The power of partnership

February 9, 2015
Pact staff talk with community members in Malawi.

At the heart of Pact is the promise of a better tomorrow for the millions of poor and marginalized around the world. But we know that we can’t fulfill that promise alone. We rely on partnership.

That’s why I recently spent a week at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, where global leaders gather to discuss the profound political, economic and social challenges that confront us. I had the opportunity to engage with some of today’s leading thinkers and doers and I learned that none of us have all of the answers. Poverty is a complex issue with many factors that allow it to persist. But there is tremendous opportunity when we step outside of our boxes and collaborate across sectors, industries and issues.

This is not new for Pact. Not only is partnership part of our DNA, but so is the idea that people’s lives are complex, as are the solutions for ensuring their ability to lead a healthier life, earn a decent living, and take part in the benefits that nature provides.

Pact believes an integrated approach is the best way to help people lift themselves out of poverty. You can help someone survive another day by giving them medicine. But in order to create transformational change—not just a better tomorrow, but thousands of better tomorrows—you need to address the complex factors that keep them poor and marginalized.

Listening to the global challenges discussed at Davos—food security, economic growth, environmental security, and gender parity—it was clear to me that Pact’s focus on improving people’s livelihoods, health and management of natural resources cut across so many of those challenges.

Studies have shown that people with lower incomes, whether due to lack of access to financial resources or limited livelihood choices, tend to have worse outcomes. On the flip side, when people’s livelihoods improve, they invest more in health and education. Other studies demonstrate that investing in girls’ education leads to healthier families. Healthier individuals and families are more empowered and engaged in their communities.

People want to improve their circumstances, but they often don’t have access to the resources they need to begin that journey.

Pact’s award-winning WORTH program is just one example of how partnerships are supporting that transformational journey. Working with local communities, the private sector, and local NGOs, the program builds the financial capacity of local women to start and grow businesses and save money, while gaining health education and resources.

For more than 365,000 women worldwide, it has meant the ability to provide more nutritious food for their families, help their children return to school, cover the cost of health care when someone gets sick and start local businesses. It has meant improved financial security, health, nutrition and education for their families.

At more than 830 mine sites across eight countries in Africa and Latin America, Pact is helping miners, their families and communities earn a decent living, use natural resources responsibly, and improve the health, safety, and regulation of the industry through our Mines to Markets program.

Working closely with partners, from miners to governments to corporate end-users, we work to make small-scale mining safer, more efficient, less environmentally damaging and more lucrative for the millions of men and women who’s livelihoods depend on it. In Africa’s Great Lakes Region alone, more than 73,000 miners are now earning fair market prices for their minerals and, most importantly, are able to work free from fear and violence because of Pact and our partners.

Globally, we are dedicated to realizing an AIDS-free generation by strengthening systems at the household, community, regional and national levels and providing health and livelihoods support to vulnerable populations and caregivers of orphans and vulnerable children.

In Ethiopia alone, more than 500,000 highly vulnerable children are going to school, growing healthier and getting the care they need thanks to Pact and our partners. And last year in Swaziland, we helped more than 67,600 people increase their access to health services and almost 3,400 increase their net income through our integrated HIV programming.

These are just a few examples of individual Pact programs making significant impact on multiple global challenges.

Poverty is an intractable an issue. There is no silver bullet to address the complexities of people’s lives. We need all of the tools at our disposal because when the poor and marginalized have access to the tools they need to thrive, transformational change is possible. And partnership is essential to developing a robust toolbox. That is why Pact works with partners across all levels and sectors. And why we continue to encourage utilizing the expertise and resources of others to realize a better tomorrow for the millions of poor and marginalized.