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MSDI's Dr Saba Mebrahtu Habte promotes NGO partnerships at Melbourne Development Circle event

Dr Saba Mebrahtu Habte, the interim Program Lead of the Oxfam-Monash Partnership at MSDI was part of an engaging panel discussion hosted by the Melbourne Development Circle in September, exploring how NGO's are adapting business practices through collaboration to achieve impact.

Saba was joined on the panel by fellow guest speakers, David Moody, the State Manager, National Disability Services Victoria and Zeah Behrend, Head of Strategy and Business Consulting at Save the Children, and facilitator, Geoff Sharp, Associate Consultant at Collaboration for Impact - a leading Australian organisation building skills and capacity to address complex social issues through effective collaboration.

Melbourne Development Circle (MDC) is a volunteer organisation that promotes a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing between inpiduals and organisations to create positive social, economic, environmental and cultural change.

Titled 'Adapting NGO business practices through collaboration to scale impact', the interactive panel discussion and networking opportunity addressed the issue of how Australian NGOs can use collaboration to operate more effectively and with greater impact in an increasingly crowded NGO sector and in an environment of limited resources and funding and great potential for duplication.

As the interim Program Lead of MSDI's Oxfam-Monash Partnership, Saba, who is responsible for coordinating an effective and impactful collaboration between a leading NGO and a world top 100 university, brought a wealth of insights and knowledge to the discussion.

Saba has more than 20 years of development work experience with UNICEF, and prior to joining the Oxfam-Monash Partnership, was the interim Head of Research and Knowledge Translation at Oxfam Australia.

In her current role, she is tasked with helping to bring together the differing yet complementary resources of the NGO and academic sectors, and combining these resources to achieve greater development impact than would otherwise be possible.

Saba's strong belief that working in partnership can be more impactful than working alone was echoed by her fellow guest speakers who argued for a growing need for collaboration in the NGO sector through formal mergers and acquisitions, co-location, joint ventures and partnerships from within and beyond the sector.

Since launching in 2010, the Oxfam-Monash Partnership has paired academics with Oxfam’s field-based teams and communities – combining world-class research and developmentexperiences to address the root causes of poverty that affect people around the world.