Catalyst 2030 Systems Learning Series
Catalyst 2030’s Systems Learning Series recently featured two powerful discussions on Working with Government. Debbie Brock, Catalyst 2030’s Systems Learning and Development Facilitator, coordinated the sessions which offered social innovators critical insights into the benefits of collaborating with government and how to proceed.
If you’re interested in scaling and accessing the resources that governments represent, be sure to watch the video recordings of the Working with Government sessions. Experiences Fostering Collaborations with Governments from the Field was chaired by Andrea Coleman with speakers Therese Drammeh and Jacob Matthew and Fostering Collaborations with Social Entrepreneurs was moderated by Chitra Hanstad with discussants Claudio Colantoni and Yussuf Sane.
To change the system, work with government
The notion of working with government presents a dilemma to organisations whose work was often initiated in resistance to the state. But, as Chitra Hanstad reflected when working on programmes that had social and political ramifications, “I realised that if we want to address the systems part of an issue and why this problem (is) existing, then you have to work with government.” This approach has enabled Chitra and her organisation to influence significant changes in policy.
Critical for scale
In Jacob Matthew’s view working with government is critical for scale. He presented the example of the Indian government’s recent announcement of $9 billion for women’s empowerment through productive enterprises for the next year. Now, he says, they’re asking for ideas.
Tips from the panellists
- Identify governments’ objectives and determine whether yours are in alignment. Find out government agendas from budgets, plans, programmes and welfare schemes.
- Find out who is implementing the programmes and at what level of government. Then build relationships with them.
- If your objectives don’t align with government, it will take a long time to convince them . In this case if you want to shift the needle you need to take an ecosystemic approach, and you might actually have to build the ecosystem.
- Government is more receptive to groups, coalitions and so on. They prefer to deal with an entity that represents certain interests, rather than individuals.
- Build relationships with government to present innovations if there is a need but finding a solution is not on government’s radar.
- Be ready to scale, as government’s needs might exceed your capacity.
- When you have a track record, you can showcase this to government.
- Once your service is proven, government is more likely to consider long-term support.
- The approach should be win-win- win: a win for the government, for the organisation facilitating programmes and for the community benefiting from programmes.
- Once you’ve proven yourself at advancing governments’ interests, you become an authority in that subject matter and government is more likely to consult you as an expert.
- Capture data to track programmes from start to finish so you can assess programmes against government objectives and offer measurable data. This reflects impact to government and will help them measure their own programmes.
About the Systems Learning Series
The Systems Change Learning Series aims to boost, support and enhance learning for Catalyst 2030 members. Session and workshop recordings, presentations and other related resources can be viewed in the Systems Change Learning section of the Catalyst 2030 website.