The Saartjie Baartman Centre is a partnership initiative. The whole strength and emphasis of the Centre rests on working in partnership – promoting inclusiveness, dialogue, shared responsibility, an integrated approach and joint decision making.
The Director, working with the Partnership Coordinator and the Board of Management, is responsible for the ongoing development of the partnership. This involves identifying gaps in service provision and finding suitable organisations to provide those services, ensuring that the partner organisations share the vision and goals of the Centre, establishing a solid internal management process which will promote the sharing of resources and developing shared programmes.
The partnership has grown from three partners in 1999 to 10 in 2009. An external evaluation of the Centre in 2002, which included interviews with Centre clients, identified a number of gaps in the services provided, such as an onsite health care service, HIV/AIDS testing and counselling and counselling for children exposed to violence. The evaluation also stressed the importance of the partnership model envisioned at the Centre and the need for it to be consolidated.
Some of the benefits of the Saartjie Baartman partnership are:
- Safe, cost-effective and easy access to a comprehensive range of services for abused women and their children;
- Intervention and training programmes which help in the reduction of secondary trauma and victimization;
- A range of life and job skills development programmes, which help clients to empower themselves and to take control of their lives;
- Access to a central venue for meetings and training, which partners find extremely convenient;
- Partners enjoy increased credibility, exposure and networking opportunities.
The way forward includes the strengthening of shared programmes by partner organisations and the development of joint fundraising proposals, as well as remaining sensitive to the needs of Centre clients, seeking new partners as required.