Everything you need to know about Partos Joint Learning and Innovation


Did you know that what once was The Spindle, is now Partos Joint Learning and Innovation? It is supported by a brand-new five-year programme, co-funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that was developed to support the joint learning and innovation of Dutch development organisations for improved and new approaches and solutions for a just, inclusive and sustainable world. We focus on opportunities for change and innovation for Dutch civil society organisations working on development, and for their partnerships with organisations in the Global South.

For those who want to take a trip down memory lane: take a look at our "5 Years The Spindle magazine". These were five years full of innovative projects, among which our inspiring and fully digitally organised project ‘The Digital Journey’. While we have many sweet memories that we’ll build on its now time to look ahead. What will the Learning and Innovation Programme have in store for you?

Our rationale for joint learning and innovation

Strong and capable civil society organisations (CSOs) are crucial for making democracies work and ensuring that change is people-centred and focused on contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals. Through CSOs, citizens connect on common interests, such as employment conditions, environment, human rights or the inclusion of marginalised groups. CSOs also allow citizens to organise themselves in order to influence decision-makers in the public and private sector. For governments to be responsive, they need to be informed by clearly articulated demands by the people for policy changes, legislation and services. Voicing such demands is a key role of CSOs. Therefore, the Learning and Innovation Programme will support Partos members to be as effective as possible in partnerships that enable strong and well-rooted CSOs in the South and that make citizens’ voices better heard.

“A vision without a strategy remains an illusion.” 

Key to our approach are the roles that we continue to play on behalf of our membership: agenda setting, connecting and facilitation of learning and innovation trajectories. This approach will be applied to the same four thematic areas as in the Spindle: ‘Civic Power’, ‘Inclusion’, ‘New Ways of Organising and Working’ and ‘Data and Digital Technology’.However, there are some changes in our approach and strategy. What’s different? Let’s not beat around the bush, here are some of the differences: 

  • Adaptive and participatory agenda-setting. As part of the new programme, Partos will facilitate a process of adaptive and participatory agenda-setting and identify the most relevant and promising opportunities for collective learning and innovation. We will do this based on regular feedback and fast forward meetings with a group of stakeholders including Partos members, Southern-based civil society organisations and other social change makers.
  • More focus on Partos members and their Southern partners. The Partos membership provides agency and a vehicle necessary to realise change. Let’s start mobilising and harnessing the joint potential of Partos members. By doing this, we enlarge our strategic and operational reach, for example in terms of signalling new trends, threats and opportunities, reaching a critical mass for learning, creating and innovating, and in terms of testing and scaling up.
  • Stepping up our support for learning between The Strategic Partnerships. One of the activity lines of Partos will be focussed on the facilitation of joint learning and lobby as part of the Strategic Partnership Programmes, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and make this accessible to all Partos members. 

What to expect now and in the near future?

We will soon reach out to all our members to learn about your needs and wishes for joint learning and innovation. Similarly, we will reach out to organisations in the Strategic Partnerships. In Spring Partos, together with members and important stakeholders, will start a future scanning trajectory that will feed into our agenda for the future. We will set up a system of linking pins within Partos members, and form a feedback and feedforward group to advise on our activities. We will continue to work with our communities as part of the Leave No One Behind Platform, the Partos PME network and the Communities of Practice on Community Led Development and the Shifting of Power.

Our Team on Learning and Innovation (including Quality)

 Vic Klabbers and Esther van Langen are new to the team as the learning facilitator and programme officer respectively. The team further consists of Margreet van der Pijl as facilitator of innovation trajectories and continues to be coordinated by Anne-Marie Heemskerk, who is also responsible for issues regarding quality and integrity. 

Do you want to know more about the programme and find out how you can participate? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with Anne-Marie via amh@partos.nl. Do you want to register for the two-weekly mailings on learning and innovation? Send a mail to Esther at Esther@partos.nl.