Join us!
Basic- Yellow 120px

Types of Collaboration


There are various models of formal collaboration. There is also some confusion about names for these various forms of collaboration (especially from country to country)!

We find it useful to distinguish four main models of joint working which are commonly used by animal protection organizations:

  • Networks: primarily for information sharing.
  • Alliances: longer-term strategic partnerships.
  • Coalitions: usually formed for a single issue or campaign.
  • Federations: a form of ongoing collaboration where organizations join together into a union or association, with each maintaining control of their own affairs.

The section on Existing Collaborations lists some of the major formal collaborations within the movement. There has been an attempt to categorize these, but this has proved difficult - as there is clearly significant confusion about the definitions, as reflected in many of their titles and descriptions!

What Sort of Joint Work?

Collaborations can come in different shapes and sizes including:

  • Formal: Members formally join the collaboration, may pay dues, and are identified as collaboration members on letterhead, collaboration statements etc.
  • Informal: There is no official membership, so members are constantly changing. With membership turnover, the issues and tactics of the collaboration may also shift.
  • Geographic: The collaboration is based on a geographical area. It can be local, national, regional, continental or international.
  • Multi or Single Issue.
  • Permanent or Temporary.

Members contribute resources, expertise, and connections to an advocacy effort, and bring greater political and popular support. Different types of collaborations will attract different organizations.

These collaborations can cover all of the main approaches to animal protection work:

  • Advocacy
  • Education (including educational programs for schools, further education and animal industries training)
  • Practical Programs

They can cover any (or all) of the main categories of animal protection issues:

  • Companion animals (pets) - including stray control
  • Animals kept for farming purposes - including fish farming
  • Animals used for experimentation – including science, research and testing
  • Wildlife and zoo animals
  • Working animals
  • Animals used for sports, leisure and entertainment

As regards the different approaches, the most common use of collaboration in the animal protection movement is for joint advocacy. As can be seen from the information on Existing Collaborations, some issues are better covered than others.

Education is less well covered by collaboration, but it has been included in some; such as the Pan African Animal Welfare Alliance (PAAWA), ACT Asia and the SPCA movement. The US National Link Coalition focuses on ‘The Link’ (between human and animal abuse), and is an effective means of promoting humane education (as well as cross-agency collaborative programs).

Practical programs are covered for some issues (e.g. companion animal management, sanctuary management), but largely absent in other areas of animal protection.

The main issues not yet well covered by collaborations appear to be: farming/fish farming (with aquaculture being a massive growth area in ‘developing’ countries), wildlife (welfare aspects not covered by SSN), working animals (albeit that the Brooke has well-developed expertise in this area) and animals used for sports, leisure and entertainment (especially circuses, which are now the subject of many advocacy campaigns across the world).

The use of national and regional/continental collaborations is invaluable – and becoming increasingly popular. They not only help strengthen the movement across a country or region, but also enable focus on identified priority issues, prevent duplication, dissipate damaging competition, and provide a national/regional focus for advocacy and international and funding support. Collaborations at regional level are becoming increasingly important in order to advocate for animal issues at regional economic community (REC) level, and for the development and implementation of the regional animal welfare strategies promoted by the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE). At country level, they are vital for supporting the development and effective implementation of modern laws and enforcement, humane education, and practical programs in priority areas – especially pilot projects followed by advocacy for their ‘roll-out’).

Don't miss out!

Subscribe to the World Animal Navigator to get monthly updates on our programs and resources! Browse past issues here. 


Log in to update your WAN Directory listing