Radboud Centrum Sociale Wetenschappen

Opleiders in Mens en Maatschappij

Multistakeholder Partnerships: an AMID video

After a first enriching AMID bloc; with Friday’s full of questions regarding the development sector, time to open the book of solutions with a great session from Herman Brouwer, a “practical academic” - in his own words - at Wageningen Center for Innovation and Research. As lack of communication and cooperation are universal issues, his specialty, the multi-stakeholder partnership, brought him in many places in the world. Herman managed to resolve conflicts between fishermen and governments in Cambodia, Shell and local communities in Niger. But what is exactly the magical tool that helped him achieving that? 38 minds being worth more than two, we asked our fellow AMID-trainees and future bridge-builders, their input:



“The (gezellig) answer”, “collaboration”,  “dialogue”, and “complex”:  AMID trainees, coordinators and lecturers all gave inspiring synonyms and broader definitions for the tool. Although, an MSP is too complex to be summarized in one minute fifty and is the object of a 150 pages long guide.  In the latter, an MSP is defined as a “cooperation arrangement between a variety of actors that jointly engage in a process of dialogue and action to solve a specific problem”.

The session has underlined how cooperation has been defining and humans since the dawn of time, being indispensable for its own survival. In the under sea-level Netherlands, threats of floods have in times of conflicts forced truce between adversaries in order to maintain dykes and pump mills. Those issues taught the Dutch that greater purpose was often necessary to set aside differences, ultimately leading o the establishment of the famous Poldermodel. Multi-stakeholder cooperation has also lead successful establishment of transparency initiatives, vaccines alliances. 

Are you ready to embrace MSPs? Bear in mind that the process is complex; as different stakeholders always come with preconceptions & assumptions, driven by not always laudable interests. In the ambitious process of building-bridges, follow the following seven principles:


  1. Embracing systemic change

  2. Transforming institutions (in the sociological sense)µ

  3. Working with power

  4. Deal with conflict

  5. Effective communication

  6. Promoting collaborative leadership

  7. Foster participatory learning


Good luck !