Challenges of implementing the multiple strategic alliances between practical action East Africa and NGOs in the water sanitation sector in Kenya
Over the years, multiple strategic alliances have become popular due to the benefits and flexibility they provide to organizations. This study’s objectives were to determine the challenges of implementing multiple strategic alliances between Practical Action E A’s WASH programme and NGOs within the health sector; and to establish how Practical Action East Africa copes with the challenges of multiple strategic alliances within the WASH programme. A case study design was adopted and both primary and secondary data collected, but more emphasis was given to primary data. The Practical Action East Africa management team that was interviewed included the water and sanitation team leader, the department’s area coordinators, and the WASH project managers in Kisumu and Nairobi. The data collected was utilized to undertake analysis on the challenges of implementing the multiple strategic alliances between Practical Action East Africa and NGO’s namely: KUAP, Umande Trust, Shelter forum and AMREF in the water and sanitation sector in Kenya. From the research findings, it can be concluded that the main challenges of implementing multiple strategic alliances between Practical Action East Africa’s WASH programme and NGOs within the health sector related to mistrust among partners, partners’ operational differences, lack of clarity of alliance goals and objectives, people management and partner’s non performance; among others. It was also identified that alliances experienced negative competition due to power struggles emerging as the projects progressed. Clarity of partners’ roles before signing contracts was cited as important, since it provided a framework to address challenges as they arose. With regard to how the programme coped with the challenges, various strategies had been put in place including clarity of roles at contract level, thorough vetting at partner selection, open communication channels and flexibility to adjust to environmental changes. The overall conclusion drawn out of this study was that most of the challenges of implementing multiple strategic alliances in the WASH programme originated not from technical aspects of the alliances but from people related issues and therefore managers out to give more attention to the people factor, which contributes highly to the success or failure of an alliance.