'Twinning' Programmes for Assistance to Small Enterprise – A Review of the GTZ Experience
After years of experiencing difficulties in providing technical assistance for small enterprise development through the conventional method of sending out individual consultants to the developing countries, the German Technical Co-operation Agency (GTZ – Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit) decided in 1984 on a new approach and launched the 'twinning' programme. In these twinning arrangements institutions in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) such as the Handwerkskammer (Chamber of Crafts and Small Business) and the Sparkassen (savings banks) have established links or 'twinned' themselves with organizations of a similar character in developing countries. Through twinning, the FRG institutions have tried to transfer their experiences by offering training both in the FRG and in the developing country concerned, to provide short-term consultants in specific fields of activities in which the German institutions have experience, and generally to advise and assist in implementing programmes for small business through mutual visits and other forms of contact.GTZ's role in 'twinning' is to mobilize these German 'self-help' organizations and to help them to identify appropriate organizations in the developing countries to act as partners. Once the two sides have been matched, to everyone's satisfaction, GTZ can withdraw from the relationship and a relatively long-term partnership can begin.