Making PRSP Inclusive
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7.1.1 Why networking?

The objective of successfully including disability in the PRS process needs strong lobbying and a well-organised national disability movement as prerequisites. This requires each organisation concerned to have a clear and conscious identity, and this should also apply at the level of the whole movement. Networking and building alliances are important techniques for any DPO or organisation working in the field of disability, as this is an effective way of gaining political weight and being heard more easily by official representatives. Sharing resources also means being more cost-efficient. However, this networking approach also entails a considerable risk: discussing with potential allies and finding consensus takes a considerable amount of time and sometimes conflicts may emerge. The challenge is to find a balance between a credible consensus and time pressure.

Several important elements are needed to form effective alliances, networks and partnerships. The following sub-sections explain the importance of organisational self-assessment as a means of providing a shared identity for the disability movement. In particular, the results of the stakeholder analysis provide key information on the importance and relationship of the different organisations and persons in the context of disability and PRS. Work on the strategy and positioning of an organisation offers stakeholders another opportunity to discuss possible alliances, networks and partnerships. Networking and alliances also require the following questions to be taken into consideration:

  • Who would be an acceptable partner in order to achieve the objectives?
  • Who might oppose or even actively reject this process?     

The power issue is at the heart of any bilateral and multilateral cooperation. However, even though this is an important issue that may promote or destroy any partnership or alliance, the subject is usually so sensitive that it is difficult to address properly. Still, all organisations involved in cooperation should be interested in making their internal and external power structures and decision-making procedures more transparent in order to avoid mistrust and manipulation. 

More information

Tool: The Ideal Approach to Cooperation

Tool: Power Mapping

The Case Studies in Chapter 4 provide differnt examples how organisations cooporated in the context of PRS

CEDPA (1999): Advocacy: Building Skills for NGO Leaders. The CEDPA Training Manual Series, Volume IX, Washington. Session Five, pp. 40-47

Harris, Alison with Sue Enfield (2003): Disability, Equality and Human Rights: A Training Manual for Development and Humanitarian Organisations. An Oxfam Publication in association with Action Aid on Disability and Development (ADD), Oxford. On pages 224 and 225 you will find a brainstorming exercise about who might be helpful, prioritisation with regard to who to contact first, which contacts already exist, who will certainly help, who has to be convinced, etc.

R. Tennyson et al. (2003): Partnering Toolbook

Frank, Flo and Anne Smith (2000): The Partnership Handbook.

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