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Session 3: Innovative Partnerships in a Time of Shifting Global Trends


Innovating Partnerships in a time of shifting global trends: practical lessons and best practices


Donors and funders encourage and promote partnerships between organizations and demand for localization is seen as both necessary and practical. The United Nations Partnership Initiative for the Sustainable Development Goals stated that “Collaboration across societal sectors has emerged as one of the defining concepts of international development in the 21st century.” The impact of COVID 19 measures created a paradigm shift in the implementation of international development support. GAC described the impact on its partnerships as a “disruptor, but it spurred innovation.”

Partnerships and localizations are not new to Canadian NGOs, companies, and consultants; we have been partnering for many years. But can we do it better? Are we investing more time, energy, and resources into our partnerships? What can we learn from the experiences of donors, private sector and the not-for-profit sector?  

This session we explore these questions by presenting the experiences and lessons learned of panelists and the audience including GAC Partnerships Unit, NGOs, the private sector and individual consultants.


Mazen Chouaib, President and CEO, CLIC Consulting

Presenters / Panellists:

Rebecca Tiessen is a Professor in the School of International Development and Global Studies and Director of the Gender, Peace and Security Collaboratory at the University of Ottawa. In 2023 she received the University of Ottawa Excellence in Education award for her work building university-community collaborations, partnership-development with local organizations and emerging researchers in 15 countries, and her innovations in teaching that facilitate student experiential learning opportunities. She is author of more than 100 publications on experiential learning, international volunteering, feminist foreign policy, and gender and development.

Alaine Spiwak is a Program Manager at Cowater International with experience facilitating, planning and coordinating international development projects, focusing on programs working in gender equality, disability and social inclusion (GEDSI), as well as renewable energy and sustainability. Alaine works with dynamic teams all over the world on projects from 10M to 60M CAD funded by GAC, DFAT Australia and FCDO UK. Alaine studied international development and political science at Trent University and went on to study her MA from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA) at Carleton University. Through participating in NPSIA’s co-op Program, Alaine joined Cowater in 2018 and discovered the dynamic and exciting role of the private sector in international development. Alaine now manages the Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT) Program as well as the SMEs Promote Resilience, Inclusion and Innovative Transformation (SPRINT) Project in Vietnam.

Marine-Celeste Kiromera is the Equality Fund’s Manager of Learning and Impact, where she leads the development of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) systems for the Global Programs team, applying feminist and community-centered approaches to the design of data collection tools, analysis, and co-creation of learning spaces. Marine-Celeste was also part of the core team that led the design and implementation of the Equality Funds first two participatory grantmaking processes. Prior to joining the Equality Fund, Marine-Celeste worked as a consultant  on a number of public health initiatives in sub-saharan Africa, including with CARE Malawi and the African Development Bank in Cote d’Ivoire. Marine-Celeste holds a master’s of public health from the University of Edinburgh and a bachelor's degree in international development studies from McGill University.