Better health outcomes through integration; better project outcomes through learning and adaptation

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Leveraging private sector resources to support integrated health service delivery in Burundi

Panagora is leading the public-private partnership (PPP) initiative on USAID’s Integrated Health Project in Burundi. IHPB is helping the Government of Burundi, communities, and civil society organizations improve health status in three provinces, Karusi, Kayanza Kirundo and Muyinga, by increasing capacity and strengthening integrated health systems, services, and communications across facilities and communities. As the small business subcontractor to FHI360 on this five-year project, we are quite proud that Panagora staff successfully met all year one (calendar 2014) PPP targets in eight months of performance.

Our two Burundian long-term PPP staff, led by short-term international private sector health expert, Mbaye Khouma, completed an assessment of the private sector, prepared a strategy to guide PPPs focused on leveraging African private sector resources for additive health care, and negotiated, finalized and brought to signature two PPPs. An additional PPP is under negotiation, and we have identified many others that will be developed in IHPB’s out-years.

Throughout, Panagora staff worked collaboratively with the IHPB team, in particular Chief of Party Martin Ngabonziza, Deputy Chief of Party Abdalla Meftuh, to ensure a close fit between project objectives and targeted PPPs. Together with IHPB’s technical specialists, malaria and HIV/AIDS were identified as top priorities for PPPs.

The first two signed PPPs are with LEO Burundi, the leading telecommunications company in the country, and the second largest company in the country. These PPPs focus on malaria which is the primary cause of morbidity and mortality in Burundi, with pregnant women and children under the age of 5 the most vulnerable. Both PPPs are located in Kirundo Province whose many lakes create high malaria risk but where insecticide-treated net (ITN) penetration and usage are the lowest in the country. ITNs, a proven malaria prevention method, are often not properly used even when available due to lack of understanding of their importance and role in preventing malaria.

The PPPs with LEO Burundi leverage information and communication tools (ICT) to tackle the critical need to create better understanding and use of ITNs. One PPP mobilizes high school students in Kirundo Province to act as ambassadors and agents of change within their families and communities promoting the use of ITNs. LEO Burundi is providing 100 phones and SIM cards so that IHBP can reach students with free behavior change communication messaging and mobilize them to encourage the use of ITNs in their families and communities.

Through the other PPP, Community Health Workers (CHWs) will receive 600 free solar charging phones, along with free weekly SMS to improve their ability to advocate, monitor, and report on ITN use as well as other malaria control and treatment activities among their clients.

Three other PPPs on HIV/AIDS are well advanced, one with a major oil and gas company in Burundi for a program on HIV/AIDS prevention targeting cross-border and long haul drivers; one with a major Burundian beverage company to promote protection among female sex workers; and one with an new telecommunications company focusing on HIV/AIDS and reproductive health messaging in high schools to prevent infection and unwanted pregnancies.  

“Panagora is excited to play an integral role in supporting IHPB in this important cross-cutting area and leverage private sector resources to maximize positive health outcomes for Burundians,” said Panagora’s President and CEO, Betsy Bassan. Bio-sketches for our IHPB Burundian staff, PPP Advisor Josephine and PPP Specialist Eraste Nzeyimana, and our international private sector health specialist, Mbaye Khouma, can be found here.


Mother and child lay under an Insecticide Treated Net (ITN)

Panagora News and Updates

So much news! Check back soon for an updated website. In the meantime, we want to share some news and recent achievements!

New activities

IDIQs and IQCs in health, capacity building, and monitoring and evaluation (M&E):

  • Panagora is delighted to announce that we have been awarded our first USAID prime contract, one of the small business set-asides under the Technical Assistance Services Contract Four–Africa IDIQ – known as “TASC4 Africa.” This IDIQ was one of Panagora’s first bids. Our partners are D-Tree International, Education Development Center (EDC), Health Strategies International, ICF-Macro International, The Kaizen Company, Medic Mobile, National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago (NORC), Torre Lazur McCann, and Zaloni. We have not let any grass grow in initiating the NICRA process, now possible with a prime USAID award.
  • Panagora is similarly delighted to be a subcontractor on Chemonics International’s TASC4—Africa full and open award.
  • Panagora congratulates The Kaizen Company on their IDIQ win, Human and Institutional Capacity Development for non-Critical Priority Countries (HICDpro for non CPCs) and is thrilled to be a part of its consortium.  
  • Panagora is an active member of AMEX International’s Evaluation Services IQC and appreciate the opportunities for very interesting evaluation work that this IQC affords.

Recent subcontracts for country specific activity implementation

  • FHI360: Integrated Health Project in Burundi (IHPB) Panagora leads public-private partnerships and private sector initiatives to leverage additional resources and efficiencies for community health.  
  • Chemonics International: Afghanistan Regional Agriculture Development Project – South (RADP-South) — Panagora is helping strengthen key Afghan implementing partners. This builds on Panagora’s work as a subcontractor to Chemonics under the Bangladesh Smiling Sun Franchise Program (SSFP) where Panagora led efforts to build the capacity of 26 local NGOs to receive direct USAID awards.  Panagora is also adapting it’s existing capacity building materials into an Organizational Development Toolkit for ongoing Afghan NGOs capacity building.

Recent evaluation work

With Betsy Bassan as team leader, Dr. Stella Neema as HIV/AIDS and health evaluation specialist, and  Brenda Sinclair as literacy and education evaluation specialist, Panagora is carrying out a mid-term performance evaluation of RTI’s School Health and Reading Program (SHRP) under Pangora’s five-year subcontract to NORC on the Uganda Performance & Impact Evaluation (P&IE). Karin Brown supports this activity in the home office.

Technology Partnership

Panagora is proud to partner with small business Newdea Inc. in promoting their cloud-based “Project Center” software which provides unique program support as a best-in-class platform for design, management, and M&E of international development activities. Our partnership aligns superbly with Panagora’s goal to help articulate and spread best practices – and reduce reinvention. Panagora embraces the space where M&E, knowledge stewardship, and information and communication technology meet to heighten impact. Newdea has painstakingly developed its unique Project Center software over a period of twelve years and offers a robust platform for automating all project management functions – allowing development entities the opportunity to be on top of their work in real-time on a collaborative platform for better teamwork, learning, and knowledge exchange.     

Industry leadership

Panagora President and CEO Betsy Bassan serves as the chair of the Small Business Association of International Companies (SBAIC) where she leads an Executive Committee of outstanding small business leaders. SBAIC has made great strides in efforts aimed at helping USAID achieve its small business goals and is especially pleased that USAID adopted a small business indicator at the mission level starting in 2014. We applaud OSDBU for their continued support and success in promoting meaningful small business utilization.     

Some staffing comings and goings

  • Dr. Pamela Pine, a health communications and gender rights specialist, serves as our TASC4 IDIQ Director.
  • Our new Program Associate, Rachel Brown, brings a background in Africa, global health, and economic development. She speaks fluent French.
  • Our long-time associate, Stacyann Forrester, recently concluded 3.5 years of dedicated work helping build the company before deciding to relocate to San Francisco We wish her the best in settling in and finding a new job.
  • Sylvie Knigi, Strategic Partnerships Advisor, and Eraste Nzeyimana, Strategic Partnerships Specialist, are our two long-term professionals working on health public-private partnerships (PPPs) and private sector initiatives on the Integrated Health Project-Burundi (IHPB).
  • We are currently recruiting for a business / operations manager.

Success Story: Panagora helps build capacity of 26 Bangladeshi NGOs

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Panagora’s President speaks on knowledge management at George Washington University

Ms. Bassan, Panagora’s President and CEO was a guest speaker on at the Knowledge Sharing and Management in International Development spring seminar series sponsored by the George Washington University’s International Education and Educational Technology Leadership Programs, aimed at exposing students to the growing importance of knowledge management in development. Ms. Bassan focused on the pragmatic elements of building a knowledge management culture into existing institutions. This included a knowledge management effort at a major division of a large consulting firm. In that setting, knowledge must be stewarded from start to finish of the project cycle – proposal development, into project implementation, and finally closeout when the ongoing knowledge sharing with the development community culminates. Ms. Bassan also spoke about creating communities of practice within a major professional association in international development, the Society for International Development – Washington Chapter. As president of SID-Washington, Ms. Bassan led the effort to create virtual communities of practice among SID’s twenty some Work Groups, allowing sharing across organizational lines and types, on best practices and lessons learned in both thematic and regional areas. Ms. Bassan noted that knowledge stewardship is a behavior change within organizations and among individuals – technology can assist us, but the culling, using, and sharing of knowledge depends on each of us – and therefore building a culture of knowledge management must be treated like a communications campaign, buttressed by clear and straightforward work processes and incentives linked to success and recognition. In closing the session, Professor Ryan Watkins noted that Ms. Bassan’s pragmatic focus helped breathe life into the theoretical readings the class has been doing and made for a particularly participatory and engaging session.