Building and Sustaining Community Partnerships for Teen Pregnancy Prevention: A Working Paper. C. The Difficulties Associated with Community Partnerships


While the advantages noted above to community partnerships can be considerable, so too is the difficulty in forming and sustaining such arrangements.(19) Individuals and organizations with experience in complex, multi-year partnership enterprises frequently note that:

  • partnerships take a long time to establish and considerable energy to maintain,
  • skilled staffing and support are frequently needed to manage a successful partnership,
  • it is difficult, and takes time, to establish true community consensus on controversial issues,
  • collaboration is particularly challenging when the partners come from different racial, ethnic, linguistic, class and/or educational backgrounds-yet it is exactly this cross-sector involvement that is seen as most desirable.

Given the sheer organizational issues involved, projects built on complex partnership structure will rarely have a short term impact on the problems they seek to address. Instead, most energy in the early stages of the partnership will be devoted to building the partnership itself. Consequently, many would suggest that strategies employing partnerships be reserved for projects and initiatives with the intention and the resources to exist over an extended period of time.