Q&A The Coalition Factory

Q: What is a coalition?

A: A group of three or more engaged in joint action.

The Coalition Factory defines a coalition as a group of at least three individuals, organizations or networks with shared interests and a particular set of common goals. When they are engaged in joint action, we call them coalitions.

Individuals and organizations involved may be drawn in from a narrow area of interest or from broad segments of the community with wider concerns. Likewise, the goal of joint actions can be wide-ranging or restricted to resolving a very specific issue.

At The Coalition Factory we focus on coalitions in international cooperation that want to bring about social change. These alliances typically consist of partners from civil society, the private sector, government and knowledge institutions.

The way these coalitions are organized varies.

They can be loose associations in which members work together for a short period to achieve a particular goal. When achieved, they disband. Coalitions can also be official and permanent organizations.

Some coalitions may consciously seek a high public profile, while others choose to work ‘behind the scenes’.

Q: What is the link between coalitions and multi stakeholder processes?

A: Partners from different segments of society with diverse interests

In coalitions different partners work together. They cooperate in a so called multi stakeholder setting when they represent different spheres of influence in society – such as NGO’s, the government or the private sector.

Additionally they may…

  • operate at different levels – such as local, regional, national, international.
  • operate at different scales – such as administrative and spatial.
  • be time or event bound collaborations or a management response to worldwide campaigns.

Even with common coalition goals, each stakeholder has his own unique set of interest. This can make the process of cooperating rather complex and difficult to manage. Even more so when the environment in which the alliance operates is not conducive.

The Coalition Factory offers thematic expertise (e.g. on Economic development, Conflict transformation, Sustainability issues, Social protection, Human Rights, Healthcare, Education) and process management advice to strengthen these multi stakeholder cooperation processes at various stages of development and in challenging circumstances.

Q: What is our context related approach?

A: Our context related approach is tailor-made.

Our approach is very sensitive to the unique combination of the different interests and cultural identities of participants in a coalition. Partnership means something different for people from various cultures and in various contexts. We recognize that coalition partners can act differently due to different levels of information, practices, values or relationships. We therefore place the interests, context and cultural identity of the members of the coalition in the centre of partnership development. We view diversity as an opportunity.

Political, economic and social circumstances can have a big impact on development opportunities. We connect to the broader cultural and the specific context in which the coalition operates. We concentrate on what is within and beyond the coalitions’ ability to achieve. Activities and practices that are effective in one region may not be effective in another region.

Q: What is our system oriented approach?

A: Each coalition is unique because of the whole. Not because of the uniqueness of its members.

Our system oriented approach takes the relationship between the interests, background, values and position of all coalition partners at heart. We believe that progress demands a focus on the coalition as a whole and on the connection between the parts. We spotlight differences and similarities.

What if…

  • some coalition partners have cooperated before and others have not?
  • the majority of members comes from area x and the rest from area y and z?
  • if two parties have a history of conflict and others are not familiar with one another?
  • if the majority has sizeable budgets and the others do not?
  • if half wants to discuss everything and the others want to go their own way?

We strengthen the positive of their similarities and reduce the negative influences of their differences.

We focus on the effectiveness of the coalition as a whole.

We concentrate on interests, not on opinions

We ensure agreement on principles for decision making and coordination

We assist coalitions to achieve synergy, cohesion and greater influence

Q: In which countries do we operate?

A: The Coalition Factory operates in…

Sub Sahara Africa

We work in: Central, West, East and South Africa. English, French and Portuguese speaking countries.

South and South East Asia

We work in: India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines.


We work in: The Netherlands, Germany and Nordic countries;

Q: What is the difference between The Coalition Factory and The Coalition Community?

A: The Coalition Factory is member of the worldwide community of advisors.

The Coalition Factory – advisory firm

The Coalition Factory advisory firm is based in the Netherlands and member of the worldwide Coalition Community network of advisors.

The Coalition Community – association of advisors

The Coalition Community is an international association of advisors with specific expertise in managing multi stakeholder cooperation and highly diverse partnerships. The network has focal points in Africa, Asia, United States of America and Europe.

Each member is independent. Their mission to achieve social change in Africa and Asia through effective and well managed local, regional of even global partnerships binds them.

Together we:

  • offer excellent quality service to our clients
  • enlarge and strengthen the coalition community network
  • increase the quality of advisory capacity
  • evolve the ‘Art of Coalition’


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