How The Challenge Initiative Adapted and Used Pause and Reflect Responsive Feedback Sessions for Adaptive Management in Nigeria

Glob Health Sci Pract. 2023 Dec 18;11(Suppl 2):e2200209. doi: 10.9745/GHSP-D-22-00209. Print 2023 Dec 18.


Background: The Challenge Initiative (TCI) supports state governments to effectively and sustainably scale up family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) programming in Nigeria. Given the limited evidence on successful scale-up of health interventions, TCI has established responsive feedback (RF) approaches to regularly review and reflect upon its strategies to quickly adapt and document lessons for scaling FP/RH interventions. One of the RF components adopted was pause and reflect (P&R) exercises to facilitate adaptive management.

Methods: TCI conducted quarterly P&R exercises to identify what works, adapt strategies where needed, and document lessons learned. These exercises were typically conducted as focus group discussions where staff members deliberated on a topic, strategy, or action and discussed how best to refine, diffuse, or discard it. About 10-15 staff participated in each session, including country office technical advisors, state program managers, and technical leads.

Results: TCI has conducted 4 P&R exercises to date. The first P&R focused on identifying effective strategies for scaling up FP/RH interventions and led to the recognition of TCI's coaching strategy and FP in-reaches as evidence-based approaches. The second P&R focused on how to improve TCI's Reflection and Action to Improve Self-reliance and Effectiveness tool to effectively measure governments' capacity to implement FP/RH interventions. The third P&R on graduation activities of TCI's first phase states revealed best practices for planning graduation activities for its second phase states. The fourth P&R on TCI's coaching strategy showed that geographies require a more structured coaching plan to effectively manage their coaching interventions. Implementation of identified actions from the P&R exercises contributed to noticeable improvements in programming.

Conclusion: The P&R exercise has contributed to improvements in adaptive management in TCI programming in Nigeria and is recommended for use by implementing partners, government officials, and other community stakeholders as a useful RF tool.

MeSH terms

  • Family Planning Services*
  • Feedback
  • Humans
  • Nigeria
  • Reproductive Health*