Women Deliver: Powerful Networking for Impact

By Carren Liando

An authoritative fact I have learned is the power of networking through being a delegate of the first physical Women Deliver 2023 Conference post Covid-19. The conference provided me with a unique platform to connect with various organizations, ranging from grassroots to global ones. This opportunity allowed me to build relationships and connect with individuals and entities with similar interests or goals.

We networked with different organizations, I could showcase our own organization’s work and initiatives, which in turn created visibility and recognition. This exposure not only helped PHOLA Psychosocial and Mental Health Organizations become known to a broader audience and attracted the attention of well-known funders and global organizations. These potential partnerships and collaborations could open new avenues for funding, resources, and support, allowing our organization to expand its reach and impact.

Furthermore, networking fosters a sense of community and support among like-minded individuals and organizations. It enabled me to find allies, mentors, and advocates who can champion my cause and offer guidance when needed. Through networking, an individual can gain access to a wealth of knowledge, and insights and stay updated on the best practices that can be crucial for organizational growth and success.

As an individual who struggles with verbal communication skills, networking increased my communications skills and confidence, regular networking provides ample opportunities to interact with diverse individuals, helping to improve my communication interpersonal, and public speaking skills. I became more comfortable with networking, my confidence in social sessions grew naturally.

Women Deliver conference provided such valuable insights about networking and partnerships. Grassroots organization often have a deep understanding of local issues and can offer unique perspectives and innovative ideas that may not be apparent at larger scales. Collaborating with them can be an excellent way to gain on-the-ground knowledge and effectively address specific challenges faced by communities.

Partnerships extend beyond financial contributions. While funding can be crucial for implementing programs and initiatives, true partnerships involve a two-way exchange of knowledge, expertise, and resources. Capacity building, for instance, allows organizations to enhance their skills, knowledge, and capacities, which can have long term positive effects on their ability to create meaning change.

Partnerships are also about sharing ideas and strategies. When different organizations with diverse experiences come together, they can pool their collective knowledge and find more comprehensive solutions to complex problems. This cross fertilization of ideas often leads to more effective and sustainable interventions.

Successful partnerships require trust, transparency, and mutual respect among all parties involved. It is more important to recognize that each partner brings something valuable to the table. Together, they can create a more significant impact they could achieve individually.

By engaging in such collaboration and understanding the true meaning of partnerships, organizations can work synergistically to advance common goals, and contribute to social change, and improve the lives of people, particularly in context of women’s empowerment and gender equality.

(Carren Liando is the media and communications officer at Phola, a grantee of the Voice and Choice Southern Africa Fund (PHOLA – VCSA Fund). This article is part of a series being produced during Women’s Month based on participation by VCSAFund grantees in the Women Deliver Conference held in Kigali in July).   

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