Spotlight on Sarah Murungi

Spotlight on Sarah Murungi

Sarah Murungi has been a part of Initiatives’ family since 2009 when she joined our team on the CDC-funded TA-NPI (2009- 2012) capacity building project. Honing her capacity development skills, Sarah rejoined Initiatives in 2014 as the Senior Organizational Capacity Development Specialist on the Advocacy for Better Health (ABH) project. ABH is primarily an advocacy project, but organizations need strong systems to be sustainable. As a subcontractor on ABH, Initiatives is responsible for strengthening the institutional capacity of 20 civil society organizations (CSOs) and supporting at least four to meet the requirements of being a prime recipient.

Sarah’s knowledge and skill in organizational development (OD) has made her a respected member of the Senior Management Team. Under her previous Initiatives project she conducted 15 OCAs; at ABH she helped adapt the Organizational Advocacy and Capacity Assessment (OACA) tool, trained staff in using the tool and has led nine OACAs. She ensures that the OACA action plans are reviewed and discussed and targeted technical support is provided to strengthen areas of weakness. She also reaches beyond her OD role to support the wider project in advocacy training and planning.

An excellent trainer, Sarah has developed and facilitated training in human resource management, resource mobilization and fixed amount awards. She has also provided technical assistance on compliance requirements for grantees. In governance she has supported board and management to clarify their roles, select appropriate board members, address performance management and leadership succession as well as the role of policies in governance and management.

Sarah supported organizations to prepare for and develop strategic plans, using an appreciative inquiry approach to focus on their strengths. A careful review helped CSOs think through their mission and vision statements, define key stakeholders, resources and funding strategies. The process enables CSOs to prepare advocacy and development strategies, HR requirements, organograms, and monitoring processes.

An innovative and supportive leader, Sarah mentors her staff so they can grow into their positions. She uses the same technique when she trains on supportive supervision. She analyzes system and process gaps to help CSOs learn about and practice supportive supervision. Sarah provides guidance and tools, including supervision plans, checklists and standards. She also supported resource mobilization training and developed role playing exercises to support staff to improve quality of actions and program implementation. Sarah was instrumental in helping to design and implement the first Grants Management Collaborative, which brings representatives from the 20 CSOs together to share learning and use data to show progress.

Sarah is also leading the effort to develop a longitudinal case study to tell the story of ABH’s approach to strengthening CSO performance and sustainability and organizing a fellowship program to enable OD and Advocacy staff to provide Uganda with skilled resources for the future. Initiatives is pleased to recognize Sarah’s contribution to organizational development and honored to have her on our team.

Meeting the HR Challenge: Proceedings from the Community Health Worker Regional Meeting

Meeting the HR Challenge: Proceedings from the Community Health Worker Regional Meeting

Under the USAID-funded Health Care Improvement Project, Initiatives Inc. planned the Community Health Worker (CHW) Regional Meeting held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from June 19 to 21, 2012. It was attended by over 60 government and non-governmental (NGO) representatives from six African countries as well as participants from international NGOs and organizations.

The objectives of the meeting were:

  • To provide a forum for policymakers and program managers to share best practices, innovations and challenges in CHW programming.
  • To familiarize participants with the CHW AIM tool and its applications, including assessment, evaluation and improvement of CHW programs.
  • To develop a framework for analyzing key constraints and enablers for achieving functional, scalable and sustainable CHW programs.

The global shortage of health human resources is estimated to be 4.3 million; the dearth of health workers presents significant challenges to meeting the overall health needs of communities. One of the ways countries have sought to plug this gap and increase access to essential health services is through the recruitment and deployment of community health workers.

At the request of the USAID Maternal and Child Health (MCH) team, the USAID HCI Project developed the Community Health Worker Assessment and Improvement Matrix (CHW AIM) Toolkit to help measure and improve CHW program functionality. With the body of knowledge that has been collected on CHW program functionality in the last few years, HCI, together with USAID and UNICEF, convened the CHW Regional Meeting to expand the discussion of CHW program functionality, sustainability and scalability and to build understanding of and capacity in using the CHW AIM tool.