Multi-sector partnerships offer significant rewards, particularly when the goal is to scale up tested programs. This was certainly true of the collaboration between the Walmart Institute in Brazil and the Instituto Aliança (Aliança), a Brazilian NGO and partner of the International Youth Foundation (IYF).

The story begins in 2004, when IYF began to work with Aliança to strengthen its youth development training model to include a workforce perspective. Under the first phase of the entra21 program, Aliança trained 432 youth ages 18 to 22 in Brazil’s northeastern state of Ceara. The project was scaled up three years later, with support from IYF and other donors to reach 41 schools and community organizations, benefitting approximately 4,000 youth.

At the same time, the Walmart Institute [the company’s philanthropic wing] decided to partner with Aliança to expand its own job training program that would integrate retail sales and Aliança’s curriculum—creating a new employability program called Social School for Retail Sales (SSRS). As a result, this NGO-private sector alliance was able to offer a “win-win” outcome for all parties involved. The program is projected to reach 10,000 youth between 2012 and 2015. To date, Walmart has hired approximately 45percent of the SSRS graduates.

In addition to describing how this partnership evolved, the paper Entra21 Notes: Training Youth for the Business Sector offers insights into what it takes to establish a successful NGO-private sector alliance designed to take a tested model to scale.

Among the findings:

  • To develop the new employability curriculum, a committee was created that included Aliança technical experts as well as representatives of the association of Walmart store managers, Walmart, and the Walmart Institute.
  • Defining the “owner” of a new model is important so there is clarity around who is responsible for ensuring adequate funds are available.
  • To sustain a balanced partnership, you need two strong collaborators, including a strong and able NGO partner with the capacity to carry out the program. This study was financed by the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank, a founding partner of entra21.

Read Entra21 Notes: Training Youth for the Business Sector in English or Spanish.