Building and Scaling a Cross-Sector Partnership: Oxfam and Swiss Re Empower Farmers in Ethiopia (pdf abstract)

Purchase the full report on (Case study #1-429-185) – published 03/2012, 22 pages.
Developed by: Jonathan Doh and Erb faculty affiliate, Ted London

Description: Winner of the 2012 Oikos Foundation Casewriting Competition. Swiss Re, a large global reinsurance company, has partnered with Oxfam America, an international relief and development organization, to provide the poor with risk reduction support. The partnership’s evolution shows students many common inter- and intra-organizational challenges. For example, the need to overcome internal biases, adapt to organizational differences, and build the capacity to learn from one another. Students will experience what is required to maintain this type of relationship, as well as understand adjustments needed when partnerships scale. 

While many cross-sector collaborations reach the pilot stage, scaling offers a new set of challenges. Oxfam’s next step is to ask for Swiss Re’s long-term commitment to an ambitious vision of scale. Oxfam wants to expand substantially in Ethiopia as well as enter three new countries in the following years.

Teaching Points:

    In examining this case, students will be able to:

    • Evaluate the challenges inherent in cross-sector partnerships.
    • Identify the unique benefits and risks for each sector involved in a cross-sector partnership.
    • Evaluate the challenges and opportunities associated with scaling a partnership’s initial pilot.