This is a bespoke, practical skills-based course that provides participants with tools to make the most out of inter-disciplinary / cross-cultural partnerships. The course is grounded on applying a Participatory Appraisal (PA) approach to building fruitful partnerships among organisations and with local communities or agencies.

This course has two modules that may be taken separately or together, depending on your needs.

  • Module One: Partnerships among Organisations and Agencies

This module is designed to support those who need to build partnerships with different organisations in order to develop or clarify goals, and agree on strategies and actions to achieve those goals (e.g. international development agencies, NGOs, local authorities, private sector, and community groups). These groups are sometimes in the same place, but often work in different locations or even countries.

  • Module Two: Partnerships between communities and agencies

This module is for local people, community leaders, NGOs, local authorities and agencies that need to build partnerships based on local needs to achieve local action. This can be used to assist with project design, to gather policy-relevant information or data for strategic interventions, or to assist communities in developing their own action plans or projects.

Content and Learning Methods

As with all Oslo Analytica short courses, content is finalised in consultation with our clients. Both of the provided modules are practical and focus on action. Though the following course content is generally applicable to most groups, additional sessions can also be tailored to meet specific needs. This module also complements our short course Programme and Project Management (PPM). Some aspects of this module could be included in PPM, if you would prefer that course.

Module One: Partnerships among Organisations and Agencies

Participants work in practical ways with some of the common issues facing people in inter-agency, cross-functional partnerships. Some examples include the nature of groups and teams, leadership, and getting the most out of differing organisational cultures. Specific content includes:

  • Understanding groups, teams and the nature of partnerships

  • Building and maintaining effective communications

  • Culture and organisations – working across different organisations, cultures & functional areas

  • Team development – building teams and team resources in partnerships

  • How to get the most out of working at distance

  • Formal and informal leadership: Ensuring effective leadership, especially informal leadership, when positional power and lack of formal authority create special needs in partnership work

  • Authenticity, pace and trust – knowing oneself, leading and being led

  • Stakeholder engagement

  • Managing difficult conversations

  • Motivation and measuring success

Module Two: Partnerships between communities and agencies

Participants work with a local community in Norway, Scotland or an Africa country to undertake a community appraisal using Participatory Appraisal (PA) tools. This is coupled with desk research to build a picture of actual or potential partnerships. In this way, the complexities of working with real community partnerships can safely be explored while (a) gaining PA skills and tools (plus others) ‘on the job’, and (b) providing the community and their agency partners with a report on your findings that they can hopefully use to advance their work. Course content includes:

  • Participation and partnerships – what works well and what are the pitfalls

  • Working with communities – purpose, principles, and preparations, including confidentiality agreements and managing expectations

  • Community appraisal tools – including community walks, timelines, activity calendars, community mapping, problem and opportunity trees, and mind-maps

  • Resourcing and prioritising tools – including ranking and consensus building tools

  • Designing and delivering a presentation of findings to the community and agencies for their reflections and feedback


By the end of the course, and agreed follow-up activities, participants will be able to:

Module One:

  • Describe advantages / disadvantages of working in partnerships with other agencies

  • Design a communications strategy for a current or potential multi-agency partnership

  • Understand how to identify and maximise the benefits of inter-disciplinary / cross-cultural work

  • Use tools that help with building teams and team resources, along with distance working

  • Positively address opportunities and concerns arising from informal aspects of leadership in partnerships, as well as improving their formal leadership skills

  • Conduct a simple stakeholder analysis to maximise stakeholder engagement

  • Take action that supports progress in difficult conversations

  • Describe different approaches to motivation and develop mini action plans that help motivate partnership colleagues, if required

Module Two:

  • Describe the benefits and disadvantages of participation and partnerships between agencies and local communities

  • Develop a confidentiality agreement and contract that underpins community needs analysis

  • Confidently use a number of Participatory Appraisal (PA) tools that are used in action-focused community mapping and partnership building

  • Confidently use several tools for prioritising actions and identifying priorities for different community groups (e.g. women, youth, seniors, people with disabilities, …

  • Confidently design and deliver a presentation to a community and relevant agencies, receive their reflections and feedback, and develop recommendations that enhance prospects for effective partnership work


Module One lasts 2½ days. Prior to the course, participants are sent a questionnaire and two handouts to read – about 2 hours of preparatory work. Course follow-up is designed with clients and participants, but normally includes submitting a short action plan based on the course and their own work context. Participants may start working on this action plan during the course or start it from scratch when returning to their work place. Course follow-up typically takes 2-3 weeks, during which time participants are supported by Oslo Analytica staff by email, Skype or similar.

Module Two lasts 3 days (longer if travelling overseas). Prior to the course, participants are asked to read several papers – about 4 hours of preparatory work. Course follow-up is designed with clients and participants, but normally involves submitting their reflections on the PA work they undertook, and on the group’s report back to the community and agencies. Course follow-up normally takes 2-3 weeks, during which time participants are supported by Oslo Analytica staff by email, Skype or similar.

Single client course: TBC


The courses will be delivered by Dr Scott Jones, a restoration ecologist and social anthropologist who works internationally as a facilitator, researcher, and evaluator. Scott has developed and delivered these and similar courses for UN agencies, international development organisations, governments, central banks, research institutes, NGOs, industry and communities in over 30 countries. His main work areas are:

  • Conflict management – specialising in environmental and cross-cultural conflicts; gender; restorative justice; trauma and mental health.

  • Organisational development – strategic planning, diversity, managing change, leadership, communications, dispersed teams in cross-national partnerships.

  • Programme and project management – including UN, INGO and corporate systems. Frequent partnership development where several agencies need quickly to align systems for complex emergencies or development initiatives.

  • Restoration Ecology and Social Anthropology – main focus on environmental restoration of degraded African mountain forests, facilitating complex multi-stakeholder processes, and increasing the involvement of women and youth in conflict management.

Scott designed and led a 4-year development project in Eritrea, linking communities, ministries and an NGO. He has managed projects with UN agencies, international development organisations, local authorities, and private businesses. He is a trained counsellor and advanced coach who has worked in public health, mother and child health, as a nurse manager, volunteer nurse and development worker in East African famines. Scott gained his pilot’s licence through a British Royal Air Force scholarship.

PhD – Restoration ecology in African Highlands (University of Stirling, Scotland)
MA – Education Leadership and Management (Open University)
BSc – First class joint honours in Social Anthropology and Environmental Sciences (U. of Stirling)
Registered General Nurse (Kings College Hospital, London)
Registered Mental Health Nurse (Maudsley Hospital, London)