Sustainable development is a global imperative, and strategic partnerships involving business, government and civil society may present a successful approach for the development of communities around the world. Business Partners for Development (BPD) is an informal network of partners that seeks to demonstrate that partnerships among these three sectors can achieve more at the local level than any of the groups acting individually. The Water and Sanitation Cluster of the BPD has been working with eight partnership projects around the world to determine the efficacy of the partnership approach in providing water and sanitation to the poor.

Measuring the effectiveness of these partnerships, however, proves challenging. Different interested and affected groups will measure the success of the initiative along different sets of criteria. Partnership elicits qualitative values such as trust, responsiveness and flexibility that are more likely to be “measured” by gut reactions rather than by more mechanical means. However, the creation and maintenance of a carefully selected set of indicators for a specific partnership project should enhance relations by increasing clarity and building stronger communication channels. The paper below provides considerations for the creation of partnership indicators.

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