Creation of non-governmental organizations
The US Government is increasingly turning to host-country institutions to implement its programs. These new NGOs will initially work under US development institutions as sub-grantees or sub-contractors, with the goal of becoming self-sustaining NGOs that can take on a large part of the work currently performed by expatriate development institutions.
In accord with this policy, IDEAS has provided technical and planning assistance to create a non-profit, non-governmental organization for a USAID project in Afghanistan. The Afghan Social Marketing Organization (ASMO) – committed to building the demand for and supply of high-quality priority health and family planning products – is well under way, with strong support from IDEAS. IDEAS worked with ASMO to conduct its first Board of Directors meeting and drafted major portions of the organization’s business and transition plan. With IDEAS’ and others’ assistance, the organization completed several prerequisites and, in November 2010, became the largest sub-contractor on USAID’s social marketing project and the prime example of USAID’s “Afghanization” strategy.
IDEAS’ work drafting the Ministry of Public Health’s (MoPH) National Policy and Strategic Plan for the Private Health Sector has led to several important initiatives. First and foremost, the Policy’s support for public-private partnerships (PPPs) led to exploration of its application to new hospitals being built by Afghanistan’s partners with no identified source of managerial expertise or of funding of operating costs. Supported by an IDEAS staff member, the MoPH has now created a high-level, multi-sectoral Interim Steering Committee for PPP Hospitals. USAID provided start-up support and technical assistance through IDEAS and Futures Group.
The second major outcome of the initial policy work is the MoPH’s increasing interest in working with associations of private-sector entities. The Minister of Public Health realizes that her institution cannot directly effectively and transparently oversee the activities of 15,000+ private entities which deliver goods and services in the health sector. Intermediaries, professional and business associations, can do much of the work by establishing standards and recognizing compliance, which is of great market value to the individual providers. For their part, individual providers need to aggregate their voices, in order for the public sector to hear them. IDEAS and Futures Group played an important role in assisting four important professional associations to take on these new and challenging responsibilities.
In 2011, USAID recognized the PPP initiative in Afghanistan as one of a small number of outstanding PPP efforts worldwide.