KEY CONCEPTS BEHIND PONT/CAP.
The key concepts we have developed so far include:-
1) Partnerships should be based on personal contact between corresponding professionals so that trust and capacity can develop before funding is introduced.
We have found there is a huge resource of concerned professionals who given the right framework are prepared to pay their own fare to Africa, if only they feel they can make a real difference.
2) Building a sound strategic framework with good workable ideas is far more important than any organisational model, since professionals will develop their own projects and spheres of influence if presented with the right opportunities.
3) Keen individuals who start up PONT type organisations as volunteers should be encouraged to involve official institutions (such as the LHB, university, hospital and district council) so that funding can be channeled through these bodies (and be subject to their standards of scrutiny and spending review). This also allows the organizations to release further expertise in management, administration, planning, accounting etc.
4) Community twinning groups should be encouraged to involve the whole community to increase awareness and public support. This means that if a twinning is started from official institutions first, they should seek to set up a PONT type group as well. It also maximizes benefits to the UK community as organizations develop closer working relationships within their own towns/ regions.
5) Health care should not be seen as a single isolated issue, but should be put into the context of all 8 Millennium development goals by inviting teachers(to improve education), engineers (to provide clean water), churches (to help support orphans and alleviate poverty) and councils (to look at roads, drainage, infrastructure etc. I feel this is best achieved by holistic community twinning of the sort we are aspiring to with the Gold Star initiatives. This leads to a synergy in terms of the effectiveness of the individual professions.
6) In choosing who to work with overseas, we feel it essential to involve the indigenous NGO's in partnership with local/regional government departments. This is especially the case in primary care links, orphan support, water provision, etc. but obviously less so with hospital and schools links. This leads to increased capacity and minimises opportunities for corruption.
7) Integrating district/regional Government and Non Government Organisations together in a coalition would appear obvious, but seems all too infrequent unless outside influences act as a catalyst. Such a coalition forms a robust organization to enter into partnership with. It prevents duplication, provides joined up thinking to maximize use of local resources, allows planning for geographical coverage of most needy areas, builds capacity, shares best practice, encourages good governance and ensures sustainability.
8) The resulting overseas network should be fully “owned” by our overseas partners, should be responsive to local needs, and be in accordance with national guidelines and programmes
9) Emphasis throughout should be on training of individuals and capacity building, rather than capital funding or projects delivered in isolation by UK partners
10) Monitoring and evaluation of projects are essential to determine effectiveness and help in future planning.
11) Sharing best practice with other likeminded organizations in the UK is both a privilege and a duty. Such a network is developing within Wales, and is bringing the benefits of shared learning to all members. We have been greatly facilitated in this by the support of the Welsh Assembly Government and the CMO in Wales.