Kuwait Community

11 October 2022

The Value of Networking on an International Level

Mary Russo

When establishing a grassroots organization, there are many things to keep in mind. After establishing a vision and purpose, one might then think about their board of directors and founders, then of the capacity-building essentials such as bylaws, contracts and employment regulations, as well as staffing and budgeting to keep business in order and above water. Once these essential items are established and the organization begins to function as intended, the next step is establishing connections. The international world is a series of webs, in these webs contain non-governmental organizations (NGOs), individuals, governments, and many other actors. With so many actors at play, establishing relationships and working together can be key factors in the success of an organization’s purpose and plans. Networking is an essential skill that everyone should master, however, for those working within this international web, it is one that is extremely necessary to achieve the vision crafted for one’s organization.

Networking is a skill we’ve been developing since early childhood without even being aware. This development begins as we learn how to make friends and establish connections with others, which allows us to forge friendships which help us grow as people and establish relationships with the world around us. When you become an adult, networking becomes more career based as people set out to make connections and relationships within their chosen field in order to open up opportunities for themselves and their advancement. Young people also begin to work part time or full time jobs, and through this they begin to forge these career-fueled connections in hopes that they may benefit from them in the future, whether that be within their professional careers or throughout their educational journey. We live in a very competitive world, where the job market and education is competitive, oftentimes, having these connections through networking is the key thing that sets you apart from your peers. Through networking, you might find jobs that aren’t advertised to all or you might be able to find a job more tailored to your desired career path, you might also be invited to participate in events that can advance your career which can open you to more networking opportunities.

While networking can be addressed generally and is a skill required for all career paths, when working with governments and within international relations, these skills become even more necessary. Oftentimes international relations work is based on connections. Representatives of nations and organizations worked their way to the international table and made a web of connections that helped them get to where they are. Connections established within the world of international or governmental relations can help further one’s career and vision, as well as help establish solid ties between countries and organizations. Networking and negotiations can forge valuable alliances, whether those be between nations or organizations. Many actors within the international web share similar goals which together may be more easily reached and may gain more traction. Networking in international relations is all about politics and political connections are a crucial element to push agendas and achieve success. 

Within this international web, NGO’s make up a large portion of actors. While NGOs like the United Nations (UN) do wield power within the international realm, not all NGOs hold this same level of influence. The UN gained their  influence after many years of work establishing relationships with other actors within the web. Many other NGOs have also established connections with the UN and the tie to their influence has helped them further achieve their vision. For example, UNICEF has become a branch/specialization organization of the UN, however, when they were first created they were an independent organization. Because of this merger, UNICEF has had the ability to share resources with the UN which helps both organizations make larger impacts within the humanitarian world. There are also examples of coalitions of multiple organizations working together like the Humanitarian Coalition, which includes World Vision, Care, and a mixture of other well-known and lesser-known organizations (Humanitarian Coalition, 2022). This allows for more networking as well as the combination of resources which creates a greater impact. Other influential NGOs have done the same thing when they forge relationships with smaller and newer organizations. Kuwait Aid Network, for example, is a relatively new organization and we are just starting to enter the international realm. We have worked on our networking and have collaborated with various organizations and individuals on multiple projects. For example, our podcast with the Institute for Statelessness and Inclusion (ISI), which are a larger player in the international web and a collaboration can help motivate more attention towards our organization. We have also hosted conferences and roundtable discussion events that have brough in different speakers from all over the globe. These connections have helped us gain more attention for the work we do as well as raise awareness for the issues we represent. Establishing these connections has also allowed us to form relationships with others who are in the same line of work so that we may help each other and potentially collaborate in the future. Without these connections, we may not have begun to attract as much attention to our work and we would not have been able to organize the events we hosted and the projects we completed. Additionally, these connections have brought us closer to achieving our goals and have further established us as a not-for-profit within this international web. 

Networking within this international web is often done with other NGOs or nations, however, organizations can also work with companies as corporate partners. This kind of partnership allows for larger corporations to sponsor NGOs, which can provide NGOs with the funding and resources needed to achieve their goals and make a greater impact. For example, the organization, Children on the Edge, has a corporate partnership with The Body Shop International, which helps them pursue and achieve its organizational goals (Children on the Edge, 2022). Global business also makes up a large portion of this international web and powerful businesses may even have a say in how to tackle global issues. Partnerships with businesses can also benefit small or large NGOs and create lasting relationships with equal benefits. 

 

Establishing these types of connections can truly benefit one’s organization in amazing ways. KAN has had trouble in the past generating attention to the issue we are representing as well as developing relationships within the international web in order to break into the international realm. However, by establishing these connections and hosting more events, we are beginning to generate more attention. The more our cause and organization gains traction, the more networking connections we can establish, whether that be with other NGOs, governments or businesses. We have also struggled to maintain connections and receive responses from larger organizations as many already have multiple partners. Determination is also essential as the more organizations we reach out to, the larger our chances become of receiving a response and establishing a connection with them. In the past six months, our organization has gained multiple contacts through networking capabilities and we hope to continue these relationships as well as add others to the mix. 

 

The international world is fueled by connections and through these relationships, various actors work together to find shared success. It is also important to keep in mind that international issues apply to the entire international community and therefore require a collaborative response rather than an individualistic one. Together, the international community can better tackle issues and with more voices merging, more concerns will be brought to the table. In order to get to this stage, networking is vital as it gets you on the international web and it advances your organization toward it’s purpose. While networking continues to be an important skill throughout one’s life, at the international level, it becomes indispensable for one’s success. 

References

Corporate partnerships make a difference: Find out how. Children on the Edge. (n.d.). Retrieved October 13, 2022, from https://www.childrenontheedge.org/becomeapartner.html?gclid=CjwKCAjw7p6aBhBiEiwA83fGut5ETmqLF0UFMFWxEb3GcCPyHmRXKZ3TT5Xh4w58UP2GG3alJmkkTxoCVPgQAvD_BwE 

Humanitarian coalition. Humanitarian Coalition. (2022, July 1). Retrieved October 13, 2022, from https://www.humanitariancoalition.ca/ 

 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Canada Kuwait Aid Network.”

Related News & Blog