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At the IDB, we believe that together we can go farther. Our partnership network is making positive differences in Latin America and the Caribbean every day, and this blog is our channel for telling that story. Stay tuned for literature on partnership perspectives, stories from the field, changing trends, outlooks for development and the region, information on ways and opportunities to partner, and more. Thanks for stopping by.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inter-American Development Bank, its Management, its Board of Executive Directors or its member Governments.

Blah, Blah, Blah: Why Blog About Partnerships?

By - Jan 15 2015

Loud Blog 2

The concept of information overload is not a novel one. Even three years ago a Google search of the term yielded more than 7m hits in 0.05 seconds. Today, a McGill University professor tells us that we’ve created more information in the last 10 years than in all of human history before that and shares estimates that the 30 exabytes of information that existed a decade ago have increased tenfold since, reaching an overwhelming 300 exabytes today. As owners of a blog there’s no denying that Partnerships for Development is consciously, willingly, intentionally adding to the noise. But why?

As an institution that works actively to engage partners and channel external resources to Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has obvious reasons to communicate. We must attract prospective partners, give existing partners due visibility, and shed light on the results of past and need for further contributions. But communicating about partnerships can do much more than help us attain and maintain allies for development. More importantly, it can help us spread this partnership culture on an international scale, facilitating the expansion of our own work and supporting other entities as they, too, strive to partner for a greater global good.

Thus, we aren’t writing to simply to add noise to an already overcrowded development dialogue, but rather to add value by encouraging partnership ecosystems that are conducive to a greater development impact. To show you just how communicating about partnerships can make this difference, I will walk you through brief descriptions of promising development trends and how discussing them can further accelerate development around the world.

  1. As a Southern-centric Bank we speak often of growing South-South cooperation (SSC). This is visible in terms of Official Development Assistance, philanthropy, corporate social innovation, and more. LAC’s very own companies and governments are more and more interested in contributing to the region’s development, just as its Eastern counterparts increasingly look to share expertise and resources to accelerate development across the Southern hemisphere as a whole. But how can communicating about this tendency add meaningful sound to the excess data already circulating about SSC? Because our region is growing, many of its country GDPs are rising, and as such these nations have a new responsibility to help uplift those parts of the region that still face major development challenges. People often say that LAC has “graduated” beyond needing development assistance, and while the progress of these quickly growing economies indicates they may be right, it’s crucial that we identify the many development gaps that still exist. As countries whose progress has been accelerated by generous external support, these nations can pay it forward by engaging in SSC activities with their less developed counterparts. To do so, however, we must spark a dialogue that communicates just how LAC remains a fitting recipient of and contributor to SSC. Our region has both much to offer SSC and much to gain from it. By keeping LAC in the SSC conversation, we ensure the region remains part of this engagement.
  2. Philanthropic giving has massive potential for development. Studies of millennial involvement in philanthropy indicate this potential will only continue to grow, and the continuing dominance of social media as a conscience generator supports this vision of philanthropy’s longevity. Emerging channels like crowd-sourcing (where the “crowd” decides where your money goes) and crowd-funding (where the “crowd” gives back, too) have made the web a tool where giving, like information, is democratized, now accessible to actors previously unable to participate in philanthropy. Yet the common thread here—uniting traditional givers, millennial philanthropists, and social media enthusiasts—is that all of these demographics increasingly demand that philanthropy in the 21st century be impact driven. In this sense, communicating is vital in showing givers that their involvement generates tangible change. Failing to do so is failing to nurture, and harness, the philanthropic tidal wave that can help make a big dent in poverty across LAC and around the world.
  3. Lastly, the corporate world has long been buzzing with talk of shared value, a management principle that seeks opportunity for business in solving social problems. Giving companies the opportunity to engage by expanding into emerging markets, reconfiguring their value chains, or investing outside their operations to solve problems connected with their ultimate productivity, shared value is an increasingly effective vehicle for development efforts. But why should the IDB join already crowded conversations on the topic? Because our partners are championing this concept, and sharing their success means inspiring similar actions the world over. By highlighting their work and bringing our firsthand experience to the shared value dialogue, we are promoting what’s become a valuable, sustainable approach to accelerating global development.

As the IDB’s partnership office, there’s a certain logic behind how we engage the entities with which we collaborate. We identify trends in partnership and development circles, assess what’s working and what’s not, and harness this knowledge and innovation as we work with partners to finance and inform development activities. But despite all this behind-the-scenes work, failing to communicate it renders it far less valuable. We may live in an age of information overload, but sharing our partnership experience stands to create a development culture where partnerships are a mainstream vehicle for further progress. This blog is our digital space for supporting this cause and my series, of which this is the first chapter, is a narrative that strives to prove just how vital partnerships are to maximizing any organization’s development impact. Join the conversation.

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