Partnership criteria

Partnerships are one of the main forms of Kepa's work in the South. When we select our partners, we follow certain mutually accepted guidelines, basic principles and criteria.

While working with local CSOs, we wish to contribute to creation of a greater balance between the state, private sector and civil society, develop local democracy and widen the role and understanding of the importance of citizenship. We also wish to create joint wisdom on how to demand and influence changes that will address structural causes of poverty and inequality.

General objectives for partnerships

  1. Strengthening local civil society: Kepa's partnerships support Southern civil society actors as innovators, watchdogs, lobbyists, representatives, coordinators, strengtherners or promoters of civil society in national and international processes. Kepa aims to support its partners to successfully influence political processes in their own country or at international level with the view of contributing to eradication of poverty and inequality in the world.
  2. Supporting Kepa's work in Finland: Dialoguing with Southern civil society is an important element for Kepa's analysis, advocacy work, role as a CSO platform and learning with our members. Kepa uses partners’ views, experiences and analysis to improve the relevance and quality of its work in Finland.

Basic principles for partnerships

In all partnerships, Kepa respects the partner's autonomy and identity and won't impose an external agenda on them. Kepa can partner with both establised and emerging organisations, however most of our partners have been strong and well-established organisations.

Partnership for Kepa means mutually beneficial relationship between the two parties. Ideally, the parthership will grow on the basis of mutual respect and equality into a long-term relationship.

Due to our definition of partnership as well as limited funding resources, Kepa does not consider itself a donor and does not work as a donor. Instead of large budgets Kepa can contribute time and human resources. Our aim is to build an equal relationship, instead of traditional division in project world between the donors and the implementers.

Kepa emphasizes mutual learning and interaction between partners. Time and willingness for cooperation, reflection and functioning communication are needed together with transparency, honesty and trust to reach the aim of equalitarian and trustful relationship. Genuine partnerships develop over time and often they start with joint activities and develop into deeper relationship of institutional support and joint learning and reflections. 

How partnerships are established?

Institutionalised partnership between Kepa and a Southern partner is formalized by signing a Partnership Agreement that can have the maximum duration of three years based on Kepa's own funding cycle. The agreement can be renewed as long as the criteria is met and the partnerships are beneficial and relevant to both parties. Minimum period of partnership agreement is one year.

The Partnership Agreement is based on the joint discussions between the partner and Kepa, and defines the responsibilities and procedures between the partners. We are not using any formal application forms or organize open calls for new partners but partnerships are normally established based on our interaction with different CSOs, networking, and some level of cooperation before the actual Partnership Agreement.

Criteria for partners

The criteria for partners is more or less a guiding tool for us when we are looking for new partners.

  1. Partner is either legally formalized civil society organisation or in case of unregistered civil society network, one of its members will be an official agreement party.
  2. Partner is committed to achieving social/transformative change in the society and has goals aiming at these changes.
  3. Partner is willing to engage in cooperation and possible joint learning with Kepa and values the benefits the partnership can bring.
  4. Partner works in one or more Kepa thematic areas and would preferably have the capacity to do analysis of the topic.
  5. Partner has a sufficient level of institutional capacity to adopt adequate financial reporting procedures, as defined in the Finnish law on state subsidies and other legislation binding Kepa.
  6. Kepa's financial support is needed and relevant for the partner.