Building an effective partnership

The Effective Partnership Rollout (EPR) aims to improve progress on GPE’s goals and objectives in partner countries through strengthened partnership, more effective processes and greater focus on government ownership and capacity.

The Effective Partnership Rollout represents a strategic shift for GPE, as it clarifies what the partnership principle of mutual accountability means in concrete terms and takes important steps in adapting country-level operations better to context and capacity, and reducing transactions to be more fit for purpose to address the global learning crisis. Thus, EPR is one of the key building blocks in the development of GPE’s strategic plan, GPE 2025.

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In December 2018, the GPE Board adopted four principles to drive all recommendations and decisions for improvements to the GPE model:

Rebalancing the country model addresses asymmetry that has occurred in two areas of GPE operations that need correction: Firstly, good progress has been made on support to strong sector plans, but there has been inadequate focus on plan implementation. Secondly, ensuring robust grant processes has in many cases detracted attention from the broader sector focus.

EPR principles


EPR activities can be classified into 4 areas:

  • Clarified roles, responsibilities, authorities, accountabilities, and risk ownership
  • Operational adjustments
  • Pilots and new mechanisms
  • Communications and engagement

The implementation of the EPR decisions and recommendations is under way and will be accompanied by a significant communications and partnership engagement effort.


EPR Milestones and timeline


The Board decided to launch partnership-wide study on effective partnership to deliver on GPE 2020.


The Board launched the Effective Partnership Review (EPR) to identify and address issues related to the operational model that prevent the partnership from functioning optimally and deliver on GPE 2020.


Based on a report by Oxford Policy Management, the Board agreed that specific actions were needed to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the operational model, including the need to adapt better to country contexts and improve the approach to build capacity of partner countries.

The Board requested the Grants and Performance Committee to develop a costed action plan to address key areas where the operational model needs further clarification and strengthening. The action plan was approved by the Board in August 2018. It contained three workstreams:

  1. Develop propositions for making clear choices in the delineation of roles, responsibilities, authorities, accountabilities, resourcing and risk-ownership of key actors.
  2. Develop a Partnership Engagement Strategy for communication and engagement with stakeholders across the partnership.
  3. Define further work required to adjust decisions made by the Board on the first workstream in December 2018.

With Grants and Performance Committee (GPC) oversight, IOD PARC and the Secretariat developed a set of proposals for workstream 1 between August and December 2018 and presented recommendations for a more effective partnership to the Board of Directors in December 2018. The Board adopted the proposed EPR principles and requested further elaboration of the recommendations.


The Grants and Performance Committee established working groups around key areas of the recommendations made to the Board (workstream 3 of the action plan). The working groups also included resource persons engaged with GPE at country level. This led to detailed recommendations and options, which the Grants and Performance Committee reviewed in April 2019. The committee made a series of decisions according to their mandate and identified recommendations to the Board around three key objectives:

  1. Strengthening Country Level Partnership and Government Ownership.
  2. Strengthening the use of GPE funding while reducing transaction costs.
  3. Clarifying and strengthening roles, responsibilities, accountabilities, risk ownership and resourcing.

The Board adopted the recommended decisions in June 2019, and rollout began in July 2019. This included launch of the 2nd workstream approved in August 2018, the Partnership Engagement Strategy (which has been renamed the Partnership Communication and Engagement Strategy).


EPR actions and recommendations will be embedded in practice and aspects of the new strategic plan and funding model. Further actions to make the partnership more effective may arise from the new strategic plan.