. Thanks to E-PAT, we expanded and diversified our partnership portfolio and could start quickly responding to the needs in different locations of Ukraine already during the first months of the war escalation in 2022.
- Certificate (passport) of assessment. This document is issued to those partners who successfully complete the due-diligence process. It includes the following data: type of partner's assessment (E-PAT or PAT), watchdog results and references check, and information on the number and subjects of PIN's capacity-strengthening activities partners participated in. The certificate should help CSOs avoid another assessment by an international organisation or at least make such assessment easier. PIN advocates before the members of the international community in Ukraine the idea that the results of our and other donors' assessments should be wholly or partly accepted by other INGOs.
- Feedback and response mechanism for partners. This accountability mechanism describes how partners can share their feedback on the work with PIN and its employees. Such feedback may include letters of appreciation for constructive cooperation. However, feedback can also be complaints or allegations of misconduct or abuse exercised by PIN staff and safety concerns associated with partners' cooperation with PIN. Separate channels are established to deal with serious and less serious complaints. The former may include a breach of PIN's Code of Conduct or compromise of key policies or compliance procedures that may cause a serious legal, financial or reputational risk or damage. Conversely, the latter may be suggestions, ideas and feedback for improving work with partners: e.g., requests for partnership, training, and recommendations. All PIN's partners receive information about the Accountability mechanism.
- Duty of care for partners. The duty of care policy addresses risks PIN’s partners may face while implementing their humanitarian and development work. The policy addresses the following priorities: risk management and mitigation, the physical and mental health of partners, capacity strengthening, and joint advocacy on the duty of care. We have already provided 40 partners operating near the frontline with personal protective equipment (PPE) - 290 kits that included body armour and helmets, individual first aid kits, and tourniquets. Every organisation received at least 4 sets of PPE, equating to the number of staff members in a vehicle. The need for protective equipment remains high, and PIN advocates before other INGOs and donors the necessity to support expenditures associated with purchasing PPE.
- Capacity exchange. In the spirit of PIN’s localisation commitments, capacity-strengthening activities for CSOs aim to meaningfully balance between partners' needs in learning (expressed by them in respective surveys) and our safeguarding principles (modules in humanitarian topics, PSEA, GBV, security, Code of Conduct, etc.). The number of learning modules conducted in 2022- 2023 for partners exceeded 50 sessions on various topics. Such events were visited by more than 200 participants. Local CSOs also strengthen our capacities by sharing their expertise and knowledge. They help us connect with governmental and private sectors, introduce innovative initiatives and pilots, and conduct feedback sessions to analyse their cooperation with PIN.
- Coordination. PIN is well-connected with other stakeholders in the humanitarian response in Ukraine. As part of the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), we participate in the coordination activities in the Shelter/NFI, WASH, Protection, and Education clusters. We partner with such networks as the Assembly of People with Disabilities, the Women's Consortium of Ukraine, the Reanimation Package of Reform, and the Legal Development Network. In our activities, we encourage partners to coordinate their work with other CSOs, authorities as well as the UN clusters, and we provide support for such activities.
- Advocacy. We have advocated for a more locally-led response through various fora. These include the Ukraine Recovery Conference 2023 in London, European Humanitarian Forum in Brussels; the National workshop on Localising humanitarian aid in Ukraine (conducted in Kyiv in February 2023); the Civil Society Forum by Ednannia, HCT. In addition, we have participated in OCHA meetings with CSOs, and individual consultations with INGOs devoted to localisation. As a participant of the Localisation Sub-group of the Advocacy Working Group and the Humanitarian NGO Platform, PIN promotes local humanitarian action by providing proposals and comments to public statements on localisation. We also organise several round tables with local CSOs in different cities across Ukraine. During meetings with INGOs, PIN promotes the idea of 'passportisation' of assessment and present and explain our due diligence algorithms and capacity-strengthening approaches. As part of our localisation commitments in advocacy, we provide informational support for other INGOs entering Ukraine or scaling their activities to new regions in the country.
These and other achievements in shifting the focus towards local responders and commitments for further actions are accommodated within PIN’s policy on locally-led response (will be published on our website soon).
How do we start partnerships?
PIN is open to new partnerships; if you are interested in cooperation with us, please fill out the form and send it to the email indicated in the document. What next? The applications are analysed by the partnership and programme teams according to our strategic interests, prioritised locations for our response, available resources, and possible modalities of cooperation. If PIN can support your partnership request, we will organise a meeting to clarify the details and the next steps.
Please note that PIN does not have a dedicated grant programme for partners, except for occasional calls for proposals we publish on our website, social media, and Ukrainian civil society platforms. Please subscribe to our social media to stay informed of these opportunities.
Suppose we and a potential partner are interested in establishing a partnership. In that case, we must conduct a partner's assessment to ensure the potential partner follows sound governance principles. Partners need to demonstrate a sufficient capacity to provide humanitarian assistance to the war-affected civilians in Ukraine. We are also open to sharing our documents, policies, recommendations from other INGOs and donors with a potential partner.
Forms of partnerships
We offer our partners access to our global and Ukraine-specific expertise in the humanitarian and development spheres, collaboration with highly-experienced staff, and opportunities to connect with critical decision-makers nationally and globally. Drawing upon our experience supporting a multi-stakeholder platform called Vilnius Task Force, we encourage our partners to join us in advocating for topics that enhance the quality of humanitarian response. Topics may include efficient locally-led response, more significant opportunities for citizens to participate in the decision-making at the local level, promotion of inclusiveness and diversity in humanitarian programmes, etc.
Since PIN is a trusted partner of many global donors, we can also offer material and financial support to local responders. The former includes in-kind distributions of assistance, for example, bottled water or hygiene kits delivery to communities, while the latter refers to financial support. PIN can either provide grants for CSOs according to their proposals based on the needs assessment or co-implement programmes with partners in alliances or consortia.