Sep 28, 2016

Internship Diary: Save the Children

By David Washer T'17

In 2015, there were 214 million new cases of malaria and 438,000 malaria deaths worldwide. Even though the disease is entirely preventable and curable, malaria continues to be one of the five leading causes of death in children under five years of age. Given the magnitude of this problem, Save the Children wanted to create a robust and clear strategy that would help them make a serious dent in malaria’s negative effects on children worldwide. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to use my skills developed during my time at the Bridgespan Group and Tuck to lead Save the Children’s strategic planning process.  

The strategic planning process I led this past summer can be broken down into four phases. First, I conducted desk research to identify key areas of need, gaps in the field of malaria interventions, funding flows, and global strategies. From there, I tested a few hypothesized strategies in over a dozen expert interviews in order to get external perspectives on the direction Save the Children should take. I then synthesized the insights from the desk research and interviews to create a half-day working session with Save the Children’s Child Health team during which the team finalized its intended impact and theory of change. Lastly, I took these inputs and drafted a strategy memo with accompanying slides to guide Save the Children’s malaria programming through 2020.

The highlight of the strategic planning process was undoubtedly the working session with the Child Health team. It was humbling to listen to this incredibly talented group of experts as they thought deeply about how to best use Save the Children’s resources while listening to and learning from the communities they serve along the way. The team’s enthusiasm and optimism was contagious. Even as we looked at the maps I created to synthesize the global disease burden, inadequate funding, and gaps in services, the team was undeterred from pursuing its vision to greatly reduce and even eliminate malaria in key regions throughout the world. As for me, I thoroughly enjoyed facilitating this conversation, playing back insights and asking key questions, using the skills I’ve developed at Bridgespan and Tuck. With many thanks to Tuck GIVES, I hope to continue my work with Save the Children throughout the academic year as I finish my MBA/MPH (and for years after!).