Is this partner right for you?
The first meetings with partners are not just about how to message your programme and manage expectations. They are also about getting to know potential partners and figuring out if they are the right ‘fit’ for your pilot. Partner selection for market systems programmes is a bit like dating, with both parties trying to make a good impression (without promising too much), while also trying to determine if the person across the table is worth their time. One way to determine whether a partnership makes sense is utilizing the Will/Skill matrix.
This simple framework can allow you to determine if a partner is ‘willing’, as in has a desire to try something new regardless of support, or ‘able’, as in they have the resources, staff capacity, and/or business acumen to see an idea through.
M4P Operational Guide, Chapter 4: Intervention
Core principles and frameworks to guide effective intervention.
This case study emphasises the importance of context in partnership selection by highlight the experience of the Support to National Malaria Programme (SuNMaP) in Nigeria.
For these types of situations, another useful tool is GROOVE’s more detailed assessment tool, which allows you compare different potential lead firms to each other.
Another way to think about potential partners is through leverage (refer back to Guidance: Vision). Leverage is a partners’ effectiveness in influencing a large number of other market actors or points within a system. Influencing others means the partner is well respected in the community or by other market actors; they have the characteristics of early adopters. We want to look for characteristics of early adopters within our potential partners, and better understand what motivates them to innovate or change.