Health Systems Strengthening in Support of Global Goals

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the need for strong health systems and the consequences for our global community when these systems are strained. Rarely have inequities in quality of healthcare, access to resources, and distribution of support been as starkly illuminated as they have this past year. In the absence of strong health systems, breakdowns in manufacturing and distribution of essential medicines, contradictory information on standards, and weak communication systems create chaos. In the absence of strong health systems, that chaos leads to sustaining avoidable harm and loss of life for many, especially the most vulnerable.

Through our many years of working in global health, EnCompass has supported improved health outcomes related to HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, family planning, sexual and reproductive health, maternal, newborn, and child health, nutrition, and adolescent health. With deep expertise in strengths-based, equity-focused, participatory approaches to international development, as well as quality improvement, evaluation, capacity strengthening, knowledge management, and communications, we bring a whole suite of skills in service of transformative change. We also have expertise in other sectors deeply interconnected with health, including agriculture and food security, gender and inclusive development, education, economic growth, and democracy, rights, and governance.

In USAID’s recently released Vision for Health System Strengthening 2030, the Agency outlines a vision that focuseshealth systems on health outcomes by prioritizing the importance of cross-sectoral engagement and practical approaches to advancing equity, quality, and resource optimization to achieve health outcomes in measurable ways.

We are excited to see a focus on facilitating transitions to local partners, enabling social and behavior change, and supporting cross-sectoral engagement. Recent examples of our work have shown us just how powerful these areas of focus can be.

The Power of Increased Access and Participation

Well before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, EnCompass, driven by the desire to be more inclusive and our clients’ demands for cost-effectiveness, began working with clients to move evaluation and learning efforts online.

Most recently, we saw the incredible power of increased access to learning through our GHPOD II team’s work on the Global Health Science and Practice Technical Exchange (GHTechx). This event, which was formerly known as the Global Health Mini-University, used to take place in Washington, D.C. The GHPOD II team used the opportunity presented by COVID-19 to reimagine the event and develop a 4-day virtual conference. This virtual event drew more than double the usual attendees from more diverse geographic locations than in previous years. The shift also allowed for more diversity among speakers, both geographically and in terms of sector and area of interest. The event was free to the public and session videos will be available to watch on their website.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former President of Liberia, noted that moving the conference online, and opening up access to participants who would not have been able to travel to Washington, D.C. for an in-person event, showed how technology could bridge gaps and facilitate access to information and knowledge, allowing people to communicate, share, and showcase knowledge from all parts of the world.

Using Technology and Data-Driven Communications to Drive Health Outcomes

Technology, outreach, and communications were key drivers in increasing engagement and learning during GHTechX. Our Global Waters Communication and Knowledge Management II team is also excited to bring creative learning solutions to the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) community through our management of as well as the accompanying microsites, and to work with a variety of WASH partners across the private and public sectors to drive better engagement and learning around the world. This project will allow us to use all the wonderful things we know about virtual engagement, data storytelling, communications, and learning to harness the incredible expertise across the WASH sector in service of improved health.

We anticipate working closely with our Feed the Future Advancing Women’s Empowerment team and others across EnCompass who have worked at the intersection of technical assistance, learning, evaluation, and knowledge management for years.

A Commitment to Mobilizing Communities in Support of the Global Goals

Last year, in an effort to promote progress toward the Global Goals, EnCompass decided to join the Eval4Action campaign. In addition to supporting numerous regional consultations, which were focused on mobilizing the global evaluation community, EnCompass has committed to providing ongoing scholarship opportunities to new and emerging evaluators around the world. In addition, EnCompass has signed on as a partner in support of the Peer to Peer Advisory Sessions for Young and Emerging Evaluators. We are proud of our work with leaders from UNFPA, the World Bank Group, EvalYouth, Washington Evaluators, the American Evaluation Association, and so many others to drive the evaluation community toward the vision of a better world by 2030. We hope that these efforts will be another avenue through which EnCompass will support better health systems around the world!

How to Work with Us

You can work with us in many different ways: as a partner, a prime or subcontractor, a consultant, or by joining our staff. We believe it will take all of us working together, using a whole-systems and holistic approach to global health, to make and sustain advances in public health worldwide, and to support USAID in moving boldly toward its vision of a healthier and safer world.

EnCompass holds a number of mechanisms that allow U.S. Government agencies to partner efficiently with us. These can be found on our work with us page and include the Integrated Health Systems IDIQ, the MAS–Professional Services Category, and the OASIS SB Pool 1 IDIQ as well as others.

Graphic c/o USAID Vision for Health System Strengthening 2030, page 7

Beeta Tahmassebi

Vice President of Strategic Initiatives

Beeta Shadman Tahmassebi, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, oversees EnCompass' knowledge management and communications teams, manages enterprise risk management, and is Executive Director for the EnCompass Learning Center (ELC). From 2017 to 2020, Ms. Tahmassebi was also Director of Operations for The Evaluators' Institute. She has managed evaluation and development programs for a range of clients, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, National Institutes of Health, USAID, Save the Children, Lutheran World Relief, IREX, American Library Association, Institute for Museum and Library Services, U.S. Department of Labor, World Food Programme, International Fund for Agricultural Development, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Marriot International, and Daimler AG. With many years of experience designing, managing, and evaluating capacity strengthening and learning programs, Ms. Tahmassebi is excited to provide high-quality professional development in evaluation, management, and international development to a global audience of learners through the ELC. She is a champion for young and emerging evaluators, bringing a strong commitment to lifelong learning to EnCompass' clients. Ms. Tahmassebi serves on the Board of Directors (2020 President-Elect and 2021 President) for Washington Evaluators, the largest local affiliate of the American Evaluation Association (AEA). She is a frequent presenter at special events and conferences, serves on the AEA Working Group for Evaluation Professionalization, and is an active member of the AEA local affiliates collaborative. She has an MBA from Georgetown University’s McDounough School of Business and is proficient in Farsi.

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