For the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), and within the context of global health diplomacy, resource mobilization is a complex activity that considers technical knowledge, political advocacy, and strategic communication applied to this purpose, and the finest diplomacy at national, regional, and global levels. Within this context, all these areas of knowledge focus mainly on presenting – in the most strategic manner – the work of our organization as the best solution for complex problems that the partners (current and potential) intend to solve. This is manifested by means of calculated relation actions with partners, in which the importance of our activities and the way our institution presents the highest added value within a highly competitive context, are emphasized.
According to Alberto Kleiman, Director of the Department of External Relations, Partnerships and Resource Mobilization, “resource mobilization of is not an activity performed only by one person once in a while; it is a constant corporative work that requires the coordination of many players and a continuous exchange of strategic intelligence between headquarters and the offices of the countries. The success in mobilizing resources consists of understanding our partners and mutual understanding in order to be able to convince them that our work is the best way to progress towards reaching their objectives.”
Thus, PAHO/WHO relies on a highly capacitated group of professionals at the Department of External Relations, Partnerships and Resource Mobilization (ERP). Among their roles, they manage the official relations between the Pan-American Health Office and the international community, and build partnerships that contribute towards the fulfillment of PAHO/WHO Strategic Plan.
In this sense, it took place on 27-29 November 2017, at the premises of the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information (BIREME), on November 27-29, 2017, the “Subregional Workshop for Institutional Strengthening in the Development and Management of Projects, Resource Mobilization, and Political Advocacy” was held, within the scope of strategy of resource mobilization for 2014-2019. Such a strategy provides a logical framework to support the Organization (technical departments and country offices) in their efforts to achieve the results foreseen in the 2014-2019 PAHO Strategic Plan.
The specific objectives of the sessions were to develop capacities at local level and improve relations among the ERP team and the PAHO/WHO offices and centers, to generate resource mobilization actions. In addition to academic purposes and the development of practical capacities, this event is an action focused on strengthening the skills of the teams in the priority countries. The event had over 30 participants from five Offices, including Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela, as well as PAHO Specialized Centers BIREME and PANAFTOSA.
Dr. Diego González, BIREME director, welcomed the participants and manifested the importance of this type of workshop for the Center, whose mission is to democratize information, knowledge, and evidence. BIREME has products and services that demand financial, human and technological resources to be developed and provided to the final users.
The workshop program combined theory and practice through group activities divided into three modules: a) Projects: design of projects and knowledge about the internal processes of PAHO, b) Political Advocacy: create strategic messages to present proposals and defend important themes of the Organization, and to specifically advance in cooperation in the field of health in the Region, and c) Resource mobilization: strategies to mobilize resources and best practices.
Besides Alejandro Alcantara and Vanessa Victoria, from ERP/PAHO, with wide experience in the fields of resource mobilization and development both at PAHO and the International Development Banks, the workshop had two other facilitators, Hernán Rosenberg and Roberto Izurieta. With didactic strategies and dynamic approach, they conducted workshops very well evaluated by all participants. Lara Vu, a Consultant from Los Angeles, USA, participated remotely and presented the work she is directing at ERP regarding mobilization of resources with the private sector.
According to Giovanni Escalante, PAHO/WHO Representative in Uruguay, “it become evident that mobilization of resources requires multiple capacities, such as diplomacy, negotiation, and stating a clear and concise message, based on confirmatory data.”
Finally, Alejandro Alcantara, a specialist in Partnerships and Resources Mobilization at ERP, stated that “the workshop held at BIREME was a very positive and enriching experience, since it allowed exchanging ideas and experiences, getting to know our colleagues from the various offices of the country, as well as learning with each other – the best way to learn. For these reasons, such events not only enable us to develop as professionals, but also strengthen our work relations and improve our professional performance in the Organization”.
The event had the local support of BIREME and had the purpose to support the Center in the elaboration of its resource mobilization plan considering its new institutionality and the need to develop new mechanisms for receiving contributions from potential institutional partners, stated Silvia de Valentin, Administrator of BIREME.