There is widespread consensus that in partnerships for development, donors, and international NGOs have too much power, and NGOs in the South too little. Despite this consensus, the power imbalances persist. Apparently, it is hard to put the principles into practice. Why is this the case, and what can be done about it? These are the core questions addressed in the Shift-the-Power Lab.
The idea of establishing the Shift-the-Power Lab emerged from a series of workshops organised by Partos, Wilde Ganzen, CIVICUS, and facilitated by The Spindle. The initiative is considered timely against the backdrop of new partnerships being formed in the framework of the Power of Voices Program of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Shift-the-Power Lab decided to develop a tool to make power more visible, enabling partners to analyse and reflect on their power relations. The idea is that if partners have a better understanding of the way power works in the partnership, they will be in a position to shift the power in accordance with their shared principles.
Recently, six organizations tested a prototype of the tool (insert link to prototype) including Amref, Cordaid, ICCO, the Kenya Community Development Foundation, Mercy Corps and Oxfam Novib. Preliminary findings indicate that the prototype is performing to expectations. The findings of the tests will be shared in a workshop on 6 February. Before the end of February an updated and improved version will be developed and presented in this space. The tool has been translated in Spanish and French.
The Shift the Power Lab currently consists of: RNW, Mama Cash, Mercy Corps, Choice, Wilde Ganzen, KCDF, Amref, Hivos, Oxfam Novib, Cordaid, ICCO, Simavi