Since August 2017, Plan Eval is a member of the International Consulting Alliance, an international network of consultancy firms in the Development Cooperation field. The network was created with the aim of facilitating long term partnerships between consulting actors located in development cooperation beneficiary countries and highly qualified technical specialist and development experts in different technical sectors. Since its creation in 2012, the network has grown steadily and currently counts 29 Technical Members, 26 Local Members, and over 26.000 experts.
Every year, the ICA holds the Annual ICA Conference. It is an opportunity for Technical and Local Members to meet in person, exchange ideas and discuss future cooperation opportunities. This year, the conference took place in Valencia, Spain. Our Executive Director, Fabrizio Rigout, participated and took the opportunity to sit down with Christos Aivaliotis, Network Manager for the ICA, to discuss the Annual Conference, the network’s annual results and the opportunities it has to offer to a company like Plan Eval.
FABRIZIO RIGOUT: I’m here this afternoon with Christos. He is the Network Manager for the International Consulting Alliance and we are going to talk a little bit about the conference. So, first of all, how were the results?
CHRISTOS AIVALIOTIS: We’re quite happy this year, there has been a record number of participants in Valencia, Spain. Around 85 consultants coming from more than 30 different countries and representing 50 different organisations.
F: How would you describe Plan Eval’s role within the network?
CH: I would say that there is a lot of room for Plan Eval to use the network, especially since your expertise and regional presence in Brazil give you a very privileged position, as you can work both as the Local Partner for Brazil, but at the same time as a Technical Partner worldwide for evaluations.
F: Can you tell us a bit more about the difference between Local Partners and Technical Partners?
CH: Yes, within our network, the International Consulting Alliance, we have two types of member organisations. On the local side, there are organisations that are based in the beneficiary countries where the developing projects take place and with a cross-sector approach, meaning they can work in many different technical areas. While, on the other hand, our technical partners work worldwide but in very specific areas of expertise.
F: What kind of opportunities does ICA offer for consultancy companies?
CH: All our members, either private companies, NGOs or even public parties, are connected through an online cooperation platform that offers them an overview of daily, through our newsletter, or local opportunities to work with multi-lateral or bi-lateral donors.
F: As a last question, can you give us some examples partnerships that happened between companies because of participation in ICA?
CH: Actually, your timing is great, because we are always collecting the annual statistics around the time of the Annual Conference. For the past year we have had around thirty successfully interacted and implemented projects by ICA partners in all continents and across many different technical areas. A specific example I’d like to mention is a project that was awarded to two of our local partners, without the participation of a technical partner, to implement a World Bank project in China and Pakistan.
As Plan is getting more familiar with the network and its platform, we are eager to increase our involvement within the Alliance. Our presence at the Annual Conference has proven to be very productive. We have had the chance to meet with people from several technical areas such as Education, Health and Public Services and it has been very promising in terms of partnerships for Plan.