Stories from the Field: One individual at a time

Public-private partnerships are transforming public health, creating new opportunities to broaden our reach with new partners and ideas. Some of the terminology or business methodology used on the private side is new to those on the public sector. But over time, these differences add to the creative spirit behind such partnerships. Such differences help drive transformations for both public and private organizations, offering new ideas that are tested in one venue and become transferable to another.

Dr. Elvira Beracochea has worked in both the private and public sector, and combined these experiences to create MIDEGO. The model she developed takes basic principles of business management and tailors them to meet the needs of NGO’s. Coaching, mentoring and training are standard development tools offered in the private sector, often used to reinforce a positive culture of growth and development. For NGO’s this is a luxury, where every dollar is scrutinized and valued against the larger needs they serve. Yet for NGO’s, these development needs are just as great or even greater than in the private sector.

This is where MIDEGO fills the need. Providing a more tailored set of training and coaching tools through an internet enabled interface. Their mission is to be a global partner to all other organizations working to reach the Millennium Development Goals and improve health for all in the US and overseas. And the focus is on the individual, the frontline of public health where goals are transferred into action. Most of their clients are midlevel mangers that are in need of new tools and ideas to help refine their work and help them reach the next level professionally. Others benefit from NGO leadership who offer training to their staff as a whole. One such individual is Felicia Sakala from Africare in Zambia.

Felicia shared with me why such training was important for her:

“Access to MIDEGO helped me to renew my passion in Public Health. Every day I feel motivated to help vulnerable groups in my Zambian community and in particular women and girls. MIDEGO provides a unique opportunity to explore new ideas, analyze ones weaknesses and to build on ones strength. For example MIDEGO QEC (Quality Efficiency and Consistency) approach has become part of my day today philosophy and has greatly contributed to my overall work performance which is appreciated by my supervisor and colleagues.”

“Because of the MIDEGO experience, a lot has changed in my life. I have sharpened my writing skill and in particular in proposal development. This is because I look at issues in a more focused and analytical perspective. I am able to provide leadership in my field of expertise within and outside the organization. This has earned me a lot of respect among those whom I have had an opportunity to interact with. I have developed a growing interest of providing support to who ever needs my services in community development. Just recently, I provided support to the Health Outreach Ministry in developing a three-year strategic plan to provide primary care health services to a rural community. I also assisted a women-oriented community based organization in my area to enhance their livelihood options in order to improve the nutrition status of their families. In my organization, my renewed vigor has contributed to improved resource mobilization through proposal development to enhance community empowerment.”

Dr. Elvira Beracochea business model is straightforward “We succeed when our client doesn’t need us anymore”. Her goal is not to create dependence, but to empower the individual and help them develop their skills. Felicia is just one example of how the trainee becomes the trainer, a new leader and counselor within her community. MIDEGO will be there as long as she needs them. One of the continued support tools they provide is information. Felicia still uses MIDEGO’s Knowledge Bites to keep “abreast on relevant issues to enhance and sharpen my knowledge and skills”. But in the end, it will be Felicia who moves herself forward and helps others to do the same.

Capacity building requires multiple solutions and creative approaches if we are to achieve the ambitious goals set out before us. This is but one approach that blends together ideas from both sectors, private and public, to help individuals grow into the leaders of tomorrow.

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Dr. Beracochea has more than two decades of experience as a physician, international health care consultant, hospital manager, health policy advisor, lecturer, researcher, and mentor. Her specialty is designing innovative solutions to global health care delivery problems.

MDG Strategic Conference: February 21, 2009 at George Mason University, Fairfax Campus.The call for abstracts is open until November 30. For more information, go to www.midego.com/mdgstrategicevent.php or write to turningpoint@midego.com. Registration: https://maestropay.com/go/midego/2008For more information contact: midpointstrategies@midego.com

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