Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why would businesses want to get involved in activities like this?

A: Businesses experienced in partnering to improve community and workplace well-being tell us they are motivated for a variety of reasons including “enlightened self-interest.” When asked about their interest in partnering with organizations from the nonprofit and public sectors, many businesses respond positively, but with caution. They cite a lack of trust among sectors as a reason. Related to this is difficulty in finding a partner from outside the business sector. Most nonprofits and public agencies we consult express the same concerns. For these reasons, they welcome a mechanism like the Health and Business Roundtable that we created in Indonesia to help businesses and others build trust and overcome other obstacles they see to partnering across sectors. See What Others Say About Us.

Q: What makes your approach to engaging business different from what others are doing?

A: In any given locale, we start by asking businesses one-on-one what they think will work. This contrasts with the approach most commonly used by health and development organizations based on research findings to motivate businesses to provide health services. We also work with a local partner trusted by all sectors and businesses and others interested in cross-sector partnering to design a mechanism that will best meet locally defined needs for cross-sector partnering to improve health. See Our Approach. See Our Approach.

Q: How do you involve government in the process?

A: All organizations recognize that government involvement is essential for sustainable results. However, our research and experience indicate that deciding when to involve government can be a challenge. We respond to what locally based businesses, nonprofits, and public officials think is the best sequencing for involving government agencies. In Indonesia, government agencies are not members of the Roundtable because one of its guidelines organizations defined for participating is that individuals representing organizations speak unofficially, a criterion not applicable to government officials. That does not preclude participants from creating partnerships involving government agencies. The first partnership that resulted from Roundtable participation in Indonesia involved a government health clinic, multinational company, and local nonprofit. Today, Roundtable members work closely with government officials in a number of ways. When members initiated two special interest groups, one on HIV/AIDS and one on family planning/reproductive health, they included government agencies ( However, the third group they created, on business and education, follows the guidelines of the Roundtable and is for businesses and nonprofit members only.

Q: How do you know your Indonesian model will work elsewhere?

A: We think in terms of adapting our model, not replicating it. Each place is different. Our consultative process ensures that what we do, and how, will respond to locally defined needs and interests. That said, we find many of the same needs and challenges elsewhere that we encountered initially in Indonesia. The most notable challenge continues to be mistrust among the business, nonprofit, and public sectors.

Q: My organization doesn’t focus on health. Is your work relevant to me?

A: The membership of the Health and Business Roundtable in Indonesia includes businesses from nine different industries and nonprofits that work on virtually all development issues. Many join because they want to learn how to work with each other on development overall. This diversity enables members to learn more about how health and other development challenges are connected and the benefits of reaching more women to meet these challenges. This diversity also increases the applicability of tools and information we produce to a wide range of interests in addition to health.