Panagora Awarded Subcontract under Chemonics’ USAID-funded Bangladesh Smiling Sun Franchise Project

Panagora is thrilled to announce that it will assist Chemonics in carrying out the final year of work of the Bangladesh Smiling Sun Franchise Project. “SSFP is a unique public-private partnership,” said Betsy Bassan, Panagora’s President. “It is the world’s largest social franchise and is paving the way for worldwide use of this unique approach to providing quality and accessible health care services for the poor in an increasingly sustainable way through national organizations with local ownership.” Bassan has been associated with this program from the proposal stage.

New mom and newborn -- two lives saved through emergency obstetric care at Smiling Sun Clinic.

SSFP is a unique program for USAID. Besides being the world’s largest social franchise, it is the only social franchise at clinic scale providing the full range of essential services. The network includes 26 national Bangladeshi NGOs, many of which have been providing health services to poor and under-served people for decades. It includes 323 static clinics and 8,800 satellite clinics that rove to different pre-selected sites, many deep into rural areas. In addition, the network has a cadre of 6,400 community services providers (CSPs) who bring health services and products directly to communities. The CSPs form community-based health groups that meet regularly to learn about live-saving healthy practices like hand-washing, breastfeeding, good nutrition, and so on.

The network has more than 30 million service contacts annually. More than 30 percent of its clients are poor who pay no or marginal fees. Through a disciplined business planning process supported by an MIS system that tracks service statistics and revenue, the network has achieved more than 40 percent internal cost recovery. The network has carried out more than 66,000 safe deliveries, often in cases requiring emergency obstetric care, saving the lives of thousands of women and babies.

Family planning consultation at Smiling Sun Clinic


USAID’s funds are heavily leveraged through more than almost 30 public-private partnerships, spanning the Government of Bangladesh. The partnerships include demand-side financing and commodities; international and national companies providing clinic construction and operating costs, third-party payments, donations, event sponsorship, and drugs and other critical supplies directly to clinics at pre-negotiated discounted pricing; as well as multilateral agencies that underwrite clinic services.

Panagora will support a new initiative to intensify capacity-building with the member NGOs and the network as a whole. We will be working closely with the Capacity Building Services Group (CBSG), an organizational development company formed out of a past USAID funded activity with PACT. Panagora and the CBSG share capacity building philosophies and will work together to ensure that the ambitious work is successful, culminating in direct funding of selected NGOs by USAID. This is a superb example of an national and international partnership, deepening capacity of a national company while building the capacity of local NGOs to carry out the technical work and perform under direct awards from USAID – exactly in line with USAID FORWARD and procurement reform.

Emdad Moslem, Panagora’s new employee and an organizational development specialist, will support the work from within the SSFP team, which is ably led by Chemonics’ Chief of Party, Dr. Zafarullah Gill.

For more information on SSFP and the path-breaking work it is carrying out, visit and be sure to view the videos of SSFP’s work included in this website.