Partnerships and collaborations are top priorities in working towards a global sustainable future. I recently invited sustainable development expert Dr Renuka Thakore to share her lessons learned. This is the first of my WildHub Conservation Catalyst posts in which I will share the lessons learned, insights and experiences of other WildHub members with you.
My name is Ussi Abuu, I'm a WildHub Core Community member who is working towards achieving the Conservation Catalyst status. I'm based in Zanzibar, Tanzania, and previously worked at the Tanzania Development Trust as a Mapper. I have also been part of the UN volunteer programme since 2016.
Dr Renuka Thakore is the Founder of Global Sustainable Futures: Progress through Partnership Network to achieve Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 targets. She provides a collaborative platform for innovative and trans-disciplinary partnerships and capacity development for early career researchers joined by senior experienced researchers from the Global South and the Global North. Dr Thakore is proud of having support of 480 coordinators from 95 countries. Below she will share with us her key lessons learned which led her to successfully run her network.
1) Why did you start the Global Sustainable Futures and what does this network do?
There is a pressing need to strengthen and operationalise the concept of integrative multi-institutional and trans-disciplinary research, dialogues, and community discourse, making allowances for institutional inputs at multiple levels (communities, local authorities, small businesses, non-governmental organisations, government, and regulatory bodies), incorporating sectoral perspectives in a way that is practical and sustainable.
There is a need for everyone to engage urgently in making sustainable changes to our fast-growing urban fabric and inhabitants. The ongoing struggle between multiple different social groups for equality in economies, capacities, opportunities, resource availability, and many other inequalities in the broadest sense need to be addressed. Creating a homogenous capacity for everyone and leaving no one behind in our transformational journey to sustainable futures must be made a reality. The fundamental ingredients of capacity development in organic, real-time, and innovative ways can be embedded through ‘integration’ and ‘Networking’. The case is made for a considerate, deliberate effort to build global sustainable futures progress through partnerships through this Network.
Established in 2020, the Global Sustainable Futures: Progress through Partnerships Network (GSFN) materialised out of the need to connect Global South with Global North and to co-address the challenges of sustainable futures through constructive partnerships.
The network is looking forward to full-fledged collaborative and interactive activities and co-creation of knowledge and practices, beyond national borders and academic disciplines, and contribute to the achievement of SDGs Agenda 2030 and beyond. The network is committed to creating collaboration/partnerships across the low-, middle- and high-income countries, reaching out through its coordinators to secure global sustainable futures which are both urgent and important.
The network has planned for a very engaging, interactive, inclusive enthusiastic program for networking and capacity development, starting right from the first day of the year 2021.
Currently, the network comprises 480 coordinators from 95 countries. The group is inclusive and accessible for academics, systems thinkers, innovation practitioners, change-makers, and creative voices, from any discipline who want to enable sustainable transitions for future generations in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and we aim to forge connections outside of academia with other stakeholders such as government, community groups, and business.
2) How did you recruit the coordinators that support this network and what were the criteria for these coordinators to join the network?
Coordinators are recruited through networking, may it be personal meetings, events, wider gatherings such as conferences. The use of social media and online meetings has been very effective in reaching the coordinators.
3) What is the key to effective communication with 480 coordinators from 95 countries supporting the network?
People listen to you when you talk about them, their future, and supporting them to develop. You must talk about them and not talk about you. I make personal contact with each coordinator, listen to them, and reply to them personally whenever they approach me. Again, coordinators have joined this Network because they are inspired by the cause that is common with me – sustainable development for all – no one should be left behind. Having common objectives makes it easier to communicate.
4) What are the top 3 lessons you learned from founding the Global Sustainable Futures that would be valuable to anyone who is interested in how to build successful collaborations and partnerships?
- Place your idea to the Network, but work with them to establish Network’s vision.
- Have Network objectives and activities that are acceptable to all your collaborators and partners.
- Leadership and team working skills should be used as much as you can while offering opportunities for others to do the same.
I would like to thank Dr Thakore for sharing her lessons learned with me and our WildHub community. For questions about Global Sustainable Futures please contact Dr Renuka Thakore.