Re-imagining Technical Assistance
Using HCD methods to co-create how technical assistance is designed and implemented by all of the ecosystem's actors
Technical assistance is a broad category that is defined differently by many of the global health's actors. For some it is everything that is non-financial which covers everything from training to printing, internet costs, fuel, the construction of facilities, while for others it needs to be essentially financial so that they can properly put their expertise into practice. Overall there is a lot of money being spent on TA – an estimated 3-4 billion dollars annually — and many see these dollars as not creating its aspirational goal to save lives for the long term.
As such this project set out to rethink how TA is approached, understood, designed and implemented by all of the ecosystem's actors through human centred design. With this participatory research and design method we conducted in-depth interviews with many of the actors: health care providers, civil servants, in country donor representatives and their international counterparts, and implementing partner employees. Through this first phase we produced anthropological insights, journey maps and actor profiles that reframed the power dynamics between the different parties involved in the system. These tools facilitated a second phase of co-creation sessions between stakeholders at all levels and resulted in new models of technical assistance, that were then, in a third phase, prototyped and reiterated. Through this process new conversations were ignited and new pathways to the delivery of technical assistance re-imagined across Nigeria and DRCongo.
Today these project's outputs, specifically the country roadmaps, design principles, new TA formats and interdisciplinary co-creation teams for each country, live in the health ministries who are pushing for their political uptake, while the larger global report encouraged global players to take ownership of the project's takeaways through a round of co-creation sessions that would lead to both the socialisation of the lessons learned and encourage new and alternative models of assisting Ministries of Health in their missions.