CORE Group Fall Meeting 2012

In by Avani Duggaraju

Meeting Report
At-A-Glance Agenda

Program Agenda
State of CORE Group Update
David Pelletier’s Closing Address

Wednesday, October 10th Pre-sessions
Thursday, October 11th Sessions
Friday, October 12th Sessions


Listen to what participants have to say about the Fall Meeting 2012



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Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Essential Nutrition Actions Orientation

Agnes GuyonSenior Child Health & Nutrition Advisor, JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc
Jennifer NielsenSenior Program Manager for Nutrition and Health, Helen Keller International
The Essential Nutrition Actions (ENA) framework promotes a “nutrition through the life cycle” approach, addressing women’s nutrition during pregnancy and lactation, optimal IYCF (breastfeeding & complementary feeding), nutritional care of sick and malnourished children (including zinc, vitamin A and ready to use therapeutic foods), and control of anemia, vitamin A and iodine deficiencies. The training component for implementation of the ENA framework at both the health facility and community levels consists of a trilogy of materials based on versions that have been tested over time and are ready to be used in new settings and countries.
This interactive session focused on what it takes for an NGO to adapt the generic ENA materials to a specific project context: how formative research is used to fine tune the messages AND too identify the most salient practices to emphasize; how to structure a (cascade) training program for health agents and community volunteers; and how to organize community level activities (perhaps using the Care Group model to structure volunteer training and planning/conduct of home visits).

Kangaroo Mother Care Orientation

Stella Abwao, Advisor, Newborn Health, Save the Children/MCHIP
Kangaroo mother care (KMC) is used to care for premature/low birth weight babies and facilitates thermal care through prolonged continuous skin-to-skin contact. For the baby, KMC ensures nutrition by supporting exclusive breastfeeding /feeds with expressed breast milk, promotes infection prevention, continuous weight gain. Increasingly accepted in both high- and low-income countries, KMC has been proven to substantially reduce neonatal mortality amongst preterm/low birth weight babies (birth weight < 2500 g) in suitable health facility settings and is highly effective in reducing severe newborn infections. The orientation session allowed participants to learn about the KMC practice, positioning technique and discuss challenges to scaling up this life-saving method of care within health facilities and follow up to community settings.

Strengthening the National Malaria Control Efforts through Community-Based Strategies: The President’s Malaria Initiative Malaria Communities Program (Grantee Panel, Poster Presentations, and Reception)

PMI and MCHIP highlighted the contributions of seven Malaria Communities Program (MCP) grantees to national malaria control efforts. The Malaria Communities Program was announced December 14, 2006. Through 20 MCP awards to 18 partners in 12 countries, PMI has supported the efforts of communities and non-governmental organizations to combat malaria at the local level. Grantees working in Angola, Ethiopia, Liberia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda discussed their strategies, lessons learned, and unique contributions to local, national and global malaria control efforts with representatives from PMI. US Global Malaria Coordinator, Admiral Tim Ziemer, provided opening remarks. The panel discussion was followed by poster presentations and a reception.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Keynote Speaker:

Amie Batson, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Global Health, USAID

Amie Batson kicked off the meeting by discussing the various initiatives the USG is involved in related to ending preventable child deaths, including the announcement of the new CHSGP awardees. Meeting participants then participated in a World Café-inspired series of discussions on the key issues we collectively face related to this central theme of the meeting. The purpose of this plenary was to stimulate dialogue and exchange of ideas and perspectives on the highest priority challenges and opportunities for INGOs to contribute to ending preventable child deaths, in partnership with USAID and other USG and global stakeholders.

Presentation of the Dory Storms Award to Dr. Abdullah Baqui, Johns Hopkins University and Dr. Jane Vella, Global Learning Partners

At CORE Group’s Spring Meeting, the CORE Group Member voting for the Dory Storms Child Survival Recognition Award resulted in a tie, honoring both Dr. Adbullah Baqui for his work in newborn health and Dr. Jane Vella for her work with Dialogue Education. Both recipients were recognized “for exceptional efforts resulting in more effective child survival program implementation and increased impact in improving the health of the poorest of the poor including mothers, children and infants in underserved communities throughout the world.”

Neonatal Health and Survival_Abdullah Baqui
The Power of Dialogue in Educating Adults_Jane Vella

Lunchtime Roundtables

CSHGP Program Learning Agenda: Maternal and Newborn Health

Marge Koblinsky, Senior Maternal Health Advisor, USAID Dr.

Marge Koblinsky has taken a deep dive into the CSHGP Portfolio to review what has been learned from grantee efforts to improve maternal and newborn health over the past 13 years. She described her findings and recommendations for strengthening project planning, implementation and reporting related to maternal and newborn health interventions.

CSHGP Program Learning Agenda_Marge Koblinksy

Concurrent Sessions

CSHGP Program Learning Cross Cutting Review

David MarshSenior Advisor, Child Survival and Global Team Leader, Community Case Management, Save the Children
Jim Foreit, Consultant
Marge Koblinksy, Senior Maternal Health Advisor, USAID
Nazo KureshyCSHGP Team Leader, USAID
David PelletierAssociate Professor of Nutrition Policy, Cornell University (Discussant)
Karen LeBanExecutive Director, CORE Group (Moderator)

USAID’s CSHGP commissioned three inquiries to strengthen program-based learning systems for global themes of importance in its portfolio. As the initial phase of transforming the program’s learning strategies, three global experts – David Marsh, Jim Foreit and Marge Koblinsky – were selected to conduct portfolio reviews in the areas of Community Case Management of Childhood Illness, Operations Research, and Maternal and Newborn Health. In this session, Nazo Kureshy discussed how NGO program learning resources can be maximized to inform global priorities by more systematically mining lessons learned in collaboration with global stakeholders. Panelists David Marsh, Jim Foreit, and Marge Koblinsky presented findings and shared recommendations from the respective CSHGP portfolio reviews they each conducted. Karen LeBan moderated a discussion with panelists and the audience. Discussant David Pelletier offered summative remarks on program learning and implementation science.

CSHGP Program Learning Review_David Pellitier

Give Them a Chance: What We Know About Prevention of Prematurity and Stillbirth

James LitchPerinatal Interventions Program Director, Global Alliance for the Prevention of Prematurity and Stillbirth
Courtney GravittResearch Associate II, Global Alliance for the Prevention of Prematurity and Stillbirth
Aaron EmmelSenior Policy Advisor, PATH
Carolyn KrugerSenior Advisor for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health/Nutrition, Project Concern International (Facilitator)

The high rate of stillbirths and newborn prematurity in low-income countries has been a neglected topic. The panel presented the evidence base for stillbirth measurement, what is currently known about prevalence and the causes of stillbirth and prematurity, and behavioral and clinical interventions during pregnancy and the intra-partum period to prevent stillbirth and early neonatal deaths.

Prevention of Prematurity and Stillbirth- Epidmiology, Evidence, and Research_James Litch
Implementating Interventions to Reduce the Burden of Preterm and Stillbirth_Courtney Gravett
Advocacy and CORE Group Advocates_Aaron Emmel

mHealth: The Growing INGO Portfolio

Andrea Wilson Cutherell, Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Programs Coordinator, Food for the Hungry
Michael FrostDirector, JSI Center for mHealth
Ann Hendrix-JenkinsDirector of Partnership Development, CORE Group
Gillian Javetski, Program Analyst, Dimagi
Paul PerrinSenior Technical Advisor for Monitoring and Evaluation, Operations Research,and Learning in Health and HIV, Catholic Relief Services

As the nascent field of mhealth emerges, some organizations are taking first steps while others are off and running. The panel discussed a range of different experiences, from one group buying their first ten phones yet moving quickly, another with a complex portfolio, and yet another about launching a national level effort. Participants also learned what’s happening in CORE Group & Dimagi’s Learning Collaborative and Grants Program.

How Can Cell Phones Improve Growth Monitoring and Promotion_ Andrea Cutherell
Implementing mHealth Projects_ Mike Frost
Mhealth: The Growing INGO Portfolio_Ann Hendrix-Jenkins
mHealth Learning Collaborative_Gillian Javetski
Mobile data Collection_Paul Perrin

A Long-term, Integrated Approach to Partnership and Capacity Strengthening: Principles, Investment and Tools

Robert GrabmanDirector, Strength in Solidarity Project, Catholic Relief Services

Given its important role in USAID FORWARD, the concept of capacity strengthening is generating a great deal of interest. During this session, participants learned more about CRS’ capacity strengthening approach, and participated in a practical exercise with its Consortium Alignment Framework for Excellence (CAFE). The intent of CAFE is to make the managerial, financial and administrative functions of a consortium effective, efficient and supportive of project goals, community need, and donor intent. (The presentation was applicable to, but not focused on, health.)

Strength in Solidarity (SiS) Project_Robert Grabman

Office Hours with Jane Vella: What’s Next with Dialogue?

Jane VellaFounder, Global Learning Partners
Valerie Uccellani, Senior Partner, Global Learning Partners
Kris Britt, Contracts and Customer Relations Manager, Global Learning Partners

Participants joined Jane during “office hours” –to ask questions about Dialogue Education. Jane and the team shared stories about how useful it has been in catalyzing learning in the field. Check out their website at

Friday, October 12, 2012

Power Breakfast Roundtables

(see program agenda for detailed descriptions of each roundtable)

Concurrent Sessions (AM)

Community Case Management: A Review of 22 CSHGP Projects Since 2000

David MarshSenior Advisor, Child Survival and Global Team Leader, CCM, Save the Children

What has USAID’s Child Survival and Health Grants Program learned about Community Case Management, and how can more be learned? This session provided the key highlights of a review done of 22 projects since 2000 that highlighted patterns of learning related to CCM across CSHGP grantees. The review included benchmark mapping and structured project summaries that efficiently captured contributions in community case management and can inform how to we are able to learn more and better moving forward. This session will include practical application of useful methodological tools and recommendations on how to document systematically project approaches and achievements.

Community Case Management_David Marsh, Laban Tsuma, Katherine Farnsworth, Kirsten Unfried, Elizabeth Jenkins

Community Health Worker Evidence Review

Henry Perry, Senior Associate, Health Systems Program, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (moderator)
Caroline Bishop
Health Technical Advisor, CRS
Diana Frymus
Health Systems Strengthening Advisor USAID
Joe Naimoli,
 Health Scientist USAIDDiana Frymus, Health Systems Strengthening Advisor USAID
Polly Walker, CHW Program Advisor, World Vision Int.

CHWs are now the focus of intense interest, and many activities are taking place related to CHW programs globally. In this session, Dr. Henry Perry coordinated a discussion that included the following:

  • The process and findings from the US Government Evidence Review Summit on Community and Formal Health System Support for Enhanced Community Health Worker Performance (May 31 and June 1, 2012)
  • Findings from other CHW-related initiatives that have taken place in the previous 6 months such as the Technical Consultation on the Role of Community-based Providers in Improving Maternal and Newborn Health (May 30-31, 2012), WHO meeting on task delegation of MCH activities, and other regional meetings of representatives of government CHW programs
  • Review of CHW Effectiveness for the MDG Health Alliance
  • Activities regarding the review of large-scale CHW programs and how they can be strengthened

Community Health Worker/ Volunteer Initiatives_ Caroline Bishop
USG CHW Evidence Summit_Joseph Naimoli, Estelle Quain, Diana Frymus, Emily Roseman
Do NGOs Need a Principle of Practice_Polly Walker

Local Determinants of Malnutrition: Formative Research and Programmatic Implications

Kathryn ReiderNutrition Technical Specialist, World Vision (Facilitator)
Andrea Cutherell, Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Programs Coordinator, Food for the Hungry
Sarah Borger, Maternal and Child Health Coordinator, Food for the Hungry
Carolyn Wetzel, Director of Health Programs, Food for the Hungry
Justine Kavle, Senior Program Officer, Nutrition, MCHIP and PATH

This session featured two presentations on how formative research can be used to design nutrition programs. The presenters discussed considerations to keep in mind when designing programs and included interactive group work and discussion.

Topic 1: How the results of Local Determinants of Malnutrition formative research studies carried out in seven countries influenced BCC and programs
Participants interacted in a participatory manner with the LDM study results from seven different countries, learning about the research design, questionnaire used, significant determinants of malnutrition identified and impact on program interventions. (Andrea Cutherell, Sarah Borger and Carolyn Wetzel, Food for the Hungry)

Topic 2: Program experience in Kenya implementing nutrition and family planning
This presentation featured MCHIP’s nutrition work on integration with regards to anemia prevention and control as well country-level work on maternal, infant young child nutrition and family planning (MIYCN and FP) integration in Kenya.

Local Determinants of Malnutrition_Carolyn Wetzel, Andrea Cutherell, Sara Borger
Formative Research and Integrated Programming: Maternal anemia and maternal, infant, young child nutrition (MIYCN) and family planning_Kavle

What’s New in Immunization and Where Do PVOs Fit In?

Robert Steinglass, Project Director, ARISE Project and Universal Immunization through Improving Family Health Services Project, JSI
Rebecca FieldsSenior Technical Advisor, MCHIP and ARISE, JSI

The world of global immunization is a dynamic place and several new developments highlight the important role that PVOs and local NGOs can play in it. We are in the midst of the “Decade of Vaccines,” with a new Global Vaccine Action Plan that emphasizes the importance of not just new vaccines against pneumonia and diarrheal disease but also the need for improved equity in immunization. New findings from the Gates-funded Africa Routine Immunization System Essentials (ARISE) project underscore the importance of strong partnerships between health systems and communities in improving immunization, while the Civil Society Organization (CSO) constituency of the GAVI Alliance has set up architecture that opens the door to greater involvement by PVOs in immunization. Through a mix of presentation and lively activities, participants explored what these developments could mean for their existing and future activities, how they can shape their own “job descriptions” in immunization, and the types of technical and financial resources they can access. Participants helped design a message to send to GAVI and others about ways in which PVOs could be effective partners in immunization. The message will be shared during the CSO session at the GAVI Partners’ Forum, a major immunization meeting taking place in December in Tanzania.

What’s New in Immunization and Where Do PVOs fit in?_Rebecca Fields and Robert Steinglass

Lunch Roundtable

Rapid CATCH Indicators…What does the data say? What has been successful? What has been more difficult?

Laban TsumaSenior PVO/NGO Advisor, MCHIP, ICF
Kirsten Unfried, Program Analyst, MCHIP, ICF

All of USAID’s Child Survival Health Grants Program (CSHGP) grantees collect a standard set of indicators, the “Rapid CATCH,” regardless of their project’s focus and where they work. At this roundtable, participants learned about results generated by eight projects that ended in 2011 and participate in a discussion about why certain indicators are easy to move while others are extremely difficult. This sessions provided an excellent informal opportunity for NGOs to learn what others have done, share experiences from their own projects, and reflect on what improvements can potentially be made to current/future projects to realize even better results going forward.

Select KPC Results for Projects that Ended in 2011_Laban Tsuma and Kirsten Unfried

Concurrent Sessions (PM)

Finding the Sweet Spot – Part 2: Leveraging Agriculture Value Chains to Improve Nutritional Outcomes

Paul Sommers, TOPS Project , Mercy Corps

Promotion of agricultural value chains has become a main strategy for improving food security. This market driven approach, which emphasizes yields and appearance, has left some nutrition programmers wondering how nutrition activities fit in. Initial results from the promotion of orange flesh sweet potato (OFSP) in East Africa shows that when nutritional considerations are at the core of value chain activities demand for locally grown

Understanding the Context that Produces Inequities: An Opportunity to Learn About a Systematic Process Used by Concern Worldwide

Kai Matturi, Knowledge and Learning Advisor, Concern Worldwide
Jennifer Winestock LunaMonitoring and Evaluation Advisor, ICF (Facilitator)
Jennifer OlsonAfrica Program Director, HealthRight International (Facilitator)
Jennifer WeissHealth Advisor, Concern Worldwide (Facilitator)

During this session Concern Worldwide discussed their experience of performing a contextual analysis that leads to practical programs to address inequities. The session included an opportunity for participants to discuss how this experience is relevant for their own challenges in health equity programming and suggestions for additional factors to consider when trying to understand the health equity situation in a project area.

Understanding the Context that Produces Inequalities_Kai Matturi

What’s Next for Community Case Management?

Laban TsumaSenior PVO/NGO Advisor, MCHIP, ICF
Sarah Andersson, Country Technical Manager, SC4CCM
Kathryn BollesSenior Director, Emergency Health and Nutrition, Save the Children

In this session, participants learned how CCM is evolving and whether we are truly reaching the most vulnerable sick children. Participants also discussed ideas on simple supply chain solutions that could be applied to other country programs for CCM and learned how CCM is being adapted to emergencies and helping to make communities more resilient.

Inknowvation: Simple Techniques for Tapping into All the Knowledge in the Room

Lani Marquez, Knowledge Management Director, USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI)-University Research Co., LLC/Center for Human Services (URC/CHS)
Lenette GoldingSenior Social and Behavior Change Communication Advisor, CARE

Learning from implementation and capturing the tacit knowledge in the heads of those we work with is a constant challenge in development work. Asking people to write more reports is not the answer! So, how can we engage our colleagues and partners in conversational approaches to sharing lessons and experiences? This mini-workshop introduced participants to knowledge management concepts and how to apply them in their work. Three different techniques were demonstrated for drawing out all knowledge and creativity that each person has to offer and discuss how they can be applied in CORE program contexts.

InKnowvation_Lenette Golding