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AIHA partnerships are institution-based, so they bring to the table the collective knowledge, commitment, and expertise of their constituent members. At the same time, individuals play a key role by forging collaborative, peer-to-peer relationships in which partners work together as equals. Together, they find mutually beneficial solutions and participate in a two-way transfer of knowledge that enhances the human and organizational capacities on both sides.
Professional exchanges play an important role in the work of each partnership by facilitating learning of key clinical skills and practical approaches that are needed to rapidly scale up critical public health and social support services in a sustainable manner and strengthen the underlying health systems. They also provide ample opportunities for sharing new ideas, mentoring, and quality assurance.
In most cases, a U.S. institution with a significant amount of experience in a particular focus area is partnered with an overseas institution looking to build similar capacity. Depending on the circumstances, AIHA may also tap into an existing wealth of in-country knowledge and expertise by creating “South-South” partnerships that link organizations from one or more low- or middle-income countries. This has been increasingly true of our HIV/AIDS Twinning Center Program, where we have looked to engage organizations that have already implemented successful HIV/AIDS-related interventions of their own.
Each of our institutional twinning partnerships strive to fully involve a broad range of stakeholders to better ensure the ongoing sustainability of their respective programs. These stakeholders include national and local governments, the private sector, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, and other groups as appropriate.
Key programmatic strategies include professional credentialing, association building, and seeking other sources of funding to maintain activities well into the future.