By: Rebecca Furth, Senior Technical Advisor, Initiatives Inc.
Photo Credit: “Hillbrow And Braamfontein, Johannesburg” by Paul Saad, used under Creative Commons
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On November 1st and 2nd, 2016, Initiatives attended the USAID Africa Missions Small Business Conference held in Johannesburg, South Africa. This first-ever international event brought together representatives from over 18 USAID Africa Missions, more than 125 US small businesses, 15 large businesses, and 7 federal agencies to discuss small business engagement in USAID’s work. The conference provided an opportunity for USAID to increase awareness of its small business engagement goals, provide information to small businesses on how to work with USAID and connect with missions, and broaden the understanding of USAID Africa Missions on using US small businesses.
Several key takeaways from this conference are worth mentioning. For the first time, USAID has small business participation goals for Missions. The Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization’s (OSDBU) small business prime contracting goals for 2017 overall are 11.5 percent, and 18 percent for sub-contracting. USAID noted its intent to monitor prime contractor small business plans more closely.
Indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts have been an important mechanism for increasing small business engagement. Under the evaluation IDIQ, over $100 million has been awarded to US small businesses, amounting to 39 percent of the evaluation portfolio. Given the chatter that USAID may be moving away from this mechanism, what could this mean for small businesses? It may signify more contracting opportunities from Missions. Missions are on a learning curve, and it will be interesting to see what the next year will bring. We’re already noticing new opportunities emerge such as the Kenya HIV Service Delivery Support Activity small business set aside. We’re certainly glad to see USAID making this commitment to improving small business participation, and we look forward to what the next year will bring.
By: Donna Bjerregaard, Senior Technical Advisor, Initiatives Inc.
In 2014, the USAID Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program released the publication “Developing and Strengthening Community Health Worker Programs at Scale: A Reference Guide and Case Studies for Program Managers and Policy Makers.” This was no simple matter, as a team of experts led by Dr. Henry Perry authored 16 detailed chapters and a host of case studies that are essential to addressing key issues relevant for large-scale community health worker (CHW) programs. In truth, the Guide was quite helpful even for smaller programs, but its size was daunting.
CHW Central was ready to support an effort to summarize the chapters, making the Guide relevant to a global audience. We sought 16 authors with relevant subject matter knowledge. Over a two-year period, our authors summarized the chapters to tell the story of CHW programs, their needs, weaknesses, and strengths.
We gathered support from Harvard, John Hopkins University, USAID, World Vision, Partners in Health, Intrahealth, Initiatives, KIT Amsterdam, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and John Snow, Inc. The chapters cover the history of CHW programs, planning, governance and financing, national coordination and partnerships, roles and tasks, recruitment, training, supervision, motivation and incentives, relations with the community and health systems, scaling up, and measurement and data use. We will complete our task this quarter by compiling the summaries into one document, so others can benefit from our work.
Recognizing our long-standing and committed employees, Initiatives Inc. welcomes Rebecca Furth, Senior Technical Advisor, and Nicole Dupré, Director of Finance and Administration, as shareholders. Becky joined Initiatives as a Technical Advisor in 2001 and Nicole started with Initiatives in 2004 as Office Manager. Over the years, their skill and excellence has contributed significantly to the development and support of Initiatives’ country programs and implementation teams. They will be joining existing shareholders Joyce V. Lyons, President, and Donna Bjerregaard, Senior Technical Advisor. Please join us in congratulating Nicole and Becky!
Ms. Lauren Crigler was recently recognized by the Ministry of Health in Niger for the quality of her work and contribution she has made to the health sector in human resources management. The award was presented to the URC Regional Director in Niamey by the Secretary General and signed by the Minister of Health.
Ms Crigler was instrumental in the design and technical support of the Human Resources collaborative that was piloted in Tahoua, Niger, and has now been scaled up nationally. Since May 2009, 15 health facility and 11 district management quality improvement (QI) teams have worked together with the support of the Ministry of Public Health in Niger and the USAID HCI Project. This work uses the QI Collaborative approach to develop, test, implement, and spread feasible strategies targeting specific human resources improvement objectives to improve maternal care services. As part of this strategic human resources management process to improve maternal care, teams aligned maternal health goals and objectives from the central to facility levels, and clarified and defined tasks and competencies for clinical staff in maternity units. Regional and district health teams continue to implement system changes while facility teams focus on improving performance and providing support to engage health workers.
CHWCentral.org is a new web-based resource for Community Health Worker Programs. Community Health Workers (CHWs) play an important role in meeting the health Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by addressing the global shortage of health care workers. On June 14, 2011 the USAID Health Care Improvement Project launched CHW Central, a website to facilitate sharing information and foster dialogues about CHWs. CHW Central contributes to strengthening CHW programs by sharing the latest developments in CHW programming and connecting CHW experts, practitioners and supporters.
The website features:
- Online interactive discussions on current issues, connecting users and experts in CHW research, practice and policy.
- A member exchange forum where users can post questions and solicit input.
- A resource center housing training materials, practical tools and up-to-date guidelines.
- Other features designed to increase the exchange of best practices and other information related to CHW programs.