Let’s come together in 2022

Author: Andrew Boraine, CEO, EDP

The EDP team in 2022. Credit: Chris de Beer-Procter

Let’s come together in 2022

For some time now, evolutionary biologists and neuroscientists have pointed to social connection and cooperation as a reason for human evolutionary success. But, to paraphrase Ringo Starr’s first post-Beatles hit, partnering and collaboration “don’t come easy.”

Some of the reasons for this include the drive to preserve unequal power relations and vested interests, competitive institutional cultures, fragmented governance and leaders invested in status and position.

Yet with the complex and pressing challenges facing us, partnering and collaboration are needed more than ever.

Globally, inequality is rising. Poverty is more acute. The climate catastrophe is undeniably here. Racism and xenophobia are rife. Violence against women continues. Political leaders seem to be more focused on maintaining themselves in power than serving their citizens. Social media reinforces division through separate echo chambers. The COVID-19 pandemic has sapped our social connections beyond family bubbles. The shift to working online has diminished our ability to seek and listen with empathy to different views.

Closer to home, we face corruption, state capture, factionalism and toxic politics with terrible consequences for public sector service delivery. Citizens experience a culture of impunity, deflection, cover-up and lack of accountability. Trust in formal government is waning: only 47% of those registered to vote actually voted in last year’s municipal elections. Our cities and towns struggle to offer equal social and economic opportunities to the majority of residents who live in the ‘wrong’ places and must navigate poorly managed public transport systems each day.

The cost of social, economic, physical and institutional disconnection is huge. That’s why we believe in the role of collaborative intermediary organisations to intentionally bridge these divides and help deliver improved development outcomes.

Our purpose is to help diverse sectors of society work collaboratively together to achieve inclusive and sustainable development outcomes. We convene, design and implement cross-sector partnering processes at neighbourhood, municipal, regional and national levels around systemic issues that impact on economic development and wellbeing.

The EDP serves as a partnering practitioner at the intersection of community, civil society, business, public sector, and education and research, with a strong understanding of the generative potential that these in-between spaces offer.

Above all, we invest in building trusted relationships that last beyond the specific project.

In April this year, the EDP will be 10 years old, and we look forward to reflecting with our partners on what we have learned collectively during the past decade.

As we continue into 2022, to paraphrase Ringo and his mop-top mates: let’s

come together” … and “make it better.”

Andrew Boraine, CEO, EDP