Emily Bancroft: Government Partnerships, Impact vs. Costs

For the past 20 years, VillageReach has kept its vision of improving access to quality healthcare in some of the world’s hardest to reach communities, continually evolving and adapting its relationships to achieve this vision. Now led by Emily Bancroft, VillageReach has prioritized the organization’s collaboration with and support of local governments as a key pathway to create and scale sustainable impact at what it calls “the last mile” (i.e., where community-level healthcare is consumed).

In this episode of CASE in Point, you will hear Emily discuss VillageReach’s evolution in understanding how to best contribute to the systems-level change it was seeking.  She shares tactics that VillageReach uses to work effectively with government, including:

Adapting to Government Systems

Identifying how your proof of concept model might need to evolve to meet the shape of the current government systems, including its infrastructure and incentives.  How can you design solutions that can ultimately be absorbed within the local systems?

Minimizing Risk for Government Partners

Given the many priorities and demands placed on government, often with only limited budget, social ventures can play a key role in absorbing some of the risk of testing out new methodologies.  Emily shares how VillageReach works to help minimize risk for its government partners while pursuing innovative solutions together.

Managing Trade-offs

Most social ventures strive to achieve the key elements of impact, scale, and sustainability—but with the knowledge that there are usually trade-offs between the three. Emily discusses how VillageReach has pursued all three, and where it made strategic decisions to sacrifice one for the benefit of the other.

Formalizing Partnership Structures

Emily speaks to some of the ways in which partnerships can be formalized and maintained, such as developing MOU’s to clearly define the relationship, developing toolkits to support process, and identifying internal champions to help move the work forward.

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VillageReach is one of the many organizations we interviewed as a part of the Scaling Pathways series in partnership with the USAID Global Development Lab, the Skoll Foundation, and Mercy Corps.  The Scaling Pathways series includes case studies on organizations that have scaled well and deep dives on topics around finance and government partnerships. You can learn more and read the studies at https://scalingpathways.globalinnovationexchange.org/.