STAR Academic Partnerships - January 2020 Update
Each of the partnerships developed a Memorandum of Understanding to complete specific tasks or deliverables that advance global health practice. In December 2019, STAR completed the first of three Learning Exchanges with each of the partnerships to capture two baseline assessments: one on the actual partnership, completed collaboratively with the two partners; and the other on capacity building around knowledge management (KM), completed by each of the academic institutions individually. The institutions are using two STAR-developed tools, the Capacity Assessment Toolkit (CAT) and the Partnership Assessment Toolkit (PAT), for these assessments.
The CAT includes a series of seven questions to assess KM capacity within each of the institutions and to identify gaps or areas that may need improvement. The aim is to promote best practices around KM and knowledge sharing. The results from the CAT will serve as a starting point to initially address internal changes, which will lead to better generation, management, and sharing internally and with external audiences and partners. Not only will the CAT be a learning tool for the institutions, but it will allow STAR an opportunity to evaluate the time and effort required, as well as obstacles, to effect this type of knowledge capacity change.
The PAT was designed to guide the partners through a self-assessment to score and analyze the strengths and challenges within their partnerships. The PAT contains a questionnaire with statements that correspond to key components for a well-functioning, equitable partnership. Following the questionnaire, the PAT contains a discussion guide for partners and a template for creating an action plan to address issues identified during the assessment process. In the context of knowledge management, partners are encouraged to take time to think critically about the partnership’s processes and activities or “pause and reflect,” which align with USAID’s Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting approach, utilized by the agency uses to improve program effectiveness.
During the first Learning Exchange, the STAR team gained invaluable insight into the progress, challenges, and milestones that partners faced in the first two months of their engagement. The results of the first Learning Exchange will guide the second and final Learning Exchanges, planned for 2020, to refine a scalable and replicable partnership model for academic institutions globally. The first round of exchanges also offers a platform from which to invite and learn from partnerships with NGOs, the private sector, and other types of global health actors.
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