A Day in the Life of an Oaktree Partnership Manager
Partnership. It’s something that Oaktree talks a lot about, whether having partnership to coordinate campaigns and mobilisation movements, mutual learning and working together towards a common goal or project. Partnership is about building a relationship, a rapport with someone or a group of people from an organisation, to build trust and almost know and understand what each person wants out of it.
I’m the partnership manager for one of Oaktree’s Timor-Leste partners, Ba Futuru. Oaktree has worked with Ba Futuru unofficially since 2006 and officially since 2010. It has taken a long time to build a steady relationship with the organisation, especially with turnover of volunteers from Oaktree’s end, but the relationship is currently strong and progressing positively. So positive, in fact, that a new project to work with Ba Futuru has just been approved, Inspiring Young Learners through Quality Education (QE), which means we will be working with them at least until 2019.
Recently, I Skyped with Ba Futuru and it was the first time we were able to talk in person, so to speak, about the new project post approval. The Skype meeting was just about setting up all the official documentation for the project, wanting to clarify our process to avoid misinterpretation, to encourage feedback and to answer any possible questions.
Personally, it was a very exciting meeting. I had never Skyped alone with the partner before, only being the partnership manager since May 2015. I always had the Timor-Leste Country Director backing me up and writing minutes or adding in things that I may have forgotten. I was very nervous going into the meeting, though I was confident about the messages I needed to get across. We jumped on Skype, with that all-too-familiar ringing tone, said hello and welcomed the High Schools Transformation Project (HSTP) into the New Year. After all of the informal chit chat, the meeting was underway.
I had never, in my time as partnership manager, experienced a discussion with the Ba Futuru staff as easy as this. Everything was falling into place. They were asking tough questions about the documentation that I was able to answer confidently, or I actioned myself to follow their queries up via email once clarified. There were questions around finance, which is always tricky and awkward to talk about, but the staff were really confident and had trust in Oaktree, as we do them, surrounding these questions. There was laughter. There was shared collaboration and ownership. The conversation flowed incredibly well.
This, was effectively partnership in it's purest form. Mutual collaboration on a joint project. Trust in one another. Asking for feedback on both sides. Informing everyone who is involved on the process, or other tasks at hand. Delegating tasks to both parties, because even though we are working for different organisations, we are working towards one common goal. The goal to end extreme poverty. To build a movement, which needs momentum, mutual collaboration and support to work. This is the type of partnership that means everything to Oaktree, and it’s what Oaktree does best.
Written by Kaisha Crupi