Adapting Collaborative Approaches for Service Provision to Development Contexts: Expert Panel Results

Collaborative approaches bring stakeholders together to overcome complex challenges that cannot be solved alone. Increasingly, the international development sector has been implementing collaborative approaches to strengthen service delivery systems. The USAID Sustainable Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Systems Learning Partnership (SWS) is working to understand and improve on these approaches. As part of this effort, SWS convened a panel of non-WASH experts to rate the importance of factors that contribute to the success of collaborative approaches, based on their experience implementing such approaches or studying them academically.

This study builds on collaborative approaches literature, based mainly on experiences in North America, Europe, and Australia—such as the literature on inter-organizational collaboration, collaborative governance, multi- stakeholder partnerships, and collective impact. Development contexts pose unique challenges that likely influence the design, implementation, and monitoring of collaborative approaches. Inadequate regulatory structures, unclear roles and responsibilities, a diversity of informal and non-governmental service providers, and conflicting development agendas and funding mechanisms greatly complicate service delivery, often leading to frequent and lengthy interruptions in services.

The panel of experts convened to answer two primary learning questions:

  1. What contextual conditions, design components, and intermediate results (also referred to as “factors”) contribute to the overall success of collaborative approaches for service provision in low-income country contexts?
  2. What is their relative importance (i.e., which are essential, and which are only occasionally important)?

This brief summarizes the full journal article found here: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/12/7/2612.