The Global Health Alliance: Lessons Learned
A must-read for philanthropists and the international public health community. A global women's health initiative is studied in detail; lessons learned are reported; general management practices, policies and principles are elucidated. Includes practical steps to avoid pitfalls.
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It is unfair to review a book based on only a few pages, particularly given that the pages do not include any of the lessons learned, which should be the real payoff.
So just a few comments:
1. The anonymity give the alliance and the members is a major flaw in the book. First, it is hard to read about organizations named by letters in the alphabet and about unnamed people. Second, the anonymity takes away from the personal details that give case studies their color and deeper insights.
For instance, several organizations didn't get along during the development of the alliance. Several possible explanations were given --personality clashes (at least this work implied); organizational competition; organization ideology. Possibly the book explores these further and comes to some conclusion. Understanding these issues, not in the abstract, but in the flesh, is a critical area for making partnerships/alliances work. The case study would be much richer and more useful the details about the organizations and individuals.
2. I am skeptical about the newness of alliances and their less hierarchical nature. This alliance was brokered (read: forced upon) by a foundation. It is not surprising given the great difficulty NGOs have working together. I hope the book explores the pros and cons of semi-forced marriages. Yet as a case study on alliances it is taking a very limited kind of arrangement. Many more now have private sector partners as part of the alliance -- and many more complications. these other alliance not doubt had brokers or facilitators, but they came together also by various organizations finding mutual interests and seeing the need to work together.
There may be great details and lesson in the book. But its hard to give this book a high rating since the little morcel I read was hard slogging through anonymous organizations and abstract descriptions.
The Formation of the Alliance
Changes in Year 2 The Budget and the Results
Achievements and Challenges The Alliance
Working Together Growing Pains
The Future of the GAWH
The Role Played by the Foundation