Strengthening Technical Assistance to Enhance Country MNCH&N Outcomes



Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation



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The aim of this project is to influence key global health donors to strengthen capacity and re-imagine technical assistance (TA) in recipient countries. 

The Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health (MNCH) strategy developed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation defines technical assistance as one of the four functions of the global health architecture (along with agenda setting, financing, data and monitoring — with country ownership at the center). 

This work builds on a two-year project (2018-2020) implemented by JSI and Sonder Design, in collaboration with country government leaders along with donors, multilateral agencies, and implementing partners in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The initiative successfully used human-centered design (HCD) approaches to define and characterize a realistic conceptual framework of how TA works (or not) to assist countries in their adoption and scale of proven MNCH and nutrition interventions.

The conclusion was that the current state of TA was not optimal. Based on country ownership, a set of nine critical shifts and 20 principles were developed for countries and their donor partners to implement and realize a more impactful future state of TA delivery. 

This new investment seeks to build on the momentum from the Reimagining TA project in the DRC and Nigeria to foster the adoption of the 20 principles by three major global health donor agencies: Gates Foundation, USAID, and The World Bank. Together these agencies participate as an Interagency Working Group (IAWG) to align principles for capacity strengthening to improve service delivery and health outcomes. 

This effort focused on bolstering institutions, structures, and processes to drive capacity within and led by countries. With our partner ChangeLabs, we will use System Acupuncture, a methodology based in systems thinking and a HCD mindset. 

The project hypothesis is that the increased adoption of the 20 TA principles by a set of influential donors will contribute to increased adoption and scale up of proven MNCH interventions and the development of resilient national health systems. This effort will leverage the outputs of this IAWG with Gates Fundation / USAID / World Bank-funded initiatives, including the Accelerator, SPARC, ACS, and others.

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