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  Community-based Strategies - Multisectoral Collaboration

It sometimes takes a great deal of insight and energy to solve a complex local problem such as poverty, crime, or environmental decline.

Group of people talkingMultisectoral collaboration strengthens a community’s capacity to address important issues by weaving together the skills, resources, networks and knowledge of the government, business, voluntary sectors and low-income leaders.

We’ve come to understand that multisectoral collaboration is based on 6 key principles (see our video clips for more on these ideas):

  1. Everyone is the solution and the problem.
  2. Together we can do more.
  3. We do not have answers - only a commitment to learn, change and grow.
  4. We take on issues that no one sector can take on alone.
  5. Together we create increased Credibility, Capacity and Capital for the work.
  6. The synergy is magic!
Video Description Select Format
Paul Born, Tamarack describes some key principles of multisectoral collaboration
Paul describes more principles of multisectoral collaboration




Multisectoral Collaboration in Action

Tamarack’s goal with this collection of resources is to find and highlight examples of community engagement. In this space, we explore how Multisectoral Collaboration can be made more effective by using community engagement principles. Those principles include: grassroots citizen action; collaboration between actors; clear visions and goals; and public decision-making.

Social problems today cut across sectors and boundaries, so the solutions have to be just as flexible and comprehensive. Multisectoral Collaboration brings people and organizations together to tackle problems from many different fronts at once. Anti-poverty organizations may find themselves working with boards of education or faith-based institutions, working together to solve problems with the environment or the health-care system.

We find that when different groups of people come together with a common goal, their skills always add up to more than the sum of their parts. That’s why we think Multisectoral Collaboration is an important thing to learn about.

We suggest that you take a look at the two introductory resources below, both of which will give you a good grasp of the subject.

Enjoy exploring these resources, and if you know of something we could include here, please email us at tamarack@tamarackcommunity.ca.

Multisectoral Collaboration: Signature Documents

CommunityCollaboration.net - This website is a concise, snappy introduction to what collaboration is and how it helps. Pete Peterson, a collaboration specialist working in Idaho, answers basic questions, such as “why collaborate?” and “what does collaboration look like?” He also offers a helpful online presentation (you’ll need Flash to view it). Peterson also provides a page of links to other resources about collaboration, offering information both general and specific.

Building Community Through Partnership - The Caledon Institute is a leading advocate of collaborative solutions in Canada, and an influential voice in community engagements across the country. These speaking notes take a harder, more detailed look at exactly what collaboration is and—just as importantly—what it is not. Eric Leviten-Reid cites Opportunities 2000, the Waterloo-based collaborative poverty-reduction project which Tamarack is very familiar with as an example of collaboration in practice. Overhead slides are also included as a handy appendix.

Useful Definitions

Community Engagement - People working collaboratively, through inspired action and learning, to create and realize bold visions for their common future.

Multisectoral Collaboration - A community project in which many diverse actors—“sectors”—share responsibilities, resources, and expertise. These actors may include any combination of national and local government, large and small business, non-governmental organizations and charities, and people who live in the community.

Collaborative Solutions - The purpose of Multisectoral Collaboration is to solve community problems; many of these problems exist because community actors aren’t sharing expertise or resources very well, which leads to overlaps in some places and gaps in others. Collaborative Solutions allow many sectors to work well together.

Partnership - Many people use partnership as a synonym for collaboration. We find that partnership more often refers to individual links between actors—many partnerships working together can produce Multisectoral Collaboration.

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