What Is Twinning?

The concept of twinning has been around for a long time, though the terminology is relatively new. In its broadest sense, twinning refers to a partnership that links two entities with shared characteristics to achieve a common goal. At AIHA:

  • Twinning is a development model that uses institution-to-institution partnerships and peer relationships to benefit both sides.
  • Twinning emphasizes professional exchanges and mentoring for the effective sharing of information, knowledge, and technology.
  • Twinning taps into voluntary contributions of knowledge, time, expertise, and — in many cases — equipment, reference material, and other contributions to effectively leverage resources.
  • Twinning helps develop inherently sustainable health system capacity because it encourages local ownership and synergy with host country goals and strategies from day one.

AIHA’s Twinning Partnership Model

AIHA’s partnership model recognizes that host communities must develop a strong sense of ownership of both the programs and the methodology to achieve successful, sustainable outcomes. To facilitate this, we seek out active investment and participation from the overseas partners, their respective governments, and a wide range of local stakeholders to assure programs meet the unique and specific needs of each community. Similarly, the involvement of regional and national ministries of health in the planning and execution processes increases the likelihood that program activities are based on each country’s health system priorities.

Check out this video to see how AIHA’s partnership model works to develop targeted, needs-driven, sustainable health system capacity.

Professional time and expertise are not the only contributions expected of AIHA’s overseas partners and their local and national governments. Significant in-kind donations in the form of clinical and administrative facilities, capital improvements, purchases of equipment, and logistical support are often necessary for the successful implementation of partnership goals as well.

Our model ensures that specific programmatic objectives are achieved through a continuous process of community-based strategic planning, data collection, and feedback.

Voluntarism and community involvement — both integral components of our partnership programs — result in long-term commitments between towns, institutions, and individuals that, in most cases, continue to thrive on many levels well beyond the funding period.

Twinning Provides a Framework for Sustainable Change

AIHA’s partnerships and programs contribute to sustainable change by providing the management and programmatic support to help donor institutions and health systems coordinate other forms of government or privately-sponsored development assistance.

Our technical assistance model provides an underlying structure that supports health reform, offering counsel and guidance based on five key pillars that serve as the basic framework for our programmatic work:

HSS Multi-pillar Graphic

  • Introducing new models of care and services
  • Mobilizing communities for change
  • Building sustainable capacity among healthcare practitioners
  • Furthering the development of health-related professions
  • Expanding knowledge through effective dissemination of successful programs

Clinical and administrative programs established through AIHA partnerships and programs are more sustainable because the partner-recipients identify key issues and create their own solutions. Particular attention is focused on the need for low-tech, economically-viable programs that increase productivity and quality of care without imposing new burdens that would impede long-term success and feasibility. Our goal is to improve output and effectiveness to such a degree that the provision of essential health-related programs and services can be sustained independently within the host community. 

To Sum Up Twinning

Twinning is Flexible. It encompasses as many modes of learning and ideas to be shared as there are organizations with skills to learn and solutions to share.

Twinning is Collaborative. It builds human and institutional capacity through a process of joint action rather than a one-way transfer of information and resources.

Twinning Gets Results. It multiplies opportunities for problem solving by helping organizations disseminate best practices and replicate successes.