Public – Private parterships in practice

During the opening of the DCHI Annual Event on October 2nd 2018, Anna Chojnacka had just shared why and how she moved from an NGO model with the 1% club, to an enterprise model with GoodUp. Anna explained how having a for-profit model has led to an increase in her impact. However, the speakers during the break-out session on public-private collaboration proved that organisations that want to make impact do not necessarily need to choose between either operating as an NGO, or as a private sector company.

Sometimes, it is about finding the right combination of both. During the Break-Out Session, Timo Schless of the Royal Netherlands Airforce described how opening up about the challenges they would face in their operations to Jasper Koeleman and his colleagues at Capgemini, led to the development of the Whiteflag protocol. The Whiteflag team is now seeking further collaboration with humanitarian NGO partners and international organisations to develop the solution in line with their security needs, ensuring that as the partnerships extend, so does the potential impact of Whiteflag.

In fact, all private partners in the panel encouraged NGO’s to approach them for further collaboration. Amos Doornbos from World Vision International shared that sometimes internally within the NGO, collaboration with private sector partners can initially cause hesitation. However, Jacek Salek of Nearshoring Partners BV and Amos both emphasised how their public-private collaboration actually contributed much to the success of Last Mile Mobile Solutions for aid delivery. Besides from this impact in the field, working on a humanitarian cause also supported high levels of employee satisfaction within Nearshoring as a result.

This was an experience that Michaël Bas from &Ranj recognized from his collaboration with Kate Radford and her team at War Child Holland as well. The successful development of the Can’t Wait to Learn programme greatly benefitted from collaboration with partners in the Dutch creative sector, and continues to rely on private sector partners for key support and advice in the current scale-up phase. That opening up to such ‘outsiders-’ expertise paid off, is demonstrated by the wide recognition the programme is receiving in the humanitarian community, even winning the public award for Best Humanitarian Innovation at the end of the day.