BFP: What do you do?
FC: I am the Founder and Director of the Centre for Partnerships for Development a strategic consulting firm based in Barcelona with representation in Washington DC and Tunisia, promoting development projects through multi-stakeholder governance systems. In our projects we promote private sector engagement with international organizations, public institutions and civil society organizations with the aim of maximizing impact on development goals. Core areas of work are climate change and energy efficiency, green economy, SME and inclusive business promotion, aid efficiency & evaluation and transition towards sustainable development.
BFP: What is the best part about your job?
FC: Although it might sound cliché, the most gratifying part of my job is generating impact. When we talk to CSR corporate managers or business innovators that don’t have a clear idea on how to use their budgets solving development challenges; when we engage them with fund managers of international organizations that don’t have the expertise generating economic activities; and incorporate public institutions or civil society organizations that provide policy design and expertise with local communities but frequently lack access to core funding, something special happens. We know each one of them can’t provide transformational and sustainable solutions on their own, so helping them work together and seeing how jointly they can achieve impact empowering and transforming people’s lives, it’s really what makes our day.
BFP: What have been your greatest challenges?
FC: By far, it has been working on post-conflict economies trying to develop economic local empowerment. When working with local entrepreneurs and SMEs in such economies, we not only deal with harder challenges due to lack of resources, damaged infrastructure, weakened public institutions and lack of enabling environments in general, but also with individuals that frequently have suffered post-traumatic consequences of war and are rarely given the proper support they need to overcome it.
BFP: How have you overcome these challenges?/ What advice, would you give to others?
FC: Most importantly, we make sure we engage the right experts and partners in the process. We have actually developed a Partnership Strategic Management Tool to perform very detailed stakeholder mapping processes that allow us to identify and select the most appropriate partners based on their economic potential contribution, their knowledge generation capacity and their expertise of the development challenges being faced. Under these challenges, working with the best qualified candidates and most prepared partners is an essential key to success.
BFP: If someone wants to do what you do, where should they start?
FC: I have seen a lot of people interested in the development sector but I think at the end it requires a certain vocational interest. You need a lot of flexibility and adaptation capacity, as one day you can be working with corporate CEOs and engaging political deputies committing funds, and the other you are working with indigenous community leaders and implementing projects with low-income communities of rural areas. So I think that most importantly is that you truly believe in what you are doing, that you believe in your capacity of contributing to contribute to the transition towards a more inclusive and sustainable society and that you live each day fully committed with passion.
BFP: Finally, what do you hope to get out of being part of the BFP community?
FC: We work for several international organizations on projects that always engage private sector helping achieve better development results. So we are excited about participating in a platform of practitioners that have so much experience and interest on helping increase business role fighting poverty. We look forward to interact with them and hopefully to be able to work jointly in providing more sustainable solutions that respond to global challenges.
Thank you to Fernando Casado for taking the time to do this interview.
You can follow Fernando Casado and the activities they do at CAD via Twitter at @Fernando_Casado
Read previous Member of the Week interviews here.