For Wagner Foundation, an accompaniment approach begins with a commitment to our partners. Respecting the unique circumstances, goals, and insights of every relationship calls for support which is responsive rather than prescriptive. Our focus may change over time to help where it is needed most — from multi-year general operating support to launching focused initiatives. Being present when needed contributes trust and mutual accountability, building solidarity through communication and understanding.
Wagner Foundation’s understanding of accompaniment was shaped through its work with Partners In Health (PIH). PIH transformed global health by advocating for health equity as the only answer to persistent medical crises worldwide. Although building high-quality healthcare systems in the places that needed them the most was sometimes criticized as unsustainable, PIH remained undeterred.
As a partner to PIH, Wagner Foundation recognized the need for strategic, long-term support to match their commitment. The complex challenges associated with realizing healthcare systems called for iterative efforts backed by research, communication and community buy-in. As a foundation, we came to understand our role was to accompany PIH and the communities they served throughout this entire process.
Today, we continue to learn how to be an effective accompagnateur from our partners. Even as we look to them for guidance, we recognize that no one can be expected to have all the answers. Ensuring that the right voices are at the table, equipped with the information they need, and engaged in the process is essential.
Because accompaniment is built through relationships, communication should not be taken for granted. For this reason, Wagner Foundation support often includes investments in communication, to strengthen and broaden exchanges with and between our partners. When we hear each other, witness concerns, we are more likely to make adjustments or see possibilities that power imbalances may otherwise obscure.
We cannot afford to wait. The lack of obvious solutions to complex problems should not discourage bold action where it is needed most. Our support ranges from multi-year general operating support to highly focused initiatives, whatever is required to address the community's immediate needs in a timely manner.
Be committed and available to partners as they need you — no more, no less.
Communicate deliberately by making investments in overcoming knowledge gaps, addressing power imbalances, and being a witness.
You are part of the historical context. Learn about it and recognize that others may know more than you.