Join a movement to improve technical support to country change processes

There have been many calls over the years to reimagine traditional technical assistance models and find better ways to support country-led change. Conversations with country practitioners and policymakers tell us they are looking for:

  • Better access to experts who understand their country contexts; who have practical, relatable experiences with similar challenges; and who can work with them to develop home-grown solutions.
  • More investments in developing individual and institutional capacity that can be sustained even after technical support ends.

Coach: An expert who engages with the country team consistently over a defined period of time for a specific technical task. The coach may provide technical guidance through short, targeted engagements or the coach may work side-by-side with country partner for a longer-term process.

Mentor: A senior expert with relevant experience that can be brought in at key moments in the country process to provide high-level, strategic guidance, especially at critical decision points.

The Coaching Approach

To respond to this, we are bringing together a global community of stakeholders committed to improving technical assistance and learning from one another. Together, we are building and sharing the coaching approach.

The coaching approach draws mainly on country and regional experts to support country change processes, supported by global coaches and mentors as needed. The coaches bring technical expertise and evidence that are adapted to suit the country context, and they help facilitate more robust, country-led processes through learning-by-doing. This approach emphasizes working through existing infrastructure and processes, not creating parallel systems.

We are initially focusing on coaching to support health system strengthening, but the approach can be applied to supporting systems change in all sectors.

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Gaining the “soft skills” to be a coach or mentor

Serving as a coach or mentor goes beyond being a consultant or a technical assistance provider. It’s a different way of working that requires strong skills in stakeholder engagement, process facilitation, knowledge translation and communication, in addition to technical expertise. For experts interested in learning about or adopting the coaching approach, we have developed a series of open, online e-learning modules to introduce the concept and share some good practices and useful tips for playing the role of a coach or mentor effectively. We are also building a collection of case studies, blogs, and other resources that capture reflections and practical advice from coaches and mentors to help guide aspiring coaches and mentors.screenshot of a website on a laptop

Raising the profile of country and regional experts

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Sign Up to be Featured in our Experts Database

If you are a health systems strengthening expert or part of an organization involved in health systems strengthening based in Africa or Asia, create a profile on The Experts Database today.

And if you’re seeking health systems strengthening support, explore the platform — where you can filter experts and institutions by country, expertise, languages spoken and more.

In February 2021, we launched The Experts Database to connect practitioners and policymakers with local and regional global health experts and organizations that can support country-led health systems change.

Change agents can use the database to identify experts who are familiar with their unique country contexts, and who have the practical, relatable knowledge and skills to help them develop home-grown solutions to health systems challenges.

The Coaching Approach learning initiative

In order to build knowledge about what works well and understand the challenges with this approach, we are bringing together country, regional and global experts to document experiences, share lessons learned and exchange helpful tips as they apply this approach.

For more information about our collaborative learning sessions, contact

This work is a collaborative effort and supported by several ongoing initiatives, including the African Collaborative for Health Financing Solutions, the Health Systems Strengthening Accelerator, and the Strategic Purchasing Africa Resource Center.

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Global & Regional Initiatives

R4D is a globally recognized leader for designing initiatives that connect implementers, experts and funders across countries to build knowledge and get that knowledge into practice.