Kenya: Scaling Solutions Toward Shifting Systems

Content Manager • 11 September 2019

        Exploring Good Health for All in Kenya workshop took place as a part of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors Scaling Solutions toward Shifting Systems initiative, which encourages funders to work collaboratively to place longer-term, more adaptive and responsive resources with grantees and investees to enable them to scale their solutions and impact toward pressing problems, and contribute to positive systems change around those challenges.

     The initiative was launched in 2016 by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), the Skoll Foundation, and a committed group of Steering Group members from the Skoll, Ford, and Draper Richards Kaplan Foundations and Porticus. Since then we have completed research and convened events with funders and grantees in the US, Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

      In 2019, we explored more deeply what collaborating for systems change looks like in a particular geographic area on a specific theme, in order to help funders understand the importance of local context and partnerships. We started with Kenya and focused on health and the determinants of health. Agenda 2030 – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), includes Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all, at all ages. Within that goal, target 3.8, which is also an aim of the Government of Kenya and many others, is to achieve universal health coverage (UHC), including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.

      For Kenya and most countries, achieving this goal requires greatly scaled-up solutions and impact and having at least some philanthropic funders adopt a systems approach, not least addressing deeper root causes; shifting mindsets and behaviors; supporting improved policies and implementation of those policies; and understanding and addressing power dynamics. At the same time, strengthening individual organizations’ ability to scale their work positions them better to shift systems through:

  • Capacity strengthening;
  • Improving direct service delivery;
  • Advocating for better policies and practices;
  • Changing behaviors, social norms, and mindsets;
  • Improving quality and access to facilities.

      Additionally, this can mean wider sector changes in order to create a more enabling environment for such scale of innovative solutions to take place. In our initiative, we have posited that for grantee or investee partners who have the intent to scale solutions and impact, funders can best support them not only by following the SCALE recommendations above, but also by supporting them, as appropriate, in connecting with larger, more influential system actors. Ideally, this would enable long-term partnerships beyond individual events.


For more information, please see the full report attached below. 

Photo credit: UNHCR


The views expressed in the blog and the report attached are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the SDG Philanthropy Platform. The SDG Philanthropy Platform is a global initiative that connects philanthropy with knowledge and networks that can deepen collaboration, leverage resources and sustain impact, driving SDG delivery within national development planning. It is led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), and supported by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Ford Foundation, Oak Foundation, Brach Family Charitable Foundation, and many others.