Cultivating Local Leadership by Extending the Reach of TCI’s Coaching Approach
Contributor: Lauren Wolkoff
Collaboration and mentorship that is powered by local needs and solutions – that is the foundation of the innovative coaching model developed and implemented by The Challenge Initiative (TCI). In partnership with local leaders, this coaching approach helps cities reach their family planning goals by meeting specific local needs and tailoring best practices to each city’s unique contexts and challenges.
Now, TCI is making information and training on its approach more widely available with a new coaching mini-course on TCI-University (TCI-U), an open “university without walls.” The course teaches the theoretical underpinnings of coaching, curates best practices and allows learners to practice the skills required of an effective coach. The course outlines TCI’s nine-step process for working with local government and health system stakeholders, emphasizing how effective coaching focuses on strengthening leadership skills to create lasting change.
Why Coaching Is Needed
Today, approximately 218 million women in developing countries who don’t want to get pregnant are not using modern contraception. Some 70% of the world’s population will be urban by 2050, according to UN projections, with 90% of that urbanization in Africa and Asia.
The need for innovative, scalable solutions for urban poor women and girls has never been greater. Furthermore, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders need to be more nimble and resilient than ever to meet the challenges ahead.
TCI-U’s online platform offers tools and guidance to rapidly scale up evidence-based family planning and adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH) interventions that have been proven to work in urban poor settings in East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda), Francophone West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger and Senegal), India, Nigeria and the Philippines.
Rather than having staff of international nongovernmental organizations come into a country and dictate how a program should run, TCI’s coaching process is designed to take into account local context, considerations and needs. Coaching strengthens the capacity of local staff to activate local systems so they can function more efficiently and effectively. Through the coaching process, local leaders gain the confidence to implement evidence-based family planning and AYSRH interventions, effectively manage and monitor their programs, and pass on the knowledge they’ve gained to others. TCI-trained coaches work hand-in-hand with cities to determine their most pressing reproductive health challenges and to adapt proven interventions to meet them.
TCI offers “learning-by-doing” guidance with its Lead, Assist and Observe model, in which hubs briefly take the lead to help establish new programs and interventions and then gradually hand off control and agency to local leaders.
Download an infographic on TCI’s coaching approach:
What TCI-Trained Coaches Have to Say
The testimonials below from local leaders who have benefitted from TCI coaching speak for themselves.
TCIHC has pioneered a new way of thinking and working in us. I am confident our partnership with TCIHC will help the urban poor to meet their family planning needs.”
Before TCI started its intervention, I was used to donor-funded training as the only platform for capacity building and most capacity building exercises were partner-led. With the coming of TCI, I was coached and mentored on various skills relating to family planning service provision, in particular communicating better with my clients, providing informed choice services and ensuring that there is confidentiality for all information received from clients and as well provision of quality service. My skills have improved.”