The Hivos Southern Africa partners under the Green and Inclusive Energy (GIE) project in Zimbabwe met to map out how to consolidate and strengthen the consortium. The organisations represented in the GIE project include Action 24, Development Reality Institute, Media Institute of Southern Africa, ZERO, Zimbabwe Women Centre and Resource Network (ZWRCN).
The aim of the meeting was to help build a common understanding, and harness the knowledge on energy among the partners. Representatives from the partner organisations were take through the World Cafe methodology which enabled them to engage in collaborative dialogue, sharing knowledge and action plans.
The Strategic Partnership on GIE is a joint initiative of Hivos, ENERGIA and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for five years starting in 2016. It aims at strengthening civil society organisations in low and middle-income countries to lobby effectively for making energy systems more green and inclusive. It is based on the assumption that strong civil society organisations make it easier to hear citizens’ voices.
The lobby and advocacy has two main prongs: 1) speeding up the transition to green, decentralised energy systems; and 2) making energy systems more inclusive.
"Building a partnership takes a lot of effort from all those involved. It often takes a considerable investment of time to build the high quality working relationships that underpin effective collaboration," said Reginald Mapfumo, Project Manager Energy, Hivos Southern Africa.
"Forming the partnership is a good approach to not only increase capability but the reach of the issues around inclusivity of renewable energy systems that we want to advocate."
The meeting provided an opportunity for the partners to really get to know and appreciate each other as well as plot a calendar of events and opportunities to work together. The partners also managed to identify gaps in the collaborative plan of action that are key to the kick off of the project such as a thorough analysis of energy policy documents in Zimbabwe using the GIE lens.
Through the conversations, partners also identified points of actions where they will collaborate to increase impact of interventions. It was also agreed in the meeting that partners will employ similar branding for the project as well as follow a joint communications protocol to avoid conflicting messaging.
During the meeting, partners plotted their actions against a timeline which culminated in the development of a GIE Zimbabwe masterplan. It was agreed that a launch of the programme in line with Hivos’ Project Management Way of Working (PMWoW) and the GIE Zimbabwe Theory of Change will be held in the first quarter of the year.
“This was a key step in the trajectory of the GIE partnership in Zimbabwe. We now have a solid foundation. Going forward, we will be able to work together from a common understanding, said Archieford Chemhere, Director at Action 24.
Based on the shared plan of action, a communication plan will be developed with input from the partners. A document outlining the principles of the partnership will be developed and shared among the partners to strengthen the collaboration.