The foundation of the ACS project is grounded in supporting countries to advance towards universal health coverage (UHC). We believe that sustainability comes from country-ownership- by the experts, policymakers, researchers, practitioners and community members- the people who know and understand the country context best. We remain responsive, supporting from behind, as countries drive towards solutions and share lessons along the way to ensure the critical transfer of knowledge as countries move towards UHC.
Overview of support provided by ACS
Capacity Building for Coaching & Mentoring & Process Facilitation
- Systems change does not happen from getting one policy or technical approach right. It requires continual, context-appropriate processes that take into account complex political, economic, and institutional landscapes.
- We work with experts and local and regional institutions to build an approach that goes beyond traditional technical assistance and responds to what our country partners say they really need – support to implement health financing policies and strategies to advance UHC. Through ACS, local and regional experts lead coaching support to country partners within the context of their own processes, not outside of them, to strengthen and make them more inclusive, more transparent, and more grounded in evidence.
- Technical skills alone are not enough to help countries work through the resolution of complex health systems challenges. Non-technical and “soft skills” are needed, using a coaching approach, to help support dynamic and effective processes that bring in multiple stakeholder views, navigate the politics, and facilitate consensus-based solutions.
- To expand this approach and further build capacity within sub-Saharan Africa, we work through an interactive set of coaching modules that explain the approach, delve into specific skillsets that are required for the three functions to engage and support country partners most effectively: process facilitation; knowledge translation; and strategic communications.
Communications & Advocacy
- ACS knows the pathways to UHC look different for each country. How we collect, understand and analyze information and share results and lessons must meet country demand and be contextualized. We strive to understand a country’s context and barriers, where opportunities lie and how ACS can lend support and expertise based on a country’s priorities. ACS works directly with country teams and local partners to ensure our messaging and communications are targeted and reach their intended audiences.Ultimately, our goal is to support countries to develop strategic and contextualized messaging to meet people where they are and empower and strengthen everyone to be active and accountable advocates of UHC.
- One of ACS’ key project components is continuous learning and knowledge sharing. Knowledge Management (KM) is used by ACS for effective implementation, collaboration, learning, and accountability to advance country progress towards UHC. Through KM, ACS captures, analyzes, disseminates, and applies project learnings- internally to ensure continuous learning across countries; and externally, to support countries moving effectively, efficiently, and equitably towards UHC. Our KM strategy aims to determine how ACS will mobilize, leverage, and use available resources so that knowledge generated in the context of the project is shared with country stakeholders, project partners, and the global health community.
Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning, and Accountability (MELA)
- To determine if project objectives are being achieved, to what extent and the strengthens and weaknesses of the approach to meet objectives, ACS takes a comprehensive approach to MELA. We use mixed methods to monitor context assumptions, outputs, intermediate results and sub-intermediate results. Based on our findings, we adapt our approach throughout the project based on what we learn and establish a framework for measuring long-term outcomes beyond the timeframe of the project. We also believe that building the capacity of country-level stakeholders to track those indicators is a critical element to building accountability and supporting a truly sustainable approach.
ACS also monitors progress through:
We continuously assess country demands and needs to advance progress towards country-specific objectives. This core function identifies and defines country objectives with critical, local stakeholders to inform ACS’s activity portfolio in country. Identifying country objectives can include conducting country-specific studies to make data-driven decisions.
We convene, coordinate and facilitate participation of all critical stakeholders throughout our process of support so that all stakeholders can bring their issues and priorities to the table.
We make sure all actors in country have the necessary tools and resources they need to keep decision-makers accountable to their actions. We capitalize on knowledge so all stakeholders are able to bring their perspectives to bear while at the same time make sure the powerholders are equipped to meaningfully listen.
We empirically identify key country-level learnings and continuously iterate to improve the strategy’s implementation and where applicable, generate results and learnings towards work in other countries.
We equip decision-makers with competencies, skills, evidence, methods and tools for making informed health financing decisions to accelerate progress towards UHC in their countries.