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Effective Partnerships Create Solidarity

What is key for a mutually valuable immersion visit?

Caritas Australia is an agency which has fifty years experiences of delivering its work through local and national partnerships in Australia and over 30 of the poorest countries throughout the world.

Our partnerships, whether with marginalised communities as an aid and development agency or with schools engaging in educational and fundraising activities, have great potential if anchored in what Pope John Paul II describes as a "spirituality of communion”. This is an ability to think of our brothers and sisters in the faith within the profound unity of the Mystical Body and therefore as “those who are a part of me”. Our partnerships with communities humble and energise us in our work as part of the social mission of the church.


Film clip- Partnership in planning

Watch the following clip and discuss:



Engagement. Definitely the folks that had more preparation- (thinking about) What does it mean to come? More reflection – how to act. I always encourage an activity- a sports or game where they can interact."
Sister Len

Discuss:

  • Who are the stakeholders in your student immersion program?
  • Have you involved all stakeholders in the planning of the student immersion program?
  • Have you asked the host community or stakeholders:
    What do you think of a group of students coming to visit from Australia and wanting to do something?
  • How have you allowed their answers to shape your program?
  • Do the activities you have planned highlight our shared humanity?
  • How have you designed the program so that students are interacting on an equal level?
  • How does the program design reinforce empathy over sympathy?
  • How might the program design reinforce the sense of the other?
  • What interactive activities could you integrate into your immersion program? 
  • How have you responded to an invitation from a community?



Authentic Partnerships Checklist:

In committing to authentic partnerships, the following aspects could be considered when developing and maintaining relationships with host communities for your global student immersion programs. Use this Authentic Partnerships checklist to consider your global student immersion program and partnership with the host community.

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  • Have you collaboratively developed and recorded the program objectives?
  • Are the objectives based on shared values, strategies, and information?
  • How were these jointly decided upon?
  • Have you established a working relationship based on a Memorandum of Understanding?
  • How long have you committed to developing a mutually beneficial program? 
  • Have you identified what information you both need to know?
  • Have you identified the most appropriate strategies to achieve your objectives collaboratively?
  • How will you facilitate joint planning? What tools can be used by both parties?
  • What mechanisms will be established for feedback?
  • How will you respect the constraints each partner may face?
  • How will you foster a genuine openness and sensitivity to the other’s needs, feelings, expertise, experience, and wisdom? 
  • How will you foster mutual respect, trust, and goodwill?
  • How will you capture the learning through joint reflection and efforts?
  • Are you seeking opportunities to teach and learn skills, rather than simply “doing for” your partner?