The fourth International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) on January 25-28, 2016, in Nusa Dua, Indonesia calls for “Global Commitments, Local Actions.” The conference is co-hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the National Population and Family Planning Board of Indonesia (BKKBN).
What happens when a physician is promoted to become a hospital administrator, but has not received any training in management or leadership?
What do you do if you are an expert in advocating for FP/RH for young people, but don’t know the legal, financial, and other aspects of creating an NGO?
What if you have developed a training for women with disabilities, and you know it has the potential to change women’s lives in developing countries, but don’t know how to design a training-of-trainers?
What if you are a woman in a developing country and are trying to grow professionally and personally, and would really like to get advice from someone who understands your challenges both at work and at home?
A well managed clinic will likely delivery more services to patients, just as a better managed corner grocer is more likely to have more satisfied customers. Barbara Tobin, Organizational Development Advisor, used this example in her presentation at an ICFP session organized by the Leadership, Management, and Governance (LMG) Project. Barbara shared a story about how in the 1980s, her team on the Family Planning Management Training (FPMT) Project transformed the principles of leadership into practices that could be adopted by anyone anywhere. Her team identified the behavior of strong leaders – what leaders do, not who leaders are.
They identified four key elements of transforming a health system that fit together like the pieces of jigsaw puzzle:
- Pre-service training to introduce leadership and management to health workers while they are still in school
- In-service training (like the Leadership Development Program) so health workers can learn on-the-job
- Senior leadership training programs so seasoned professions have learning opportunities appropriate for their level of experience
- A career ladder, so in order to become a health manager, you don’t have to be a physician
Fabio Castaño, Global Technical Lead for Family Planning and Reproductive Health at MSH, expanded on Barbara’s analogy and introduced the different levels of a health system. He compared the more complex scenario as a Rubik’s cube. A situation may appear complex at first, but once you figure out how to line up the pieces, the logic is clear.
After this historical perspective on the origin of leadership and management training tools and approaches, three speakers share their own stories of how support from the LMG Project helped them overcome challenges of their own.
Jillian Gedeon, co-founder of the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning (IYAFP), compared the assistance she received the LMG Project to form IYAFP to an airport information desk. Founded at the 2013 ICFP in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, IYAFP knew what they wanted to accomplish, but needed assistance in registering as an NGO, guidance on how to apply for and distribute grant funds, and other foundational elements of starting an organization.
Caren Wakoli, Founder and Executive Director of the Emerging Leaders Foundation, used a key to represent the way the LMG Project’s East Africa Women’s Mentoring Network helped her unlock opportunities for her mentee in Somalia, who was recently accepted to a prestigious program of study in the United Kingdom.
Suz Dunn, Program Manager at Mobility International USA, shared her experience of working with the LMG Project to develop a training-of-trainers program for women with disabilities and compared it to a trampoline. The support they received from the LMG Project helped them help women with disabilities achieve more than they could have by working alone.
The 2016 ICFP’s focus on Global Commitments, Local Actions shines a spotlight on people in ministries, hospitals, clinics, and communities – people who are trained as health workers. If we expect inspired leadership and sound management from these individuals, we must sustainably build their capacity to do just that.