Collaboration Coordinator: Partnerships in West Africa
Based at Tostan in Senegal, Khady Beye Sow is the Hilton Prize Coalition’s Collaboration Coordinator. As the Collaboration Coordinator, Khady seeks to bring together Coalition members who have a presence in West Africa. In her blog, she reflects on the origin of her position and moments of Coalition collaboration.
Coalition Collaboration in West Africa
By: Khady Beye Sow
Becoming a Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize Winner is certainly one of the greatest international recognitions for a non-governmental organization. When Tostan received this prize in 2007, it joined the ranks of organizations which have made extraordinary contributions toward alleviating human suffering. The Hilton Prize Coalition unites all of these organizations in an effort to identify synergies to advance a collective vision for a better world.
For us at Tostan, we work to empower girls, women, and communities to take the lead in the movement for human rights and sustainable development across West Africa. Collaborating with fellow Hilton Prize Laureates, we have the opportunity to share our holistic model of community-led development with more specialized organizations while learning from their work and successes. Moreover, as organizations work together, this creates greater opportunities for access to knowledge and funding to achieve maximum impact.
In my position as the Collaboration Coordinator of the Hilton Prize Coalition (HPC) in West Africa, my first task is to identify the organizations working in the region. Then, when looking at the list of the 22 best-in-class organizations that form the Hilton Prize Coalition, I ask myself: In what areas could these organizations collaborate? Where could they combine their efforts to achieve maximum positive impact? What can they learn from each other?
A previous effort to unite the Hilton Prize Laureates in West Africa had already borne great results. In 2013, what was then called the Hilton Laureates Collaborative had been the starting point for the collaboration between Tostan and Amref Health Africa on the Zero Fistula Project with the United Nations Population Fund.
It was after a meeting organized for the Hilton Laureates Collaborative members that Amref Health Africa and Tostan identified the possibility of working together in order to provide an appropriate solution to effectively address obstetric fistula in Senegal. The two organizations then officially partnered to lead a holistic project which included community-level awareness-raising, medical treatment, and training local health staff as well as the reintegration and the rehabilitation of women living with fistula. The approach for this project, fully designed by Tostan and Amref Health Africa, was integrated and holistic, taking into account all aspects of the treatment of this medical condition.
This type of partnership is what the Hilton Prize Coalition is all about. As I meet with representatives from BRAC, Landesa, Aravind Eye Care System, Amref Health Africa, SOS Children’s Villages, IRCT’s member African Centre for the Prevention and Resolution of Conflicts, Humanity & Inclusion, Women for Women International, Doctors Without Borders, PATH, Heifer, and the International Rescue Committee—all of which are active in West Africa —I realize the immense impact that Hilton Prize Coalition members have in the region.
I look forward to building the pathways for effective communication and collaboration between these organizations in West Africa. First and foremost, there is a necessity to develop a mapping of the Coalition member presence in West Africa to find out who is working where. Secondly, in order to understand which collaborations could flourish between the Coalition members, there is a need to identify the areas of expertise and the programs currently underway. Then come communications: How can we create a platform for all the West African members to communicate with each other and develop durable collaborations?
As an organization with a holistic and participatory approach, Tostan is ideally suited to bring together organizations with such a diverse range of expertise and experience across the region. As I study the work of each of the Coalition members, I am amazed by the impact and scale of their collective achievements towards improving the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people throughout the world, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to take part in advancing their collective missions for greater good.
I look forward to sharing more about our achievements as I continue to establish connections with the members and develop the next steps to help the West-African-based Hilton Prize Coalition members reach their full potential.
About The Hilton Prize Coalition
The Hilton Prize Coalition is an independent alliance of the 22 winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. Through three signature programs—the Fellows Program, the Collaborative Models Program and the Storytelling Program—the Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat, Global Impact.
To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact email@example.com. Follow the Hilton Prize Coalition on Twitter and LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.