I am looking forward to seeing you at the AIB meeting in DC in a few weeks. Given the overall theme of the meeting, and the keynote presentation by Ray Offenheiser, President of Oxfam America, who will be discussing Oxfam's collaborations with the private sector to achieve development goals, I thought some of you might be interested in a case I co-authored with Ted London and Vasilia Kilibarda, Building and Scaling a Cross-Sector Partnership: Oxfam America and Swiss Re Empower Farmers in Ethiopia, published by the University of Michigan William Davidson Institute GlobalLens case collection. The case won second prize in the annual Oikos case competition for corporate sustainability, and draws from both secondary and primary data, including extensive interviews with all of the major players in what was a fascinating journey for both organizations. There is also a detailed teaching note available, which includes an appendix that outlines key insights from the literature on cross-sector partnerships.
Building and Scaling a Cross-Sector Partnership: Oxfam America and Swiss Re Empower Farmers in Ethiopia
Swiss Re, a large global reinsurance company, has partnered with Oxfam America, an international relief and development organization, to provide the poor with risk reduction support. The partnership's evolution shows students many common inter- and intra-organizational challenges. For example, the need to overcome internal biases, adapt to organizational differences, and build the capacity to learn from one another. Students will experience what is required to maintain this type of relationship, as well as understand adjustments needed when partnerships scale. long-term commitment to an ambitious vision of scale. Oxfam wants to expand substantially in Ethiopia as well as enter three new countries in the following years. While many cross-sector collaborations reach the pilot stage, scaling offers a new set of challenges. Oxfam's next step is to ask for Swiss Re’s
Teaching Points: In examining this case, students will be able to: