Our Approach Building strong relationships with local organisations

Building strong relationships with local organisations

​Why locally led partners?

We believe that organisations established and led by people within their communities are best placed to achieve positive change with and for marginalised children. They have an expert understanding of the context, speak the language and understand the cultural and social norms that impact on children’s lives. They have a long-term commitment to achieving positive change and equality in their communities. When children see others from the same culture and community succeeding and leading, it inspires them to aim high, too.

Partnerships promote sustainability and equality within our projects and provide an opportunity to strengthen everybody’s capacities, support local initiatives and create long-term relationships. We work with a partner on their agendas to address local issues.

​How do we develop partnerships?

Our partners go through a careful and rigorous selection process - we work out the two-way benefits of a working relationship before we commit. We and our partners are independent organisations. We each have our own agenda and set of priorities and we must be a good fit for one another to maximise the scope of our joint work to improve the lives of children.

What is the added value of working together?

The benefit is two-way. We gain a lot from the relationship. Colleagues in partner organisations understand children’s contexts and lives and can identify and reach those children who may otherwise be missed. Local solutions are identified and applied in a relevant and cost-effective way. As an international organisation with its own areas of expertise, we bring new learning to bear on our joint work, making children’s environments safer and enabling voices and issues to be heard on a wider stage. We support organisational development and increase access to new opportunities. Together, we are better able to influence change and have higher impact. Our approach is also excellent value for money, as we do not have expensive in-country infrastructure like cars or programme offices.

Partnership development process 

We have developed a model of mutual support that strengthens both us and the organisations we work with. Crucially, we start by understanding each other’s agenda and generating programmes with shared priorities. We have many things in common. We all recognise the vital role of family, the value of education and learning, and the importance of a safe place to sleep, live and learn. We know that children need sufficient nutritious food and that both their physical and mental health and wellbeing are important if they are to thrive. With many essential services out of reach without formal proof of identity, like a birth certificate, we recognise the importance of children’s identity and a positive place in society. All of these areas need to sit within systems and policies that recognise the values and rights of all children.


We recognise that, to deliver best for children, our own organisations need to be strong. Working across several areas of collaboration, we build alliances that are well placed to meet the needs and aspirations of the children we work with, at the same time as meeting high quality standards of governance, accountability and management.

​Children guide us 

What is non-negotiable for us is putting children at the very heart of all this work. We are committed to involving children in the planning of programmes that affect their lives. When choosing our partners, we look for organisations that consult with children and are happy to be guided by them. Children are the experts in their own lives and can teach us so much about how they believe their problems can be addressed. We are committed to creating a world where children’s ideas and ambitions are listened to and where they receive the support they need to realise their dreams and potential.

Child safeguarding and protection

We support children and young people who face the worst forms of injustice, violence, abuse, and hardship in Africa and Asia. Working in high risk situations, children and young adults may be more vulnerable. Through our work, we aim to ensure that all those who come into contact with children and young adults are aware of the duty of care to ensure no harm comes to them. We are committed to child protection and safeguarding, protecting them from harm, exploitation, or abuse while ensuring their well being and rights are protected. Their safety and protection is our priority.

​New models of safeguarding 

We are responding to the changing donor and international development environment. More of our donor applications are being led by our partners and supported by us, putting ownership of the work firmly in the hands of the local partner. We are developing more projects that focus on learning consortiums and collaboration.


We have built our international child protection training and consultancy business with bases in six countries, led by agencies with years of expertise and in-country experience. This will harness the wealth of expertise that our global network holds in the areas of child protection, safeguarding and children’s participation. With this approach, we believe we can create greater impact in promoting child protection and combating child exploitation by supporting the growth of expertise and knowledge of the whole international development sector.’

Find out more about work 

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