The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is creating a humanitarian and economic crisis. Amid the chaos, though, lies a simple preventive practice: handwashing with soap. During times of crisis, we must remember that handwashing with soap is a powerful tool to combat infectious diseases like COVID-19, and it is crucial for us to sustain handwashing practices and innovations once the pandemic has ended. Private-sector engagement, especially through public-private partnerships like the Global Handwashing Partnership, can play a significant role in developing immediate and long-term infectious disease solutions.
Tagged: Public-Private Partnerships
The emergence of the private sector as a development actor is a potentially game-changing trend. The reason for its emergence is clear: Official development assistance to the least developed countries continues to decrease and international human development is increasingly becoming part of the core business of corporations. But what remains open for debate is the scope of the private-sector involvement in global human development and whether corporate money should play a role in global development at all.
Partnerships between nonprofits and businesses already exist. They range from corporate philanthropy, to corporate social responsibility, to shared value partnerships. Over the past several years, USAID has established an office for transformational partnerships as part of its Global Development Lab, while organizations such as the U.K. Department for International Development have taken an approach that focuses on poverty reduction through market development and catalyzing private enterprise.
Many large nonprofits are heavily dependent on one donor stream. This means that their systems, processes and tools are geared toward providing services to their largest client, making it potentially difficult to adapt to other partners.
However, a diversified funding base can make an organization more secure, flexible and responsive. The private sector has expertise that can be leveraged to increase the impact of development programs.
This past June, Ukraine and Poland welcomed five million fans to the 24-day soccer tournament called Euro 2012. The event introduced spectators to the hosts’ rich cultures and histories, as well as their new roads, fresh stadiums and rejuvenated restaurants and hotels.
But beyond these event-inspired improvements, Ukraine is a country in need of serious repair. Old and inadequate water treatment facilities leave many citizens without clean water in their homes. Solid waste disposal still relies largely on open dumps. Seaports and airports need restructuring and maintenance. And roads and bridges show signs of years of neglect.
Lack of investment in public infrastructure is particularly noticeable at the local level. The World Bank estimates local investment needs of $25 billion over the next 10 years to fund basic housing and public services, including health care, education and transportation.
To address Ukraine’s infrastructure needs, FHI 360 is facilitating partnerships between the government and businesses to draw on the strengths of both parties. The public sector establishes the social priorities of the people, and the private sector helps finance and manage public services.
The core of FHI 360’s Public–Private Partnership Development Program, which is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, is a series of six pilot projects. Staff are currently working with local stakeholders in the areas of solid waste management, urban parking, improvement of health care facilities and services, and city park management.
In order for any of these projects to take root, however, municipal government leaders, local business owners, potential donors and the citizenry must all be on board. One study FHI 360 commissioned showed that respondents are willing to pay for services if they see a tangible benefit to their quality of life. Still, Ukrainians are hesitant to trust public–private partnerships because they are concerned about corruption and a lack of transparency.
In response, FHI 360 has launched media tours, town hall meetings, training sessions and conferences. The campaign is not only raising awareness on the benefits of public–private partnerships, it is also providing a way for stakeholders to address their concerns.
At a forum on public–private partnerships, which FHI 360 helped organize, participants discussed how the model might work in their country. Local government and business representatives also explored opportunities for future cooperation.
Yuriy Kaptyukh, Deputy Mayor of Zaporizhya, expressed his appreciation for the forum. “It has been very useful to share concrete examples of public–private partnerships being developed in Ukraine. It gives confidence to those municipalities and leaders who, prior to the forum, doubted the concept and thought such an endeavor was too fraught with complications to attempt.”