The spirit of collaboration and cooperation were at the fore at the recent BRIDGE Partner Committee Meeting in Sydney, Australia, with true ‘partnership’ being the overwhelming theme of the meeting. The first year of BRIDGE with the two new partners – IFES and UNDP – suggests that BRIDGE will have a positive 2009 with mutual benefit for all, but most of all for BRIDGE clients.
The forerunner to the Partners Meeting was a four-day, highly invigorating Implementation Meeting which was attended by creative and lively key BRIDGE practitioners and implementers from all around the world.
That meeting morphed into the Partner Committee Meeting and the spirit of collaboration and cooperation which had been demonstrated time and time again throughout the week was again in full force. In previous Partner Committee Meetings, each partner has presented their past activities and future planning as separate entities – not anymore! IFES and UNDP gave a joint presentation that outlined their challenges, achievements and future plans for BRIDGE, highlighting their synergies and cooperative efforts. This was followed by presentations by International IDEA and the AEC, both of which provided myriad examples of "Partner partnership" both in the past and in planning for the future.
An excerpt from the Partner Meeting Minutes recording the joint presentation by IFES and UNDP says it all:
‘It was noted that the generous feeding back of information, continuous communicating, and stepping in to complement existing programs, has contributed to the success of BRIDGE’.
It seems the spirit of relationship-building; teamwork and collaborative communication in the field are going to be the catch cries of 2009 for BRIDGE Partners. This will only be strengthened by a proposed regular and open communication channel between the partner focal points and the BRIDGE office. Remember good quality communication between all the players leads to the happiest of marriages.