The purpose of this evaluation was to assess the degree to which the strategic intent within its programmatic policies is efficiently and effectively operationalised through its funding levers and the application process. This strategy operationalisation ultimately leads to the enhanced potential contribution to delivery of national immunisation programmes’ priorities.
The principal objective of this evaluation was to assess the effectiveness of Gavi’s strategy operationalisation model. The evidence generated by this evaluation will:
- support identification of strengths and weaknesses in the strategy operationalisation model; and
- generate organisation-level learning on the strategy operationalisation model.
The original use case for the evaluation was to inform the Gavi 6.0 strategy (2026–2030) design and operationalisation process; and to provide valuable evidence to feed into the Mid-Term Evaluation (MTE) to help explain performance. The MTE is an ongoing evaluation by the centralised evaluation team with the key objectives to assess the status of implementation of Gavi’s fifth strategy (Gavi 5.0/5.1) by end 2023 and identify the drivers and barriers that explain that status; assess the extent to which implementation of the strategy on its current trajectory will plausibly result in achievement of the prioritised strategic goals and objectives, and identify areas for course correction; and generate a series of findings, conclusions, lessons learned and recommendations that can feed into a first course correction of Gavi 5.1 and inform the development of Gavi 6.0.
The evaluation methodology relied on a theory-based, mixed methods approach, with a strong focus on utilisation. Data collection included document review; 127 key informant interviews (KIIs) at global, regional and country levels; eight country case studies; and a thematic comparator study of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) and Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF).
The report provides 29 key findings with corresponding strength of evidence; 6 conclusions; 4 lessons learnt; and 7 actionable recommendations to improve how Gavi works, including:
- Consider minimal changes to the strategic objectives for Gavi 6.0. With the significant strategic shifts in the updated Gavi 5.1 agenda still in the process of being operationalised in many countries, the next strategy would benefit from minimal modifications, considering only those related to: (i) countries’ contexts and priorities, for example, building pandemic response capacities, restoring routine immunisation and reaching zero-dose children; (ii) possible shifts in the external environment, for example, addressing climate change or poly-epidemics; and (iii) considering the Gavi Secretariat’s ability to support the countries. This implies scrutinising the trade-offs on the extent of detail and choice of strategic changes.
- Invest sufficient time and resources into the Gavi strategy operationalisation and the complementary organisational optimisation processes. To operationalise the Gavi 5.0/5.1 strategy, a well-structured process was put in place to update the relevant aspects of the Gavi model (e.g. funding policies and levers, programmatic approaches, portfolio management processes, organisational design, partnership model before the start of the strategic cycle). The initially planned two-year process should have been sufficient to address the strategy’s operationalisation and the underlying organisational and operational constraints. Unfortunately, these processes were interrupted when the Secretariat and countries had to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, diverting time and resources. This resulted in delays in operationalising the strategy across workstreams, with some elements, e.g. the Full Portfolio Planning (FPP) process, only fully implemented in a few countries and which may not be completed until the next strategic period. Post-pandemic preparation for the next strategic period should be able to improve further the strategy operationalisation process and implementation of Gavi 6.0 if adequate time, resources and change management efforts are dedicated, and the organisational optimisation of the Gavi Secretariat’s ongoing Operational Excellence process is leveraged and permanently embedded into the organisation.
- Establish permanent oversight and coordination of the operationalisation process and its resources. Create a senior, responsible entity within the Gavi Secretariat to guide, design and oversee the strategy operationalisation process, including the development of and accountability for, an operationalisation plan and change management.
- Encourage wider engagement of stakeholders in the operationalisation process, specifically Gavi implementing country stakeholders and Gavi Secretariat country-facing staff. Increase the involvement of Alliance partners, including Gavi implementing country stakeholders and Gavi Secretariat country-facing staff, in the strategy operationalisation process, before and during the grant cycle, with more clarity on their roles and responsibilities.
- Simplify and streamline funding levers and related guidance, tools and processes. The number of funding levers with accompanying sets of policies, guidance, flexibilities, application and implementation modalities have been confusing for countries and the Gavi Secretariat country-facing staff that support them. A reduction in the number of levers should not be purely a numerical exercise, but instead be based on a thorough review of: (i) what would be most impactful to achieve the strategic objectives of Gavi implementing countries and the Gavi Secretariat; (ii) separate versus integrated funding lever trade-offs; (iii) flexibilities of the funding sources; and (iv) the ability of the different teams to manage various funding levers. The latter should consider streamlining the various funding lever business owners across the departments.
- Review and expedite the Full Portfolio Planning (FPP) process. One of the developments with the most potential arising from the operationalisation of the Gavi 5.0/5.1 strategy has been the development and early implementation of the FPP process. While iterations of this grant planning modality existed in previous strategic periods, it was significantly updated and scaled up for Gavi 5.0/5.1. Countries appreciate the integration of the different funding levers, the simplified application form and process and the extended duration of the subsequent grant. However, some elements require review to optimise the process, such as the intensive preparation of the application and the need for specific funding lever applications to remain independent outside of the FPP process. Lastly, few countries have engaged in the process, as it only started in 2022 (with the first grant disbursements in early 2023). It will be several years before all countries have received grants based on the integrated FPP process. Therefore, a further review of the FPP process and expediting its roll-out should be considered for the remainder of the Gavi 5.0/5.1 strategic period and well into Gavi 6.0.