Panagora Group, a woman-owned social enterprise focused on global health and international development consulting, turned five this week! We are thrilled to mark this milestone by celebrating some key achievements.
- Advancing local systems. Panagora is deeply committed to nurturing host-country capacity and positioning individuals and institutions to carry work forward independently. We are especially proud of our work with the Capacity Building Services Group (CBSG) under the Bangladesh Smiling Sun Franchise Program (SSFP). Working hand-in-hand, we used participatory organizational development processes to build the capacity of 26 national NGOs, ultimately equipping 12 (triple the target) to host direct USAID awards. CBSG is now a regular provider of capacity building services in USAID activities. Panagora carried out similar work for the Afghanistan Regional Agricultural Development Program-South (RADP-South), and is now launching such activities for Afghanistan Health Sector Resiliency (HSR) and Kenya Afya Jijini.
- Taking an integrated and multi-sectoral approach to global health. We recognize that integrated health services linked appropriately to other sectors creates synergies and reflects how people seek health information, services, and products. We have brought our extensive track record in integrated and multi-sectoral approaches to health into many activities, e.g., our M&E work on the School Reading and Health Program in Uganda, multifaceted gender and youth strategies, and infusion of business principles and partnerships into health services provision in Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
- Using private sector modalities. Engaging the private sector and using business practices in meeting development objectives creates win-win situations key to long-term sustainability. In Bangladesh, Panagora staff helped convert 26 NGOs and their 327 clinics into a social franchise, allowing them to better serve 20 million people. We helped leverage and share best practices from almost 30 public-private partnerships (PPPs) with national and international business. We developed PPPs under the Burundi Integrated Health Program,and are now mobilizing PPPs and promoting network and franchise concepts in Afghanistan HSR to increase health service quality, efficiency, and access.
- Innovating in monitoring & evaluation (M&E). Improving aid efficacy requires shifting the M&E paradigm to serve real-time learning and continuous improvement objectives. Under the Uganda Performance and Impact Evaluation (P&IE) contract, Panagora carries out user-focused performance evaluations, and pioneered use of continuous evaluation for real-time performance feedback to support adaptive management. Panagora was the only small business to place in USAID’s CLA Case Competition and is among a handful selected to present its case to USAID. Panagora brings our seasoned and cutting-edge M&E expertise to USAID via our prime M&E IDIQ contract.
- Promoting evidence-based programming and sustainability of knowledge assets. Panagora works doggedly to promote programming that builds on proven approaches and help knowledge assets live beyond projects. Under Ukraine Strengthening TB Control, Panagora designed a web-based information, training, and knowledge sharing platform, with a build-operate-transfer (BOT) approach to shift stewardship to a national partner. Starting in 2016, as a partner to Chemonics International under USAID’s Global Health Procurement and Supply Management (PSM) program, Panagora is honored to lead communications and knowledge management (CKM) and support advocacy.
- Industry leadership with international development companies (IDCs). Given U.S. companies implement up to 40% of USAID’s programs, IDCs must be a voice in foreign aid discussions to ensure a full evidence base. Panagora was pivotal in founding CIDC (Council of International Development Companies); our CEO served on its board and led its effort to collate best practices in IDC capacity building for panels at CSIS. As Chair of SBAIC (Small Business Association for International Companies) for three years, she led its transformation from a modest network into a highly effective advocate for its 170 members, helping USAID achieve its small business goals and better development outcomes. For her commitment to enhancing IDC contributions while managing a startup, Betsy Bassan was named a 2015 Enterprising Woman of the Year Champion.
- Harnessing technology for improved project performance. Development programs have long needed tailored software for aggregating and presenting data for sharing results efficiently and building a user-friendly evidence base. Panagora partnered with Newdea to help advance use of its best-in-class cloud-based software for program monitoring and management. Newdea’s Project Center software aggregates all performance and financial data along with associated narrative and other rich media, providing a collaborative platform for better teamwork, program oversight, and learning.
- Extensive network of partners and experts via multiple mechanisms. Panagora has built many relationships and developed creative approaches in numerous strategic planning and design collaborations. Successful IDIQ partnerships in addition to the activities mentioned above include two USAID IDIQ prime contracts (global health and M&E), six USAID IDIQ subcontracts (global health supply chain (3), global health, water, and human and institutional capacity development), and a CDC IDIQ (global health). Read descriptions here.
A business startup in the international development space faces many challenges. Our startup was complicated by aid reforms that initially relegated small business to a back seat. Through strategic partnering, persistence, and market adaptations, Panagora has built a social enterprise that offers USAID a new source of innovation via seasoned development professionals and small business benefits of flexibility and nimbleness. Through our SBAIC efforts, we are helping other small businesses penetrate the international development space, at the same time helping USAID expand its partner base.
We extend our heartfelt thanks to our many partners, colleagues, and friends for being willing to place their faith in a startup. We thank USAID for its open communication and collaborative spirit in working with the small business community. Panagora is thrilled to hold two prime USAID contracts, and in 2015 receive an audit with no findings and a NICRA. We thank Chemonics for our partnership under the mentor protégé program and several subcontracts, most recently PSM. We thank our other prime partners, in particular NORC on P&IE, Palladium on Afghanistan HSR, and IMA World Health on Kenya Afya Jijini. We thank our numerous IDIQ partners, and organizations such as Grant Thornton LLP and Newdea for establishing special working relationships that allow us, together, to achieve more. Finally, we thank the national and international consultants who roll up their sleeves and implement our approaches around the world, enabling Panagora to realize our mission of making the world a better place, for good.
We look forward with excitement and anticipation to advancing our mission through these and other relationships to come in the years ahead. Happy 5th Birthday, Panagora!