How to Strengthen Collaboration Between Civil Society and the Public Sector: Challenges and Opportunities for Strategic Collaboration Post-Pandemic

This post is also available in: Español 

Personas colaboran en un proyecto portada

The following report is only available in Spanish. 

For governments and educational authorities in the region, responding effectively – and with the necessary agility – to the crisis caused by the pandemic and the new demands for distance education requires collaboration between actors from the private sector and civil society organizations. While there have been some successes, in many cases these new alliances have been temporary, at a low-cost for governments, and lack a permanent financing plan, which presents a challenge in terms of sustainability.

The members of the Civil Society Working Group (GTSC in Spanish) met in March of 2021 to discuss their experiences with public-private partnerships and identify the challenges and opportunities that exist for collaboration between civil society and the public sector post-pandemic. This report summarizes the key messages that arose from the conversation.


Civil society organizations identified a number of common challenges which impeded the implementation of new alliances and limited the sustainability of existing agreements. Some challenges or limiting factors were operational in nature, such as the lack of permanent financing, human capacity, or official procedures, while others were related to political culture or government structures. Nevertheless, during the pandemic, new virtual education demands have emerged which have increased the relevance of many of the strategic areas in which civil society works.

In the future, some of these strategic areas will continue to be highly relevant and present an opportunity to align civil society and public sector efforts. These include (a) creating hybrid content and platforms, (b) supporting families and following student trajectories, (c) compiling evaluation data, and (d) strengthening dialogue between communities or vulnerable schools and national education authorities.

With the goal of optimizing the opportunities for collaboration that may emerge post-pandemic and tackling the aforementioned challenges, the GTSC presents five recommendations:

  1. Formalize alliances through agreements and clearly define procedures to mobilize financing and technical support.
  2. Expand access to performance data and ensure that the public sector’s educational goals are transparent.
  3. Draw attention to and systematize efforts by civil society.
  4. Involve multilateral institutions in order to mobilize financing and raising awareness for the work conducted in the region.
  5. Engage with the private sector as well as align private sector priorities with those of the public sector and civil society.

The Education Program thanks the Tinker Foundation for their generous support in the making of this report. 



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