Sustainable Health Programming Begins With Project Design, Implementation

Devex: Opinion: How to transition a project from international donor to local government
Anuradha Khanal, regional director of Southeast Asia at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and manages the drowning prevention program for Vietnam at the Global Health Advocacy Incubator
 
“Earlier this summer, something happened that we in the development community often talk about, but rarely get to see: we watched international donors hand a successful project over to the national government and local community. Representatives of the regional government of Tanzania’s Kigoma region signed a transition plan with EngenderHealth and Thamini Uhai, the project’s implementing partners, for the continuation of a maternal and reproductive health program after international funding ended. … In June, we celebrated the lives saved, but now we’re celebrating the continuation of local stewardship. As the project’s sustainability partner, brought in by Bloomberg Philanthropies to facilitate a smooth transition to government ownership, the Global Health Advocacy Incubator was able to track what worked to ensure sustainability. Here are some of the practices that proved to be most important: 1. Local leadership … 2. Alignment with public priorities … 3. Advocacy capacity-building … This process reaffirmed an essential lesson about sustainability: sustainability planning should start during project design and be integrated throughout implementation. Just as importantly, advocacy doesn’t stop now that the government has agreed to budget support…” (9/10).