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The term ‘partnership’ has become a watch-word for development organisations that aim to mobilise the resources and collaboration needed to achieve long-term goals such as poverty reduction and sustainable resource management. Achieving effective collaboration in practice, however, can be challenging. This article adds to recent discussions on what makes effective partnerships, offering lessons from an on-going partnership between RECOFTC (Regional Community Forestry Training Centre for Asia and the Pacific) and SNV (Netherlands Development Organisation). Key findings include the observation that the role of individuals in maintaining partnerships often goes unrecognised and needs to be supported in appropriate ways; clearly defined and focused areas of collaboration are essential; a formal basis for the partnership needs to be backed with strong informal communication and collaboration processes; and, while partners bring distinctive knowledge and networks to a partnership, some degree of evenness in the scale and type of resources committed to the partnership is important.

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