Strategic Partnerships, MAVA’s approach to scaling up conservation impact – a new publication released by MAVA and FOS Europe

The world faces big challenges for nature, society, and the economy. The coming decade is the time we have to find solutions that put us on the right path towards a better future. Today’s interconnected and interdependent world requires people and organisations from multiple backgrounds and interests to find a better way to work together on shared objectives in order to find these solutions.

MAVA Foundation, whose vision is to create a world where biodiversity thrives and the economy supports human prosperity and a healthy planet, had to step up and walk the talk. In 2016, MAVA embarked with its partners on a transformative journey, aimed at ambitious and sustainable impact through meaningful collaboration.

In 2016, there were very few successful examples to build on. How could one bring together different conservation actors, agree on the main challenges, build plausible plans towards solutions, measure progress smartly, and maintain flexibility to adapt?

MAVA had to innovate and invent a new approach to philanthropy, one that also empowers its partners. And this is how MAVA, together with FOS Europe, and then, of course, all of its partners, developed a unique approach to building strategic partnerships.

A Strategic Partnership can best be described as a collaboration between actors with different but complementary capabilities, working towards achieving shared conservation outcomes on a scale that matters.

After five years of implementation, we are convinced that the Strategic Partnership approach is transformative and can help the global conservation community to increase its impact. However, be warned: this approach will disrupt established power dynamics and requires perseverance, honesty and empathy. Perseverance to truly collaborate on agreed upon goals and objectives; honesty to evaluate progress and impact of the work; and empathy to deal with the, at times, harsh decisions needed to shift focus to where it is most needed.

We are happy to share our learnings on this innovative approach through a publication. It has been written collectively by MAVA and FOS Europe staff, with inputs of our partners. It was written through a BookSprint, a facilitated collective learning and writing process. To learn more about FOS Europe’s contribution, read their blog.

We hope that our journey, and our experience with the Strategic Partnership approach, inspires the nature conservation community, and other donors, to team-up and fully collaborate with their partners to jointly address today’s pressing conservation issues.

Download the publication here.

Since February 2022, a short version of the publication is also available here.

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