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Pepal's pilot draws to a close

“Pepal has connected several different worlds, worlds which would never have been connected otherwise”

Allan Ragi, Executive Director of Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium (KANCO)

The Pepal - INSEAD first executive development programme drew to a close last week in Fontainebleau, France.  The thirty participants who had helped to make this first pilot successful gathered to share their experiences and to receive training from INSEAD’s most prestigious professors, including former Dean, Ludo Van der Heyden.

The Pepal pilot paired private-sector professionals with individuals from non-profit organisations to work together on community projects in India, Cambodia, Myanmar, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Morocco and Ukraine. “Pepal’s fundamental belief is that if you harness the strengths of both the private and voluntary sectors and get them to work together, both sides and the projects on which they work will benefit,” explains Pepal’s Founder and Executive Director, Julie Saunders. “The pilot revealed that there is a huge potential to build a robust Pepal programme that benefits a growing number of developing countries and emerging markets. We made a difference on the ground”, adds Julie, “The partnerships catalysed initiatives and processes that wouldn’t have happened otherwise and allowed participants to experience powerful learning journeys along the way”.

Jozef Noben and Piet De Doncker from Tibotec, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson worked in Ukraine with HIV/Aids organisation, Alliance Ukraine. “For us, the programme has provided motivation and career development,” say Jozef, “We have learnt to be flexible and to cope with extreme differences. It has been a very rich training experience”.  Piet adds, “We have learned to remain humble, with both feet on the ground and to keep that balance in life between your company and social responsibility.”

Zahed Islam, Director of Procurement for Alliance Ukraine is also positive about the impact of Tibotec’s involvement,  “It was good to have someone thinking differently … it was not enough for us to focus only on saving lives … we had to consider the cost effectiveness”.  During the partnership Piet and Jozef helped Alliance Ukraine to develop a market survey for its Technical Support Hub that gathered critical market information. “The survey gave us the market information we needed”, comments Zahed, “but it also enabled us to profile ourselves in Moscow and Sofia … it led to two funding contracts from the Global Fund.”
Talking to Pepal’s alumni, one is struck by the range of experiences they have taken away from their involvement in the Executive Development Programme.  Those from the private sector have learnt the value of flexibility and to adapt and overcome challenges – skills that will stand them in good stead in their everyday careers. They also talk about the power of partnership and how they see their engagement as the start of an on-going collaborative relationship with their non-profit partners.

Those from the non-profit sector are equally enthusiastic: they value the motivation, structure and management techniques brought by the private sector partners and the world-class training provided at INSEAD. Keerthi Bollineni from Indian organisation Vasavya Mahila Mandali (VMM) commented, “The INSEAD training was the first time I was able to gain access to a management perspective. These types of programmes are not usually accessible to individuals like me.”

What’s most impressive about the Pepal model is that whilst the private and non-profit participants are learning from each other they are also delivering concrete projects that address real need in the developing world.  “This one pilot resulted in the creation a new business plan, a new brand identity, new organisational structures, new training and support systems, and new market information”, explains Julie Saunders, “It all helps to make a difference on the ground”. 

The Pepal Innovation in India started in Delhi last week.

The next programme, Innovation in Uganda, starts in July 2010 and brings professionals from across the globe to work alongside leading non-profit organizations to create new social business models in Uganda. Sign up now!




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