Turning great ideas into healthier communities


Celebrating the Global Health Corporate Champions

May 08, 2017 | David Godsted, Global Health Fellows Program II | This post first appeared on the PYXERA blog.

In a time of unprecedented global challenges, private sector engagement has never played a more central role in international development. As the Deputy Director of the Global Health Fellows Program II, I am proud of the work the Global Health Corporate Champions are doing to engage the private sector to address global health challenges.

The Global Health Corporate Champions is an activity of USAID’s Global Health Fellows Program (GHFP) II, which is implemented by the Public Health Institute and supported by PYXERA Global. GHFP-II supports the Agency’s thought leadership in building a diverse, technically excellent, culturally competent group of American global health leaders.

The Global Health Corporate Champions is a multi-company cohort of business professionals from across multiple industries providing pro bono consulting services in Accra, Ghana. Drawing from their collective expertise in management, communications, product sustainability, operations, and finance, the team spent a month embedded in four social sector health organizations focused on projects designed to increase access to quality healthcare for communities throughout the region.

The participating companies of the most recent cohort were SAP, The Dow Chemical Company, PIMCO, and WE Communications. The participating local health organizations were Ghana Coalition of NGOs in the Water and Sanitation Sector (CONIWAS), Hope for Future Generations, Ghana Registered Midwives Association, and Nneka Youth Foundation. Teams worked on deliverable-based projects with organizations tackling issues such as clean water and sanitation, food and nutrition security, health system strengthening, and gender inclusion and empowerment.

The Champions took on four projects, lending their expertise and experience to strengthen key organizations, building capability and capacity through focused efforts on strategic priorities as determined by the organizations:

  • Communications and Administrative Strategy for the Ghana Registered Midwives Association;
  • Communications and Operational Strategy for the Nneka Youth Foundation;
  • Business Case and Annual Strategic Plan with Operational Guidelines for the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS)
  • Data Management and Storage for Hope for Future Generations (HFFG)

I was fortunate to visit these programs during the final week of activities, and to participate in the closing event on March 17. This event represented the official closeout of the second cohort of Global Health Corporate Champions in Ghana, bringing together the program stakeholders to present the final outcomes of the engagement and discuss its expected impact. The event took on a celebratory air and was made even more meaningful by the attendance of U.S. Ambassador Robert P. Jackson. He graciously provided comments to celebrate and commemorate the work of the champions. Those comments follow.

Ambassador Robert P. Jackson at the USAID Global Health Corporate Champions Closeout Ceremony
Ambassador Robert P. Jackson at the USAID Global Health Corporate Champions Closeout Ceremony

USAID Global Health Corporate Champions Closeout Ceremony Remarks by Ambassador Robert P. Jackson

Good morning. I am delighted to be here today on behalf of the U.S. government to celebrate the great work of the USAID Global Health Corporate Champions.

I would like to thank PYXERA Global for organizing today’s event, and for being a stalwart partner in our quest to usher in sustainable development. I would also like to thank The Dow Chemical Company, WE Communications, SAP, and PIMCO for sending your best and brightest to serve in Ghana through this program. And a special thanks to the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in the Water and Sanitation Sector, Hope for Future Generations, the Ghana Registered Midwives Association, the Nneka Youth Foundation—and, of course, all the Corporate Champions—for your tireless work to transform lives. Having had a chance to speak with many of you, I have seen how diverse and impressive this group is. I am sure that you have learned a lot from each other.

The Global Health Corporate Champions program exemplifies the U.S. government’s approach to development. Partnerships are central to everything we do, in Ghana and around the world. Here in Ghana, we partner with ministries, local government bodies, civil society organizations, universities, and Ghanaian and American businesses to empower communities and make sure each and every Ghanaian has a fair chance to thrive. Our partnerships have enabled us to make the best use of our resources, make the most out of every dollar spent, and ensure development gains are sustainable. Most importantly, our partnerships have enabled the people of Ghana to benefit from the combined resources, know-how, and reach of this broad coalition.

The great thing about partnerships such as the Global Health Corporate Champions program is they are self-sustaining, because they benefit all parties. GHCC likes to say it brings a “triple benefit.” First, the Corporate Champions gain global leadership skills, perspective, and understanding. Second, the participating companies gain insight into a key emerging market, develop their leaders, and demonstrate their sense of social responsibility. And, third, the Ghanaian organizations gain pro bono expertise so they can build their skills and better address the most pressing global health challenges.

The stories from this program are truly inspiring. The Dow Chemical Company and WE Communications are two highly respected members of American industry. Four corporate champions from these two companies volunteered their time with the Ghana Registered Midwives Association, the organization that represents all midwives in Ghana. These four champions are here with us today. They are Jeff Tazelaar, Mark Boquet, Hugh Adams, and Chrissy Vaughn.

Jeff is a supply chain innovator. Mark is a medical doctor. Hugh is a health communications specialist. And Chrissy is a media relations director. While they are all accomplished professionals in their different fields, they were able to add this truly one-of-a-kind experience to their C.V.s and learn a tremendous amount in just one month. They met people they would never have gotten to meet back home—people like Marufatu Essie Braimah, a police woman, midwife, and community leader, who taught them about the challenges facing midwives in Ghana. They even got to have a private discussion on maternal health with the First Lady of Ghana, Rebecca Akufo-Addo.

The midwives, too, benefited immensely. The Champions pooled their talents to help the midwives draft:

  • a new organizational value proposition,
  • a complete administrative strategy,
  • a communications plan and messaging strategy,
  • and a baseline of monitoring and evaluation indicators.

They also improved the ability of key leaders in communications and messaging. The impacts of this work will persist long after today’s ceremony ends.

I would like to conclude by wishing a heartfelt “Ayekoo,” or well-done, to all 13 of the Corporate Champions here today. I would also like to congratulate our partner Ghanaian organizations for all you have accomplished in collaboration with the Champions in the past month. I look forward to hearing more about your experiences, and to seeing how you apply all you have learned in the future. Thank you.

David Godsted is the Deputy Program Director for the Global Health Fellows Program II.