Voices From Our Volunteers

Why Does Latter-day Saint Charities Work with Partner Organizations?

Latter-day Saint Charities works with partners to expand our reach and impact throughout the world. Our mission is to relieve suffering, foster self-reliance, and provide opportunities for service.

We work with over 40 large nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and thousands of other local community organizations and governments. Though Latter-day Saint Charities has unique skill sets and resources, we need the wisdom, experience, and talents that other people and organizations can bring.

The relationship between Latter-day Saint Charities and a partner is symbiotic—each member has different skills and resources that complement each other. By working together, we can implement larger, more influential projects.

All of our partners are experts in specific humanitarian areas. For example, our partners Water For People and WaterAid are experts at implementing water systems across rural communities. World Food Programme, another of our partners, is an expert at delivering food and emergency supplies to war-torn nations.

Although we have different strengths and points of focus in our humanitarian work, Latter-day Saint Charities and its partners share the same commitment to care for those in greatest need, promote volunteerism, and inspire self-reliance.

The most useful help that our partners provide is in-country resources. This usually includes a local office and local employees who live in the communities where we want to help. Working with partners allows us to use local experts who understand the culture in our humanitarian work.

With this knowledge, local partners can create local solutions and modify projects for specific areas. This makes projects more sustainable. Having a local office can also benefit the project in the following ways:

  • Partners work with community members to help implement and maintain projects.
  • Local employees can evaluate and monitor projects more frequently.
  • Partners can quickly respond to challenges and modify projects if necessary.

One tangible example of how partnerships make our work better is our Maternal and Newborn Care program. Latter-day Saint Charities works to refine and develop the curriculum that the Maternal and Newborn Care program teaches to health care providers around the world. To help with this we have worked with Survive & Thrive, a group of organizations focused on maternal and newborn care.

Through this partnership, our teaching programs have been updated and shared with 500,000 providers and expanded into 30 national programs.

“We went from just teaching how to resuscitate babies to also teaching health care providers how to save the lives of mothers,” says Matthew Gardner, manager of Maternal and Newborn Care at Latter-day Saint Charities. “Our partnerships have dramatically increased our ability to have an impact.”

With our Clean Water and Benson Food programs, we are working to change lives at the community level. We focus on finding partners who share our vision and who have experience in on-the-ground solutions and implementation. Then we work together to identify systems and areas where we can make a difference.

“There are incredible organizations out there who are doing great work,” says Julie Ramos, program specialist for Clean Water and Benson Food. “We have a role, especially as the Church’s humanitarian organization, to partner with groups who already have a track record of sustainable outcomes. Our role as a partner is to learn from organizations that do great work and help them further their impact.”

We work to establish relationships of trust and to agree on common goals and implementation strategies. Our goal is to reach the most sustainable solutions possible.

“International development work has been going on for a long time,” Gardner says. “Partners can help us move from solving individual problems to improving government and countrywide systems.”