Moving toward sustainability: A look beyond donor-dependent network structures

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Moving toward sustainability: A look beyond donor-dependent network structures

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This dissertation research delves into the rise of the multilateral, multinational Global Health Security Agenda in 2014, and the subsequent global push toward collaborative, “One Health,” governance as a solution to emerging threats at the interface of human, animal and environmental health. Using interpretive methods, the research examines the systems factors that influenced the development of structures for two collaborative networks–Multisectoral, One Health, Coordinating Mechanisms (MCMs)–in Thailand and Vietnam. Two primary questions were addressed: (1) how are MCMs established and institutionalized within national governments, and (2) how do structures frame the boundaries of MCM collaboration, either supporting or challenging efforts toward sustained government networks. In-depth interviews and document analysis of two comparative case studies in Thailand and Vietnam revealed that two systems factors, the influence of international donors and the capacity of MCM member organizations, were interdependent starting conditions for MCM development. These factors created paradoxical tensions that influenced MCM structures at the start of collaboration, creating challenges and opportunities for sustainable networks beyond donor funding. It was observed that MCM leaders, if aware, may be able to manage these interdependent tensions in support of network sustainability. As donor influence and funding is reduced over time, it requires a redistribution of tensions during the process of collaboration to support adapted network structures. The transfer and re-distribution of tensions can occur via new and adapted network policies, the development of transformational funding mechanisms, and leader support for critical connectors–key actors or champions within the network. If leaders are empowered to view the MCM as a dynamic structuration process that requires the balancing and transferring of tensions, they may be better placed to maintain fluid collaborative junctures and sustain new inter-organizational pathways. However, these leaders face considerable challenges, including shifting government positions, reorganization, position vacancies and retirements, all of which create barriers to allowing leaders the competencies–knowledge, skills and attitudes, to manage and support structural adaptation over time. This research provides theoretical and practical insights into the development of sustainable networks that are supported, but not defined, by donor-led conditions at the start of collaboration.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2020. Major: Public Affairs. Advisor: Jodi Sandfort. 1 computer file (PDF); 183 pages.

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Errecaborde, Kaylee. (2020). Moving toward sustainability: A look beyond donor-dependent network structures. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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