This chapter considers how partnerships and partnership working, in the broadest sense of these terms, are enacted, structured and influential in relation to SfD in Zambia. The significance of partnerships emerged early in our involvement in Zambia, where it soon became apparent that much of the SfD work being undertaken in the country was dependent on the establishment and development of partnerships with other organizations operating in local communities. The fragmentation and lack of co-ordination across the Zambian SfD sector that were identified in the previous chapter also suggest that attention to partnership working is pertinent. Partnership working has also been consistently prioritized in many of the documents that emerged from the UN interest in the field. The final report on the International Year of Sport and Physical Education, for example, suggests that:
Local development through sport particularly benefits from an integrated partnership approach to sport for development involving the full spectrum of actors in field-based community development including all levels and various sectors of Government, sports organizations and federations, NGOs and the private sector.
(UN, 2006: 61)
Similar sentiments are expressed in other key documents, including ‘Harnessing the Power of Sport for Development and Peace’ (SDPIWG, 2008a) and The Commonwealth Guide to Advancing Development through Sport (Kay and Dudfield, 2013). Locally in Zambia, and subsequent to our initial interest in issues of partnership working, the Zambian government's National Sports Policy (MSYCD, 2009) also had ‘partnership and networking’ as one of its stated key principles, and aspires to develop partnerships between government departments and ‘cooperating partners, NGOs and community [organizations]’ (ibid.: 15).
The importance of partnerships within SfD discourses and practices has also been acknowledged in academic literature. Black (2010: 125) recognizes partnership as a development ‘buzzword’ that is characterized by ‘ambiguity’. Reflecting Black's characterization, the potential for the term ‘partnership’ to disguise unequal relationships between international and in-country SfD organizations is noted by a number of authors (e.g. Hayhurst, 2009; Coalter, 2010b; Straume and Hasselgård, 2014). However, there are important limitations as to the extent to which ambiguities in SfD partnerships have been explored to date. Few studies have specifically focused on partnerships and other organizational relationships in SfD, and where analysis has been undertaken, it has primarily drawn on data from international stakeholders (Giulianotti, 2011a; Hayhurst et al., 2011). The presentation of perspectives of local stakeholders by Hasselgård and Straume (2015) and Sanders et al. (2014) is relatively unusual, the latter especially so as it examines in-country relationships between SfD NGOs and (governmental) stakeholders from the broader education sector.
This chapter addresses the limited exploration of partnerships in the existing SfD literature. It does so not only through a more extensive base of empirical data, but also in examining a broader range of ‘partnership’ relationships associated with SfD in Zambia. To do so, the chapter draws from several of our research projects and visits to Zambia. Chronologically, our initial partnership-orientated research in 2007 considered broad dimensions of partnership working in respect to SfD. Our interviewees in Zambia included representatives of SfD and health-orientated NGOs as well as national policymakers and funders from the HIV/AIDS sector. Drawing on concepts such as policy networks that have been utilized in analyses of partnerships in the global North, our interviews covered the desired outcomes of partnerships, their structural form and partnership working practices.
In 2007, we also undertook interviews with representatives of Northern organizations providing funding and support for Zambian SfD. These interviews complemented those with Zambian stakeholders, who had also spoken at length about their relationships with such Northern organizations. This data was subsequently supplemented by interviews with both international and Zambian stakeholders undertaken across a number of our other research projects. Combining data from both the global North and South allows us to offer an account that recognizes both the (mechanisms of) power enacted by Northern stakeholders as well as the potential for power relations to be reoriented. While this latter issue has been commonly addressed in development studies, it has received limited empirical attention in the SfD literature (Guest, 2009; Straume and Hasselgård, 2014).
The chapter also considers more localized, sport-orientated collaboration in specific communities in Lusaka. By the time we came to undertake data collection on this topic in 2009, we had become conscious of the limited attention that had been paid to partnership working at local community levels, in both the SfD literature and in wider development studies. In part this reflected the limited time that researchers from the global North could usually spend in local communities. The 2009 study specifically focused on local partnerships in youth and community development and involved spending a month investigating these in the Chawama and Kamwala communities in Lusaka. During this time, we undertook interviews with a variety of sports organizations, schools, churches, NGOs and CBOs in these communities and we managed to observe a number of sporting and non-sporting activities that were the result of partnership working between these organizations. The lack of previous literature on partnerships at this level meant that we adopted a bottom-up and inductive approach to research in this 2009 study more as a conscious aspect of research design than in our previous studies.
The breadth of partnership relations examined across these studies is reflected in the structure of the chapter, which moves from the international to the local. Sections within the chapter cover, first, at international level, relationships between Zambian SfD NGOs and those providing support from the global North; second, the extent to which these same Zambian SfD NGOs were integrated with national HIV/AIDS structures and agencies; and, third, local sport-orientated collaboration in specific communities in Lusaka. Collectively, these sections contribute to the multilayered analysis of Zambian SfD that we aim to develop throughout the book.
International relationships with Northern donors
The provision of support by Northern donors for in-country SfD NGOs is widely recognized in the SfD literature (e.g. Hayhurst and Frisby, 2010; Jarvie, 2011; Njelesani, 2011), but in somewhat generic ways. This section provides a more detailed analysis of the specificities, mechanisms and local implications of various forms of Northern support across SfD in Zambia. While the scale of funding from Northern donors makes it a key resource for SfD provision in the global South (Akindes and Kirwan, 2009; Adair and Schulenkorf, 2014), this should not obscure the importance of other forms of support provided by Northern donor organizations. As noted by Darnell (2010a, b ), Northern donors have also contributed to the human resource base of SfD by providing volunteers from their own countries to work with Zambian NGOs. The IDEALS programme, with which our own engagement in Zambia commenced, is one such example and has provided short-term placements in Zambia every year since 2006 for university students from the UK. The UK universities involved in IDEALS and charities established by some individual IDEALS volunteers have also provided other forms of support, including the provision of sports equipment, the building of sport and educational facilities, and educational sponsorships for Zambian peer leaders. Similar forms of support have come from other Northern countries, both in Europe and North America. Such support nonetheless sits outside what one representative of a Zambian NGO recognized as the ‘dominant paradigm’ of Northern input, that of relatively large-scale financial support directed towards revenue rather than capital projects.
With empirical SfD research often being focused on specific programmes, exploration of the distribution of Northern support across different in-country SfD stakeholders has been limited. The decision of Northern donors to largely support Zambian NGOs, rather than governmental agencies such as the NSCZ, is representative of the wider trends described in Chapter 2. However, the extent to which Northern support may been provided to specific SfD NGOs, selected on the basis of particular characteristics, is an issue yet to receive significant consideration elsewhere. Within Zambia, there has been a level of continuity in the work and support that Northern donor organizations have undertaken with Sport in Action and EduSport. Our research in communities such as Kamwala and Chawama has, however, also identified a number of smaller SfD NGOs and CBOs that have rarely, if ever, received any support from Northern donor organizations. Likewise, in areas of Zambia beyond the Lusaka-based SfD hub, there are similar organizations that have received only relatively small-scale support from charitable organizations from the global North. With the internationalist focus and methodology of much SfD research, the existence of such indigenous organizations has largely gone unrecognized in the literature except in a small number of specific studies (e.g. Armstrong, 2004; Fokwang, 2009).
As well as Northern funding being focused on particular NGOs of a certain scale, Zambian SfD organizations also appear to have experienced what has been more broadly recognized as a ‘self-replicating’ process of international development funding (Hulme and Edwards, 1997; Bebbington and Riddell, 1997). As a representative of a smaller, community-based SfD organization stated:
Working with big [international] organizations needs a lot of skills because … you need to know how to write the proposals, the letters and maybe even the information that they ask. So it is a lot of paperwork, a lot of knowledge and a lot of skills that is needed if you want to work with the bigger organizations.
From the perspective of this interviewee, it was the lack of such skills that prevented his organization from accessing significant external support. Conversely, Zambian SfD NGOs that did work with Northern donor organizations found that the experience of doing so further developed their skills and capacity to do so in the future. Perhaps as a result, interviewees from such NGOs recognized that, since the early period of international funding, this had rapidly become their main source of income. A number of interviewees also identified that it had become correspondingly harder to generate funding locally (at least initially) once their NGOs were recognized as being in receipt of funds from Northern donors. The power and draw of funding from Northern donor organizations thus carried with it the potential for dependency that is much recognized in both the development and SfD literature (e.g. Hayhurst and Frisby, 2010; Willis, 2011).
As we recognized in the previous chapter, with dependency on Northern funding comes the potential for significant influence over the objectives and approaches of in-country organizations. Our detailed interview data provided considerable insight into both the mechanisms by which Northern power can be enacted, and the specifics of relationships between Northern and Southern agencies and agents. A general perspective offered by one representative of a Zambian NGO was that some Northern donor organizations were ‘so mechanical in their approach to [their] partnerships’ with Zambian SfD NGOs. This corresponded with the views of representatives of Northern donor organizations, who recognized that it was through formal accountability processes, most prominently financial reporting as well as monitoring and evaluation, that they enacted most influence.
Zambian interviewees spoke of problems associated with monitoring and evaluation systems which reflected those previously identified by development scholars. These problems included a focus on quantitative outputs rather than valued qualitative outcomes (Seckinelgin, 2004), attempts to measure complex behaviour change over short periods, the imposition of incompatible monitoring and evaluation systems by different Northern donor organizations (Kay, 2012), and the failure of Northern donors to resource the additional workload such systems entailed (Jassey, 2004). Over time, however, recipient organizations can begin to ‘internalize’ practices implemented by Northern donor organizations (Seckinelgin, 2005) and this was undoubtedly evident on the part of Zambian SfD NGOs, in their increasing recognition of the need to evidence impact and to be accountable. A peer leader working with an SfD NGO in a specific Lusaka community gave a notable example of the extent to which the ethos of monitoring and evaluation had become institutionalized, commenting: ‘so without giving them feedback over what that money is being used on then I am sure the funders will quickly quit doing that’. Zambian interviewees recounted problematic experiences when they had questioned monitoring, evaluation or accountability requirements of Northern donor organizations. Examples were given of the threatened or actual withdrawal of Northern funding owing to ‘inadequate’ administration on the part of Zambian SfD organizations, increasing the pressure to conform to Northern requirements.
The enactment of Northern donors’ power, in directly influencing Zambian SfD NGOs and institutionalizing particular forms of conduct, fits with the dominant narrative within the SfD literature. Taken at face value, the data presented thus far could be used to support Akindes and Kirwan's (2009: 242) assertion that ‘sport-in-development can also be viewed as part of an external agenda with essentially no local design or input’. This type of analysis is, however, weakened when it fails to include the perspectives of Southern individuals and organizations that are identified as being subject to such power (e.g. Hayhurst, 2009; Darnell, 2012). In this respect, research in SfD could benefit from taking account of more long-standing perspectives in the development literature. For example, Moore (1999: 655), like Long (2001) and Mosse (2004), stresses the need to gain diverse perspectives to examine ‘the micro-politics through which global development discourses are refracted, reworked, and sometimes subverted in particular localities’. A number of more nuanced aspects in the relationships between Northern donors and Zambian SfD NGOs are identifiable through further analysis of locally collected data.
Despite some criticism of Northern donor organizations voiced by our Zambian interviewees, they also recognized benefits for their own organizations of receiving external funding and support. Interviewees commonly stated that international funding, even that associated with large-scale and prominent programmes, was aligned with their own organizational priorities and therefore allowed scaling up of existing activities into new geographical areas. Moreover, because of this fit with existing plans and activities, one interviewee from a Zambian SfD NGO also identified the positive impact that international funding had on the organization's staff:
The other thing is motivation for staff – it is better now because in the past we have had so many ideas with little money and that is really frustrating. So now because staff are more motivated … and they feel good, so we have a real feel-good factor because of the resources that we are getting.
Attributing such comments to a false consciousness that overlooks Northern influences is to deny evidence of agency on the part of staff from Zambian SfD NGOs. One Zambian interviewee, speaking from an external and long-term perspective, spoke of the capacity of Zambian SfD NGOs to shape and reorient dimensions of internationally driven programmes to the needs of local communities and individuals. This capacity was related to the increasingly well established status of some Zambian SfD NGOs and also to the development of skills by these organizations’ staff, some of whom had also become more accustomed to Northern practices through spending extended periods of time in countries of the global North. That relationships with Northern donor organizations may change over time is an issue that has received scant mention in the SfD literature, partially because of the lack of long-term in-country research studies.
Other interview data regarding the relationships between Northern donors and Zambian NGOs raises issues additional to those so far identified in the SfD literature. Representatives of Northern donor organizations identified their own limited knowledge of how SfD programmes were actually delivered, and recognized that the influence of their organizations was also restricted by levels of inexperience and turnover amongst their staff. Similarly, those Zambian interviewees involved in organizing activities in particular communities declared a significant degree of local operational independence from Northern donors. This was especially the case where particular SfD NGOs had subsidiary organizational structures at community level. For example, a representative of an EduSport committee established to set up and lead activities in a specific Lusaka community stated that:
We have the control to make our own decisions. Because those people [in the central EduSport offices], they cannot decide what we want here. Us, as a committee here in [community name], we decide what we want to do and then we just give the programme to them.
While such declarations of autonomy have to be treated with a degree of caution, the organizational structure of EduSport, in this example, means that there is a long chain through which any international funding may pass before reaching those involved in community delivery of SfD activities. As Long (2001) states in the development studies literature, and as theories of policy implementation more generally suggest (Hill and Hupe, 2009), the potential for Northern agendas to be subverted through local agency increases in proportion to the length of implementation chains. As yet, in the SfD literature, Guest (2009) and Hasselgård and Straume (2015) are relatively isolated in evidencing similar implementation issues. In addition, our data indicates that this potential for local agency could actually be enhanced as a result of the distant and depersonalized relationships that have been established with some larger Northern donor organizations. Commonplace institutionalized practices, such as the choice by Northern representatives to stay in high-end hotels when in Lusaka, were identified by Zambian interviewees as impeding the development of personalized and trusting relationships.
In this regard, and finally, it is also important to recognize that Zambian interviewees also identified relationships with Northern organizations that differed considerably from those that have wider prominence and are more commonly recognized in the SfD literature. Volunteers from smaller Northern charities, especially, spent significantly longer periods in the country and, as such, developed enhanced understanding of local conditions and deeper personal relationships with staff from Zambian SfD NGOs. Such relationships were often further enhanced by reciprocal visits to Northern countries in which Zambian staff were accommodated in the homes of volunteers. Interviewees believed that these factors allowed more equitable relationships to be formed which represented ‘partnerships’ in a truer form than was the case in relationships with larger Northern funders.
Integration of SfD with HIV/AIDS policy and civil-society sectors
In contrast to the internationalist orientation of the previous section, the focus now moves to the extent to which SfD NGOs are integrated with partnership-based efforts to address HIV/AIDS in Zambia. Cross-sectoral partnerships are underexplored in both the SfD and development studies literature and, as such, the section is underpinned by exploratory research. In designing this research, we made the decision to narrow the scope of data collection to partnerships across SfD and the HIV/AIDS sector in Zambia for two reasons: first, addressing HIV/AIDS has not only been a significant focus for policy and funding in Zambia but also has been a key goal of the SfD NGOs that are at the heart of our research; second, in line with global strategies for the pandemic itself (e.g. UNAIDS, 2006), Zambian policy concerned with HIV/AIDS has strongly emphasized the importance of partnership working. For example, the Zambian National HIV and AIDS Strategic Framework 2006–2010 (NAC, 2006: 15) stated as a guiding principle that ‘controlling HIV/AIDS needs the involvement of all sectors of society through the multi-sectoral response and partnership in the design, implementation, review, monitoring and evaluation of the National AIDS Strategic Framework’.
Two aspects of the efforts of Zambia's NAC to develop a co-ordinated and multisectoral approach to addressing the pandemic are particularly relevant to this chapter. First, iterations of the National HIV and AIDS Strategic Framework (NAC, 2006, 2010 ), that guides all efforts to address the disease, are based on efforts in six thematic areas: prevention, treatment and care, impact mitigation, decentralization and mainstreaming, monitoring and evaluation, and advocacy and co-ordination. Policy development and implementation within each of these thematic areas were to be enhanced through the technical expertise brought together in associated high-level Thematic Working Groups. Second, through the broad commitment to decentralization in national HIV/AIDS policy, PATFs and DATFs were established at respective subnational levels. Again, both PATFs and DATFs were multisectoral in their composition, with the intention that they were to be an extension of the NAC at subnational levels, enabling co-ordination and advocacy amongst the range of state and, especially, civil society organizations working at these levels.
Despite the general orientation of SfD NGOs in Zambia towards addressing HIV/AIDS, these organizations were not significantly involved in the partnership-based structures instigated by the NAC. Membership of the policy-oriented national Thematic Working Groups was by invitation based on the ‘mandates, interests and technical expertise’ of relevant organizations (NAC, 2010: 19). While health-orientated NGOs such as the Family Health Trust were included, SfD NGOs did not receive invitations to participate. Local, decentralized structures were, however, more open to a wider variety of organizations. For example, the Lusaka DATFs allowed any organization to be listed as a member and arranged regular stakeholders’ forums which any organization could attend. The one stakeholders’ forum that we attended as part of our research comprised a wide variety of public, private and largely civil society organizations (both indigenous and international), whose focus covered a range of issues from faith and youth development to trade unionism. Activities at the forum mainly consisted of networking and information sharing through which advocacy work for particular organizations was undertaken. Nevertheless, at the time that our research was conducted, SfD NGOs had not engaged with the Lusaka DATF and were only beginning to consider this possibility.
A variety of reasons for the lack of inclusion of SfD NGOs in nationally mandated HIV/AIDS partnership structures can be identified. One representative of a Zambian SfD NGO recognized that his own organization had, thus far, been ‘poor’ at engaging with open networks such as the Lusaka DATF and indicated a wish to delegate a member of staff to develop such engagement. In contrast, our analysis also suggests that SfD NGOs were constrained in the extent to which they could gain membership of more high-level and policy development-orientated groups, such as the Thematic Working Groups, if not included. In part, this could be attributed to the shorter history of SfD NGOs and their lack of human and financial resources in comparison to more established health-orientated NGOs. Moreover, as Batsell (2005) suggests regarding HIV/AIDS NGOs more generally, the lack of a co-ordinated approach between SfD NGOs may have limited the extent to which they could potentially develop the influence that could have provided access to these high-level partnerships.
However, perhaps a greater barrier to inclusion within HIV/AIDS partnership structures was the lack of understanding of SfD on the part of stakeholders with direct control or influence over the membership of these structures. One leader of a Zambian SfD NGO believed that national stakeholders with decision-making power in the HIV/AIDS policy arena held a ‘traditional’ view of sport as primarily leisure or ‘play’:
For them, I think they still have that mentality of ‘play’ for the understanding of sport in Zambia. And therefore they can't think how a ball can help a child with HIV, you know [through the development of] life skills.
Interviews with senior policymakers in the NAC and the ZNAN (the key body for co-ordinating and funding civil society approaches to HIV/AIDS) confirmed this view. In one such interview, it was commented that SfD NGOs were limited in their approach as they did not provide services such as voluntary counselling and testing. There appeared little consideration that such services were not suitable for all of the age groups targeted for involvement in SfD activities. There was also little recognition on the part of these senior policymakers of the potential value of personal and social development in addressing HIV/AIDS. As with Northern donors supporting Zambian SfD, national priorities in the HIV/AIDS sector reflected an internationally influenced agenda that prioritized quantitatively measurable outputs (Seckinelgin, 2004, 2005 ). With SfD NGOs instead placing qualitative change in personal and social development at the core of their approach, the lack of alignment may have been a further obstacle to the integration of these organizations into high-level HIV/AIDS partnership structures.
While the precise benefits of SfD NGOs’ greater integration into the high-level HIV/AIDS partnership structures may be somewhat hypothetical, our data does still suggest the potential consequences of their lack of involvement. One representative of an SfD NGO wished for greater involvement in such partnership structures so that ‘we can build a case for sport in those sectors with more resources’. This represented something of a paradox, in that advocacy work aimed at overcoming important HIV/AIDS policy stakeholders’ lack of understanding of sport was predicated on access to the very partnership structures that this same lack of understanding actually constrained. Alternatively, involvement in the more decentralized and open DATF stakeholders’ forum, for example, could enable greater awareness of SfD amongst other organizations that address HIV/AIDS. In this regard, representatives of SfD NGOs suggested that the lack of understanding of their approaches extended to other NGOs and, in turn, these same representatives noted the limitations of their own knowledge of other NGOs. This lack of mutual awareness also extended beyond HIV/AIDS NGOs to other organizations addressing issues connected to education and young people. Despite international and national policies consistently supporting greater partnership working, this lack of understanding and co-operation is by no means unique to SfD and has been recognized as a ‘perennial problem’ amongst NGOs (Moore and Stewart, 1998; Laird, 2007). That partnerships between NGOs involved in HIV/AIDS work are considered to be ‘the exception rather than norm’ (White and Morton, 2005: 195) is the reason why these authors considered this issue to be ‘a critical and underdeveloped area’ (ibid.: 197).
This is certainly not to say that there was an entire lack of partnerships between Zambian NGOs or, in particular, between SfD NGOs and those from other sectors. For example, SfD NGOs worked with a number of specific civil-society organizations such as the Family Health Trust, the Red Cross and Care International. References were also made to partnerships with organizations that were faith based or focused on particular health or gender issues. The importance of such partnerships with organizations outside the SfD sector was commonly highlighted in interviews, in something of a contrast to Giulianotti's (2011b) data and Black's (2010: 127) suggestion that SfD practitioners need ‘persua[sion] to transcend the myth of autonomy’. As a representative of one Zambian SfD NGO recognized:
So we have an organization that doesn't really deal with sports activities but they deal in HIV and AIDS programmes, they deal in drug- and alcohol-abuse programmes, they deal in various issues that affect the children – human-rights programmes. So, because of the concept that we use, we partner with those different organizations. In terms of the HIV and AIDS, I think it is key.
As the quotation indicates, much of the partnership working between SfD and other organizations was orientated towards utilizing specific areas of organizational expertise to enhance particular programmes with young people. A number of examples of such partnership practices were identified, as exemplified by this representative of a smaller SfD NGO:
For example, we can organize football leagues, and we are good at organizing football leagues, and we've also got [organizations] which are specialists in HIV/AIDS. So we organize the league, they do the HIV/AIDS.
It was not just SfD NGOs that derived benefit from such partnerships. Instead, it was widely suggested that partner organizations drew reciprocal benefit from the capacity of sports activities to attract a larger number of young people than these organizations would otherwise have been able to engage with.
The orientation of these partnerships to specific programmes was an important influence on their development and characteristics. Potential partner organizations were identified and approached by SfD NGOs on the basis of the objectives of specific programmes. For example, while the examples provided thus far have been generically orientated towards HIV/AIDS, other NGOs specifically orientated to female health were invited to contribute to Go Sisters activities that were delivered by EduSport. Partnership working on specific activities was also largely based on informal negotiation and arrangements between representatives of the respective organizations. The informality of these partnerships between in-country NGOs, and the lack of associated documentation such as memoranda of understanding, contrasted with relationships with Northern donors. It could be suggested that the lack of formalization meant that some partnerships were more unstable and susceptible to breaking down if the circumstances of either organization were to change. On the other hand, the lack of formalization allowed partnerships to develop beyond the specific activities to which they were initially orientated.
Takahashi (2006) suggests that partnerships and improved communication between development NGOs may allow mutually beneficial learning to be generated, and this was evident as SfD and other NGOs worked together. Particularly in the period when SfD NGOs were beginning to be established, partnerships with other organizations supported building of their own capacity. One representative of an SfD NGO recounted:
When we came in as sporting institutions, we lacked competencies in HIV and AIDS only. We were good with sport. So we needed to be good for both. And this is where people who have already developed tools and approaches for HIV and AIDS education, we had to partner with them and they trained us.
Again, there were reciprocal elements with respect to learning developed through partnerships. The same SfD representative indicated that, as his NGO became more established, it had begun to provide support to enable other organizations to include interactive sport-based learning into their own mainstream HIV/AIDS activities. In fact, despite the competition that existed in the SfD sector, established NGOs also extended training opportunities to smaller and newer SfD organizations.
The partnerships that have been identified speak of a developing awareness and understanding amongst other NGOs of the developmental potential of sport activities that was not, however, shared by those stakeholders with a greater role in HIV/AIDS policy development and funding. In line with global priorities (Seckinelgin, 2004), applications for HIV/AIDS funding from sources such as ZNAN needed to demonstrate that programmes were based on organizational partnerships. It was only after our 2007 study that SfD NGOs did partner with other NGOs to submit and, in some cases, be successful in applications for ZNAN-administered funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. While it is unfortunate that we lack further data from the time when these funding applications were made, the continuing development of partnership working with HIV/AIDS organizations and the acquisition of funding perhaps suggest progress towards a growing acceptance of SfD within the broader HIV/AIDS policy sector.
Sport-orientated partnerships in local communities
Reflecting both our purpose of localizing SfD and the previously identified limitations of cross-sectoral research, the third and final level of analysis in this chapter concerns partnership working related to sport in two specific communities in Lusaka, Chawama and Kamwala. The first of these two communities is one of the most prominent of the particularly deprived ‘compound’ communities lying on the outskirts of Lusaka. By contrast, Kamwala is located closer to the centre of Lusaka and is relatively middle class by Zambian standards. Nevertheless, there are similarities between the two communities, with young people in Kamwala also being affected by those issues of HIV/AIDS infection, alcohol and drug abuse, gender inequality, and, more generally, lack of opportunity that are strongly evident in Chawama. The following analysis will examine the perceived importance of partnership working in such communities, the type of partnerships developed by SfD organizations and the challenges of local community partnership working. In doing so, the data allows comparative reflection on the extent to which there are particularities of sport-orientated approaches to partnership working in the two communities. Furthermore, although the development studies literature on partnership at community level is limited, reference to related studies will also allow some assessment to be made as to the broader representativeness of the issues identified.
Partnership relies on organizations having, at the very least, some form of shared interest. There were a significant number and range of different organizations in Kamwala and Chawama that held aspirations regarding the use of SfD. Amongst these organizations were SfD NGOs that, at the time of our research, were more widely represented in Chawama than Kamwala. As well as a local division of EduSport, two further SfD NGOs – Chawama Youth Sport Academy and Chawama Kids Development – were based in the former community, whereas only Sport in Action was identified as operating in the latter. In addition to these NGOs and CBOs, many sports clubs were present in both communities and representatives of some of these clubs spoke of particular developmental purposes that were central to their raison d'être. Sport was also valued by a number of other organizations working with young people for the potential contribution it could make to their specific developmental objectives. Such sentiments were voiced by representatives of government; private and, especially, community schools; and by leaders of church youth groups. Non-sporting NGOs also valued sport as a tool to contribute, in different ways, to their own various developmental objectives.
Identification of this variety of organizations gives rise to several points of relevance to general themes running through the book and also the specific issue of partnership. First, this range of organizations speaks to the difficulty of demarcating what may constitute an SfD organization. The specific local SfD NGOs are represented in the existing categorizations of SfD organizations referred to in Chapter 1 (Akindes and Kirwan, 2009; Giulianotti, 2011a). While Giulianotti (2011a) does write of CBOs, this type of organization is rarely identified elsewhere in the SfD literature. Organizations that are not solely or specifically orientated towards sport are also largely ignored as potential members of the SfD movement. More in keeping with this literature, a second point is that the majority of these SfD ‘stakeholders’ in Chawama and Kamwala could be classified as civil society organizations. Government and private schools were exceptions to this trend and, more generally, community representatives bemoaned what they saw as the limited government contribution to work with young people in these communities. While Lusaka City Council had instigated Ward Development Committees in both Chawama and Kamwala, their representatives were explicit in stating that sport remained a relatively low priority when considered alongside pressing infrastructure issues of water supply, drainage and health care.
While the recognition of specific shared goals is often understood to be a prerequisite of effective partnership (Lister, 2000), it was a broader underpinning belief in the positive qualities of sport that enabled partnership working between organizations in Chawama and Kamwala. In contexts where community interviewees voiced significant concerns about the breakdown of traditional extended family systems and community cohesion more generally, the mere practice of sport was seen as important, as it:
Gives [an] opportunity to socialize. And I think that's the main aim, to come together and socialize. There are many tournaments here. I mean, you don't have to worry about participants and the spectators, there are always some here.
(Church representative, Misisi)
Especially in Chawama, sporting fixtures were opportunities for, and results of, interaction between different schools, their teachers, and pupils who were involved as both participants and supporters. Similarly, churches arranged sports activities that were undertaken with other churches. Particular schools and churches also made a reciprocal and vital contribution by sharing access to the sports grounds that they owned. Even these seemingly limited examples of collaboration were considered valuable when the organizations involved often had limited access to facilities and few other opportunities for interaction beyond those associated with sport. A representative of a private school in Kamwala commented that ‘with other private schools we only interact with them when we are doing sports. Apart from sports there are no other programmes’. Similarly, the involvement of churches and faith-based organizations in collaboratively instigating sport opportunities was important given that these organizations were often identified as being largely insular in Chawama and Kamwala as well as marginalized in other mainstream development contexts (McDuie-Ra and Rees, 2010).
The approaches of SfD organizations to developing partnerships were also seen as exceptional in comparison with normal practices experienced by other organizations within both communities. For a number of schools and churches, SfD organizations were the only external organizations that they worked with. Some of these partnerships involved SfD organizations delivering specific sporting activities within existing school curricula and programmes organized by churches. Of even greater novelty within the two communities were efforts by SfD NGOs to co-ordinate activities across a number of schools. Such efforts were best exemplified by EduSport's ongoing organization of a weekly sport competition involving numerous schools in Chawama. Other SfD organizations in both communities also arranged more irregular tournaments involving various community organizations. While these sporting activities may appear relatively inconsequential, the importance of the co-ordination provided by SfD organizations can be recognized when compared with the lack of other similar partnerships that involved multiple organizations within either community. This difference was reflected particularly strongly by one school leader from Chawama, who commented:
I think I would like to see more co-ordination. We would find that people are not, sometimes, are not co-operative … EduSport has managed to co-ordinate all their programmes. But with these others, it's a bit difficult.
If the nature and extent of partnership working associated with sport were unusual in Chawama and Kamwala, then it is relevant to question why this may have been the case. A significant factor was the positive views and understandings held by organizations and their representatives in these communities regarding sport and associated activities. Conversely, the lack of positive views was identified as impeding the development of other partnerships. For example, the representative of an arts and drama organization in Chawama complained that:
Some of the teachers who know about art, they maybe embrace that, they regard us to be a very good tool for them as a school. But for some, for some schools which doesn't understand the importance, the impact, of art for the community, they regard that thing to be something else.
From the alternative perspective of a Chawama school that was approached by potential partner organizations, the issue of understanding was similarly important:
But with these other organizations, we don't have the full information. They just come here, now [they] want to talk to your pupils, [they] want to educate them on this one, but we don't even know exactly what they are doing, so that is a problem.
Likewise, incompatible values regarding issues such as HIV/AIDS education and condom distribution precluded partnership working between some NGOs and faith-based organizations, schools and churches within both communities. Partnerships related to sport were, by contrast, feasible because sport was commonly viewed by interviewees from a wide range of community organizations as being a less contentious activity and one that was believed to deliver a variety of positive benefits. On the one hand, these uncritical views of sport reinforce the common criticism that the neutrality of sport, and its resultant potential to contribute to both positive and negative outcomes, is not sufficiently recognized within the SfD ‘movement’ (Coalter, 2010b; Darnell and Black, 2011). On the other hand, it is important to note that the uncritical views of sport held by stakeholders in Chawama and Kamwala helped to facilitate what was viewed as an intrinsically valuable process of partnership working within these communities.
Other factors associated with sport provision in the two communities also necessitated and contributed to the development of specific partnerships. Specialist PE teachers were only present in a small number of government schools in both communities, and most community and private schools lacked teachers with the skills and capacity to deliver PE or sport. One manager of a school and centre for homeless children indicated how this lack of capacity contributed to the need for partnerships with SfD NGOs: ‘we cannot provide everything else. Yes. That's the reason why we are also relying on Sport in Action for the sporting activities.’ Amongst many schools, the sporting activities organized and delivered by SfD organizations substituted for PE lessons, and it is worthwhile to note that the potential for PE and sport to have different developmental orientations was not one explicitly recognized by any interviewee across Kamwala and Chawama. In keeping with curriculum requirements, the reliability and regularity with which SfD NGOs delivered activities in partnership with schools and other organizations was noted by interviewees, and this stood in contrast to other partnerships identified in the two communities. The inclusion of sporting activities in weekly timetables demonstrated the level of mutual commitment in partnerships between SfD NGOs and a number of schools. A representative of one Chawama school also commented that they valued the written formal agreement that they had with EduSport and that such an agreement was unique amongst their relations with external agencies. Nevertheless, partnerships between SfD NGOs and schools did not always have long-term continuity and, for example, the appointment of a new head teacher was cited as a time when relationships could break down.
The influence of individuals such as head teachers relates to an important point that connects various partnerships identified in Chawama and Kamwala, including those with a specific sporting orientation. To a large extent, partnerships within these communities were initially developed through networks of personal connections. Such personal connections were frequently described by interviewees as being similar to an ‘extended family’. The importance of these networks to the development of partnerships was particularly well captured by a representative of a Kamwala NGO:
And I think most partnerships, if we look at our history, would have started through a similar set-up – like the extended family system, where within the family we have got to tap into the other person.
Sport-orientated partnerships were also often formed on a similar basis, through the personal connections of SfD NGO staff, peer leaders and sometimes even the young people who participated in their activities. As such, the process of developing partnerships had a degree of cultural specificity, certainly in contrast to the more formal establishment of partnerships that has been experienced in the global North (Lindsey, 2014b). Nevertheless, representatives of two SfD organizations spoke of trying to implement a more systematic approach to developing partnerships, through writing to schools across the Chawama community and offering to work with them in delivering sport activities. However, this approach was still regarded as largely contingent on the presence of a teacher in the school with some existing affinity with sport and, potentially, the particular SfD organization.
It was also notable that SfD organizations were far more likely to work in partnership with community schools. More generally, co-ordination of sporting activities tended to be specific to, and inclusive of, particular types of schools. This was noted by a PE teacher from a government school who believed there was a need for improved co-ordination across different types of school:
We have private schools here in Chawama; we have community schools here in Chawama. The same football that we are playing in government schools is the same football that they are playing in community schools. So we would want to see a situation where private, community and government schools, they are together … even the sports, and the common goal is the same. We want to learn [sic] that child for the future. So it must be all-inclusive. I think that way it would be better.
The challenge of achieving this, in Chawama especially, was heightened by the fragmentation and duplication between the different SfD organizations that were based in this community. Such fragmentation and duplication were indicated more generally in the previous chapter, and were recognized on a more localized basis by a representative of one local SfD CBO:
I think, with us here, sometimes we do find … you do the similar things. For example, [organization name] do most of the things that they do, they are similar to what [we] do in Chawama. So sometimes, we will find it difficult, we will, like, clash.
As we have previously recognized, such issues are by no means unique to SfD organizations or the types of communities in which this research was undertaken. A further similarity with international development policies and literature was the call by some community representatives for greater governmental involvement and leadership for development in Chawama and Kamwala. However, local Ward Development Committees appeared to be the sole agency of government in Chawama and Kamala with the status and community orientation to take a greater role in spanning the range of sporting agencies in each community. The low priority given by these committees to sport was reflected in the alternative approach advocated by one representative of an SfD NGO with long-term involvement in Chawama:
The government doesn't stay in our community, and we are the people that know the needs around our communities. So I think it has to start with us, as [a] non-governmental organization and as a community-based organization, we start forming our close communities and then work on that.
Whether, in the absence of governmental intervention, such an approach could overcome the long-standing partnership challenges of fragmentation and duplication remains an issue only for conjecture at this stage.
This chapter has focused on partnership approaches and practices at different levels associated with SfD in Zambia. Just as we do not seek to identify outcomes of particular programmes in the latter chapters of the book, we do not seek here to undertake an evaluative approach nor make specific claims regarding the impacts of particular partnerships. Our more broadly orientated research, instead, aims to address issues and perspectives that have received little attention in the SfD literature or have been analysed in relatively isolated studies. Therefore, these conclusions seek to make a contribution to understandings of partnership in SfD as well as contribute to developing themes that will be carried forward in the remainder of the book.
Perhaps somewhat implicitly, the chapter has taken as a starting point the contributions of Biggs and Neame (1995), White and Morton (2005), and others who identify the importance of partnership working to development. Similarly, interviewees largely spoke of the importance of, and sought to demonstrate their involvement in, a range of partnerships. A wide variety of purposes of partnership working were identified by our interviewees, included some identified in specific cases in the SfD literature such as sharing knowledge (Armstrong, 2004), joint capacity building (Black, 2010), and obtaining or pooling of resources (Hayhurst and Frisby, 2010). Other potential partnership-working purposes identified from this research, although not uniformly addressed or achieved in the case of Zambian SfD, included joint delivery of activities and co-ordination of provision and advocacy. This diversity of partnership purposes adds a further dimension to the discussion at the outset of the chapter, regarding the extent to which references to partnership may be associated with ‘ambiguity’ (Black, 2010). Clearer differentiation and specificity in referencing partnership purposes and forms and issues in SfD policy, practices and future research may be valuable in developing further clarity from current ambiguities.
Beyond such definitional matters, a number of factors have been identified that contribute to both the importance and operation of partnership working. As we identified in the previous chapter, the policy impetus for partnership working represents a response to the fragmentation that is prevalent across development sectors in the global South, including SfD in Zambia. The prominence of NGOs in the SfD movement (Giulianotti, 2011a), together with the suggestion from this research that there is potentially greater diversity in the community organizations involved with SfD than is commonly identified in the literature, suggests that such issues of fragmentation are highly unlikely to be unique to Zambia. However, rather than examine relationships across a range of organizations, empirical research in SfD (e.g. Hayhurst and Frisby, 2010) and, to an extent, in development studies (e.g. Lister, 2000; Harrison, 2007) has most frequently been focused on specific, and commonly bilateral, international partnerships.
As a result, issues regarding the inclusivity, or otherwise, of partnership arrangements that have emerged in this research have yet to be significantly considered in SfD. Power relations had very distinct but significant effects on partnership inclusion or exclusion at the different levels considered in the chapter. Internationally, for example, Northern donor organizations exercise power in being selective regarding the (type of) in-country organizations that they support, and in a similar fashion Zambian SfD NGOs found themselves somewhat excluded from more extensive partnership working within the HIV/AIDS sector. By contrast, it was notable that SfD organizations and activities appeared to provide impetus towards greater integration and inclusion within our community case studies. Identification of these varied patterns of inclusion and exclusion points to an issue that would benefit from further investigation in SfD, requiring a greater scope than is feasible through programme-specific research or evaluation. Further, these findings build on and extend the analysis, developed initially across the preceding chapters and continuing throughout the remainder of the book, regarding the multilayered composition of structural influences on SfD.
Supplementing such structural analysis, the importance of various aspects of agency within SfD partnerships has also been highlighted across the chapter. This was recognized directly by representatives of Zambian SfD NGOs, one of whom spoke of the importance of developing their own partnership-working skills to ‘change and reorient people's minds for trust, on communication, you know conflict and resolution, management of risk’. Further, the chapter has also highlighted the importance of personal contacts in forming partnerships, especially amongst Zambian organizations. It is perhaps something of a paradox that while the establishment and maintenance of partnerships were dependent on the skills and contacts of individuals, partnerships were commonly formed to overcome the limitations of existing human resources within organizations. One such example was partnerships that were set up to develop capacity to deliver HIV/AIDS education as SfD NGOs emerged. Similarly, teachers’ limited capacity to deliver sport and PE within some Zambian schools was, at least in part, overcome by working with SfD organizations.
In contrast to the personalized approach that was most evident in partnerships between Zambian organizations, there was a greater degree of formalization of relationships and procedures between Zambian and Northern donor organizations. However, in working with Northern donors, there were indications that Zambian individuals and organizations developed skills to address traditionally imbalanced power relations and to ensure that these relationships are beneficial for their own organizations and communities. That such skills were developed over the period in which Zambian SfD NGOs became established reflects the need to consider the dynamics of partnership working, as do the examples of time-limited and unstable partnerships identified through the chapter. These findings are comparable to those from Hasselgård and Straume's (2015) research into SfD in Zimbabwe. We would also reach similar conclusions to theirs in respect of recognizing the importance of localized data collection in order to deconstruct and refine the predominant representation of static hierarchies of Northern power in SfD.
Finally, this chapter has continued from the last in examining SfD in the context of policies, organizations and academic research in wider development fields. The conclusions that are drawn from this analysis again point to the value of this approach and further emphasize the importance of differentiation. The development studies literature has indicated the wider relevance of issues identified in Zambian SfD and has supported more nuanced identification of, for example, the ways in which Northern practices may influence local SfD over time. Complexities have also been recognized through contrasting the constraints affecting SfD integration into national development structures with the extent to which sport and sport-based organizations may have qualities that enhance partnership and co-ordination across various agencies within local communities. Such analysis of the relationships between SfD and development, more generally, is continued throughout the remaining chapters of the book.