Reflections on relationships: the nature of partnership according to five NGOs in southern Mexico

This article is based on interviews with several staff members of NGOs located in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, regarding partnerships between them and their funding sources, such as foundations or agencies of the North that do or support development work in the South. The motive behind the interviews was an interest in the word ‘partnerships’, in particular strategic ones. Do partnerships exist now and, if they do, what does it mean for the NGOs to have a partnership with a funding source? The general conclusion was that strategic partnerships have indeed existed in the past, and may again emerge in the future, but that currently they exist only sporadically, given the distinct ways of viewing and carrying out development work within NGOs on the one hand, and foundations or agencies on the other.