Community & Government

Good Partnerships Are Invaluable

Melinda French Gates

Lesson time 11:46 min

Learn about the value of collaboration in giving and the roles strong partners can play in helping you to achieve your goals.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Work With Partners on the Ground• Case Study: Breastfeeding in Shivgarh• Think About the Role You Want to Play• Do the Research to Find Your Own Partners• Find Common Ground With Unlikely Partners


[LIGHTHEARTED MUSIC] - So in any area that you're giving, there is absolutely no one person who's an expert at everything or how to go about doing it. You should just know that going in. If you think you're an expert at everything, you're going to find out very quickly that you don't know nearly as much as you think. And I think, also, sometimes if you think you're an expert in an area, people tend to pick up on that, and it makes it harder to work in a collaborative way if you're not open minded and thinking and listening to other solutions people might have around the table. You aren't alone, and you're going to be far better off and far more effective in your giving if you take the journey with others, because others will contribute ideas and thoughts and ways of solving things that you would have never thought of just by yourself. I was very lucky early in my giving to meet President Carter. He was visiting our foundation. We were very small then, very new. He had been working in global health for a long time already. And I said, President Carter, what have you learned in global health as a lesson that we should learn early on so we don't make the same mistake? And he immediately said, you need to know that community buy-in is imperative. He said, if you don't have the community buy-in and even at some point think of it as their solution, they're not going to sustain it long after you've gone home. It just won't stick. And I thought, wow, that is really important. I would so encourage you to find partners who've been at this work for a while and who understand the communities that are being served because they're the ones that are going to have the most expertise and help you start to devise solutions that your community might actually use and needs. [LIGHTHEARTED MUSIC] People who are on the ground locally know what's needed, and they also know where the system is broken. So you might show up with the greatest, newest medicine against a disease that actually helps people. But if people won't accept that medicine, if they won't see it as beneficial or their health system is broken so you get it into the main city but you never get it out to where they're living three hours outside the city, they're never going to be able to access that new medicine to help themselves or help their children or their families. So you have to have local trusted partners who understand the context and the setting, so that even when you're developing the new medicine or the new tool, people are much more likely to take it up. [LIGHTHEARTED MUSIC] So one of the areas that we wanted to affect as a foundation was breastfeeding. Women exclusively and immediately breastfeeding, we knew, saves newborns' lives, and we had that from good research. And one of the places that the most babies that were dying was in Northern India in these two particular states. And so we wanted to go in and see, how we convince mothers to brea...

About the Instructor

One of the greatest philanthropists in history, Melinda French Gates has dedicated her life to giving back to the world. Now she’s teaching how you can identify your own unique assets—time, money, specific skills, or even your voice to discover a strategic path that can turn your power into progress.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Melinda French Gates

A philanthropist and advocate for women and girls, Melinda French Gates teaches you how to take what you’re good at and use it to create change.

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