As the INGO landscape shifts, are we ready to take on the future?

by Carolyn Brehm, Board Chair, PSI and Karl Hofmann, President & CEO, PSI

With rapid changes in the health sector and the international non-profit organizations (INGOs) operating environment, are we poised to adapt and grow? As the Population Services International (PSI) Board reflected on strategic priorities, Raj Kumar, the CEO of DevEx, challenged us to consider the major trends that are shaping the future of international development.

When it comes to INGOs, Raj noted a gradual shift in mindset from trying to save “beneficiaries” to serving “consumers”, who have the agency to change their own lives and their communities with access to the right tools and services. Instead of big global projects that are conceptualized in Washington, DC and London, we are also seeing more localization as INGOs try to get closer to the consumer and better understand the local markets. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power echoed this notion by committing 25% of USAID funds to local partners within four years. Localization does not imply that INGOs will become irrelevant. With steady growth in private capital and philanthropy, globally networked NGOs that have the capacity to utilize funds effectively and produce strong impact will only get bigger, noted Raj.

As the INGO landscape changes, the PSI Board sees significant opportunities due to our strengths: localized leadership and implementation muscle, private partnerships, a deep focus on consumer insights, customer and retail focus, thought leadership and the scale that comes from having a global network. Raj challenged PSI to reflect on our unique value proposition – our “special sauce”. He urged us to draw on our strong brand heritage, mission and culture as we continue to branch out from our traditional government-funded work.

The board members reflected on PSI’s 2021-23 Strategy “Scaling Consumer-Powered Healthcare”, to reaffirm the choices we are making about our business model, our path to stronger financial reserves and our human capital needs.

As part of the steady renewal of the PSI governing structure, the board also voted to add four new members in 2022, replacing those departing at the end of their terms. We are pleased to welcome four extraordinary individuals who bring global public health, reproductive health, family planning, digital technology and business expertise to the board.

  • Dr. Ana Langer, Professor at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and Population and Director of the Dean’s Special Initiative on Women and Health
  • English Sall, Co-founder and CEO of data and insights company Cymantix and Board Member of Sall Family Foundation
  • Dr. Jotham Musinguzi, Director General of Uganda’s National Population Council (NPC), Ministry of Finance.
  • Marisa Bass, most recently General Manager of Healthcare at CLEAR (“YOU”, NYSE)

In 2022, the PSI Board of Directors will be comprised of 65% women, 44% people of color and 38% representatives from the Global South. A modern governing structure for our modern global enterprise.

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