Civil Society Partnership Playbook, Right to Play

Their Goal

Right To Play works in humanitarian and development contexts in over 20 countries around the world, in partnership with others, to deliver health, education and peace and conflict resolution programs.

In 2015, Right To Play developed a Civil Society Partnership Strategy to guide the development of organisational policy, process, systems and tools to nurture and strengthen Right To Play’s partnership with local civil society organisations in humanitarian and development contexts. The Playbook takes that strategy a step forward by providing specific guidelines for teams to align their practices with a standardized approach that includes specific processes and tools for partnership.  

What we did together

The Accelerator team provided support to align the great work of Right To Play with their partnerships with civil society organizations in the countries where they work. The Accelerator team worked with Right to Play staff in their headquarters, regional and field offices to develop a 'Partnership Playbook'.

Drawing on Right To Play's extensive experience and the Accelerator team's deep expertise working with social sector organizations around the world the Playbook was developed using rapid design and prototyping techniques to maximize input from Right To Play staff from around the world. The Playbook is a practical handbook for the use of Right To Play Country Teams, Regional Teams and Headquarters staff to use when working in partnership with local civil society organisations (CSOs) in the countries where Right to Play has activities. The Playbook:

  • Realizes the intent of Right To Play’s Civil Society Partnership Strategy in practice.
  • Guides the process of civil society partnership development and orientation to partnership principles and objectives.
  • Supports Country Teams through the various stages of partnership and in working with different types of civil society partners.
  • Serves as an immediate reference for the Country Teams, including key processes, tools and policies.
"We have shared the playbook with the 8 country teams in NORAD workshop. The country teams found the playbook very useful in addressing some of their key concerns regarding partnership development. 
It was great to hear from the team that we have delivered something that was really needed. Thank you again for your efforts and energy in developing the playbook. Looking forward to working with you in future." - Brijpal Patel, Director, Global Program Development

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Landscape research for capacity building of agricultural cooperatives in Haiti, Inter-american development bank - Multilateral investment fund (IDB-MIF)

Their goal

The IDB Multilateral Investment Fund envisions a robust agricultural sector in Haiti that delivers economic growth as well as addresses challenges to enduring social and environmental problems.  The IDB has prioritized support for strong Haitian ownership through investment in local institutions, cooperatives, private sector actors who form the long term permanent infrastructure and can reach critical populations - women, rural youth.

What we did together

To help the IDB make an informed decision about where to place their investment in local institutions to support agricultural cooperatives Counterpart International reviewed sector needs, assessed possible partners who can support cooperatives’ organizational and technical needs and developed a series of recommendations on capacity building investments that can strengthen the agricultural sector in Haiti.

The Accelerator Team conducted a capacity assessment to support agricultural cooperatives in Haiti in May and June of 2016. The purpose of the landscape assessment was to: 1) more clearly understand the current state of Haitian agricultural cooperatives, and 2) identify and evaluate intermediary service organizations (ISOs) that can provide support to strengthen agricultural cooperatives in Haiti. A total of 29 agricultural cooperatives spread across 8 of Haiti’s 10 departments and representing over 13,000 farmers were assessed using the Cooperative Capacity Assessment Tool created by Counterpart International and customized the Accelerator. The assessment included a thorough evaluation of the leading local agricultural capacity-building ISOs in Haiti. In total, a group of over 300 service providers was compiled of which 33 completed self-assessment surveys and 7 were evaluated using a customized ISO (intermediary service organization) capacity assessment tool.


Asset Based community development investments, Global Impact

Their goal

To gain a better understanding of the needs and assets in communities where companies have operations and the ways to align corporate philanthropy to support the goals and aspirations of the community that align with the assets the communities can mobilize.

What we did together

The Accelerator team implemented a community needs and risk assessment to inform the company’s social investment and community engagement strategy in Puerto Rico and Mexico.

The team pursued a layered approach to its information gathering:

  • Focus group with selected employees
  • Key informant interviews with local residents
  • Community discussions in municipalities where significant numbers of employees live and work
  • Desk research and analysis on the strengths and resources of these communities

We summarized the findings from the community inputs and offered recommendations to the company to improve its social investment and community engagement strategy in Puerto Rico and, perhaps, more broadly.


Developing an Expanded Capacity Building Program for Grantee Partners in the United States and Mexico, Paso del Norte Health Foundation

Their Goal

Paso del Norte Health Foundation (PdNHF) leads, funds, promotes and leverages opportunities to assure that all people in its service region achieve good health. This is accomplished in part through grants and other assistance PdNHF provides to nonprofits in western Texas, Southern New Mexico, and Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. A principal component of this assistance is the provision of organizational strengthening or capacity building for nonprofits, with the objective of ensuring more robust financial and other management processes and increasing their ability to promote improved health outcomes for the region.

How We Are Working Together

PdNHF contracted the Social Sector Accelerator to develop recommendations for PdNHF to consider were it to expand the capacity building support it offers grantees and other partners. We provided recommendations on how PdNHF might structure such a strategy for U.S.-based partners. Future reports are planned on how to “operationalize” this strategy, and on tailoring the capacity building program to the particular needs of PdNHF’s Mexican partners.

The Social Sector Accelerator team conducted numerous interviews with PdNHF staff and leadership, CEOs and staff of PdNHF and grantees, leaders of backbone organizations, and stakeholders and advisors as well as two surveys: one of PdNHF and one of its grantees.


Developed Recommendations for the Development of an Anti-Corruption Innovation Lab, Christian Michelsen Institute - U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

Their Goal

The U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre (U4) identified a need to question the “assumptions behind existing anti-corruption initiatives.” They note that dissatisfaction with current anti-corruption approaches is growing, and that there is a lack of evidence underpinning much of the policies and programs in this domain.

How We Are Working Together

In response to this challenge, U4 is launching an innovation lab in 2017. The purpose of the lab will be to “test recommendations, ideas, methodologies, hypotheses, and assumptions relevant for anti-corruption.” As an early step in the creation of this lab, U4 contracted the Social Sector Accelerator to conduct a study of the important factors to consider and a comparison of the options for how to organize the U4 Innovation Lab. We conducted this study integrating input from a wide range of stakeholders so that U4 has the data it needs to ensure that its lab is of maximum relevance and utility for the people it hopes to serve. We conducted 22 interviews of donors, anti-corruption practitioners, researchers, and lab leaders. We also worked with U4 to map its key stakeholders and undertook a wide-ranging literature review.

In our report we explore the problems innovation labs are generally meant to solve, and identify common pitfalls facing new labs and their parent organizations. We developed case studies of different lab structures to help illustrate the range of possibilities available to U4. We presented some of the key structural considerations when establishing a new lab and some of the challenges and opportunities specific to U4 and the anti-corruption domain.

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Grants management redesign and platform development with improved Partners qualification research, civicus

Their goal

CIVICUS seeks to strengthen civil society and citizen action by enhancing (through some form of pre-qualification) CIVICUS members’ ability to access resources from donors and international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) as well as opportunities to collaborate/partner in local projects/programmes, among others. In 2017, CIVICUS commissioned the Accelerator team to develop a customized grants management process and platform to better serve grantee partners in the Global South.  The platform builds on research conducted by the Accelerator team to better understand the ways different organizations qualify potential partners before investing or collaborating with them.

What we Are doing together

Developing and managing a new grants management process and platform for grantee partners in the Global South to lessen the burden on social sector organizations while improving the verification process for donors. Launched in 2018, the Accelerator system was built on the GivingData platform. The Accelerator team administers two grant programs for CIVICUS with 21 grantees and a grant pool of 750k. 

For the partner qualification research, the Accelerator team identified 60 organizations, companies, platforms and initiatives who vet or qualify partners in some way before they work with them. The team developed a matrix which identified the different approaches - who they verified, why they verified, what they verified and where possible how they verified.  This review was supplemented by 10 interviews with organizations vetting their partners.  The research identified different approaches, tools and platforms enabling verification and innovations in the verification process. 

Our partners - Agrofrontera and the Arrozeros of Montecristi

improving coastal climate resiliency - Dominican Republic, macarthur foundation and paul and Maxine Frohring foundation

Their goal

Develop community led approaches to improving coastal climate resiliency in the face of sea level rise and the increase in storm intensity.

How we are working together

After working on community led and science based coastal climate resiliency projects in Dominican Republic for over a decade the team developed an innovative approach to building the capacity of leaders, institutions and the constituents they serve in the Dominican Republic to be able to transform the way coastal communities manage their natural resources for sustainability and improve livelihoods.

To increase resiliency in the Dominican Republic, our goal is to improve the provision of sustainable climate-resilient services by coastal communities by working with public and private sector leaders to 1) strengthen the national level resiliency operating environment; 2) enhance capacity of local institutions to formulate, advocate for, and implement improved coastal climate resiliency strategies and programs; and 3) increase youth opportunities for coastal conservation education and engagement.

The Framework is implemented by a team including the University of Miami, Punta Cana Ecological Foundation, Oregon State University, AgroFrontera, Learning Streams International, the Center for the Conservation of Samaná Bay and its Surroundings (CEBSE), and the Marine Biology Research Center (CIBIMA) of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo. These partners will provide technical expertise to support international best practices to communities, policy makers, and private sector leaders in scientific research and evidenced-based project design and implementation.


facilitating innovation, counterpart International

Their goal

To engage in high quality design sessions to develop new programs and capture learning to improve approaches and methods that build the capacity of individuals, organizations and networks.

How we are working together

The Accelerator team supports staff and programs at Counterpart International - sharing research, new approaches to organizational strengthening and facilitating learning opportunities.


Inspiring change, supporting youth and developing solutions, IPKO Foundation

Their goal

To seed and support the next generation of leaders in Kosovo with a digital vision.

How we are working together

Teresa Crawford, the Accelerator's Executive Director, is the co-founder and managing board member of IPKO Foundation. She works with a team to design and implement high quality programs that serve the youth of Kosovo with a focus on technology and innovation.