Friday, May 15, 2015

"Looking through the Diamond": Partnerships

Tonight this one will be short and sweet. Half of that is because it's late and I have an early flight tomorrow. The other half, though, is because what I have to say about partnerships really is a simple concept. It's the enactment that is complicated.
For the last four days I have featured teams and projects that represent a particular dimension of restoration for victims of sexual exploitation. I feel that it is best for teams like these to specialize as far as possible in one dimension. Many groups fail because they are trying to address all dimensions simultaneously without the necessary expertise.
However, the process should not stop there.

Teams that specialize in each of these four dimensions must work in tandem with the teams focusing on the other dimension in every single individual case. This goes back to last week, when I said that teams on the bottom level of the pyramid must operate out of an individual framework. Otherwise, we are missing the point.

So what does this mean in the are of restoration for victims of sexual exploitation? Unfortunately, there is no one model I can point to for this topic. I have yet to encounter a context where teams are working well in partnership to deliver all dimensions of aftercare. Sometimes this is due to interpersonal struggles or a lack of willingness to partner. However, this is more often a result of a lack of manpower to even specialize in each dimension. Teams that truly care about the individual survivors are then forced to branch out to other dimensions in order to ensure that their clients receive the best care.

This work would be so much more effective, however, if projects were developed not based on grant-funding available, but if grants were created for teams to form around a dimension that is particularly lacking in a community.

If this ideal situation were to arise, it will be important for these teams to value what I would consider the four 'points' of the diamond - no matter what dimension they are targeting:

  1. Victim-focused
  2. Trauma-informed
  3. Evidence-based
  4. Culturally-delivered
Teams are much more likely to meet these standards if there is a great deal of information sharing and partnership among the various groups in one context.

I want to focus on the victim-focused piece for the rest of this post. What this means is that in each case, one dimension may be emphasized more than another. For example, an older woman in India with a dependent family may have a greater need for the economic and social dimensions to be targeted for her case. In contrast, a young girl who was trafficked to Europe from Nigeria likely will need more emphasis on the legal and clinical dimensions.

Never should any one dimension be ignored, but the emphases on the four dimensions must be carefully adapted to the particular case at hand.

To be completely honest, I don't have a silver bullet solution for how teams can achieve this kind of partnership on the ground. That is something I hope to explore much further in my future career. All I know for now is that teams must partner and specialize rather than reinvent and burn out.

I hope these scattered thoughts made that clear. This has been a fun week for me, getting to review a sampling of the incredible groups I have encountered on this journey. Next week I will be posting my final reflections before the official end of this journey. It's hard to believe that it's almost over.


No comments: