Tips and a Tool for Creating Sustainable Solutions with Government  News

MLC Admin

This article is a guest post authored by Melissa West, Director for Advocacy and Communications at VillageReach, a Million Lives Club Vanguard Member.


When VillageReach began working with the government of Malawi to co-create a health hotline in 2009, the goal was that one day the government would manage it. But we lacked some of the practical experience to make that a reality.

Fast forward to today and Chipatala Cha Pa Foni (CCPF or “Health Center by Phone”) is a nationwide 24/7 hotline service operated by the Malawi Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP). This year we celebrated when CCPF hotline workers received their first government paycheck – the final milestone in a long journey. And shortly after, VillageReach and the MOHP jointly received a prestigious award from the National Planning Commission (NPC) recognizing as a Transformative Initiative for the country.

It was a long winding road to get to this point and we made our share of mistakes. Through our work with CCPF and scaling other health delivery solutions we recognized:
• The importance of starting with a clear end game and plan to transition to government;
• Aligning with government health priorities, policies and structures from the beginning increases the likelihood of success;
• Defining core solution elements and their costs are essential. And these need to be mapped to government mechanisms and cycles for planning, financing and disbursing funds;
• Funders need to appreciate the time, flexibility and resources needed for government to adopt solutions.


Initially we documented lessons so other VillageReachers could learn from them. Then we developed guidelines that our colleagues could apply to any solution we were hoping would be scaled in the public sector. As we began to share stories with our peers and other funders, we heard that others were struggling with some of the same challenges. But we knew that VillageReach experiences alone were not enough to create best practice. So we teamed with Spring Impact to crowd in the experiences of others through a Learning Network.

A series of interviews with government officials funders and other social entrepreneurs reinforced the desire to embed and scale innovative solutions with the government. The interviews also highlighted the desire for tools and resources to short-circuit the process. The Journey to Scale with Government Tool was created with this in mind. The product of sessions with more than 50 people from 16 countries, the Journey Tool helps funders, governments, NGOs and others collaboratively build and adapt sustainable government-owned solutions.


The Journey to Scale with Government Tool can be used to help you:

Prepare for the journey, including the need to embrace radical collaboration;

Learn about the mindset shift that places government actors at the head of the table in identifying problems and designing and implementing solutions for use in the public sector;

Think through the role of government at five key stages of the journey.

Each collaborator will engage with the tool differently. You can use the ‘mindset shifts’ as a conversation starter, use the questions from the journey as part of a workshop, or consider critical questions at a certain point on the path to scale.

The need for co-creation with the public sector is greater than ever. We hope this tool helps you get to impact faster and for the long term.

If you have your own experiences or are just interested in engaging on this topic, please join the Learning Network.