BFP: What do you do?
MW: It's a role with a lot of variety. One aspect is leading our advocacy work within corporate partnerships which includes seeking opportunities for joint advocacy with partner companies in areas of mutual interest. For example, there could be opportunities for advocacy with a company or business association in line with our Child Health Now Campaign ( http://www.wvi.org/childhealthnow). I also work on policy development in relation to the role of business in development. Over the last few months I've been focused on a fascinating study on cross-sector partnerships, business and post-2015 in which we interviewed over 30 organisations including governments, businesses, and civil society organisations.
The first discussion paper based on this study has been published and can be found here and there will soon be an online discussion on the proposed recommendations for targets in the post-2015 framework related to cross-sector partnerships. Please get involved!
BFP: What is the best part about your job/project?
MW: I enjoy working in the many spaces where businesses and NGOs interact. I firmly believe that collaboration between sectors of society is critical if we are going to overcome the multiple complex challenges facing our world. Having the opportunity to work in this important collaboration space is a privilege. I particularly enjoy working with our country offices as they look to design and implement specific advocacy engagements related to the role of business in development and cross-sector collaboration.
BFP: What has been your greatest challenge and how have you overcome them?
MW: Business, governments and CSOs tend to use different language and have different drivers and motivations. A significant challenge is to move beyond differences in positions and to dig deeper to find areas of common interest. This often takes perseverance and patience. However, it is exciting to find these collaboration opportunities where we can work together across sectors, including in advocacy, and opens up possibilities for more sustainable solutions addressing issues of poverty and justice.
BFP: If someone wants to do what you do – where do they start?
MW: Experience of working in more than one sector of society is a great foundation for cross-sector collaboration and I've been fortunate to work in the private sector and in civil society organisations. On the advocacy side, I have found it advantageous to have worked in development programmes engaging with similar issues in communities to those which I am now involved in seeking policy solutions for.
BFP: Finally, What do you hope to get out of being part of the BFP community?
MW: Its a great way to engage with people who are thinking through similar issues. I was fortunate to be part of the panel for an online discussion on BFP a couple of months ago on systematically engaging business as a partner in development. Great fun trying to keep up with range of thoughts and views being raised!
Thank you to Mike Wisheart for taking the time to do this interview.
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