About the Program

Country leadership lies at the core of the GFF’s collaborative model and is crucial to driving transformational change. Leaders from across the GFF’s member countries who have been championing successful efforts to improve the health of women, children and adolescents have expressed a need to further enhance their leadership impact.

As part of its new strategy, the GFF’s Country Leadership Program for Health System Change (CLP) enables countries to learn from own peers and equip them with the skills and support to drive systemic change across health systems.

Designed and tested as a cross-country experience, the program is fully geared to support individual country needs, on demand. Its content, program and methodology are tailored each time to respond to the specific challenges of country health leaders.

Program Goals | We aim to:


Enhance country leadership impact in response to systemic challenges, in an effective, sustainable, and transformative manner.


Convene and offer state-of-the-art knowledge and specialized know-how – from both global and local institutions – in areas such as, integrated governance, systems change, and evidence informed policy.


Provide a space for country top-leaders in the health arena to meet with peers from own and other countries and collaborate to find innovative responses to specific leadership challenges.


Create a vibrant network of program alumni and CLP champions inspired by the country-driven, results-oriented GFF approach.


The program will focus on national and subnational leaders including government officials, decision-makers, private sector, civil society, donor partners and others. It started with smaller groups per country, aiming to reach around 150 leaders by 2023.

Program Characteristics

Enabling Conditions for Transformative Leadership

To address complex challenges within adaptive systems.

Deep-Competence Oriented

Developing knowledge, skills, and attitudes in an integrated manner.

Tackling Country Specific Challenges

Designed based on real cases described by participants.

Integrated Action-Learning

Combined set of on demand features including coaching, webinars and technical workshops, real-context team assignments, communities of practice and tailored personal development plans.

Tailored Inputs by Experts

In partnership with a variety of specialized institutions and experts.

Source for Research

Seeks to set-up a dynamic and influential alumni network, paired with research.

Key Topics

Understanding the multiple aspects of governance and their particular challenges is often seen as one of the most difficult tasks committed to governments and their main actors. Governing does not allow having time to think, analyze, prepare, discuss and design. It is often about quick overviews and trust in available information and fast decision making. However, contemporary societal challenges require adequate tools from governments and demand leaders to be equipped with new arrays of competencies. These are particularly demanding regarding, precisely, how the broader governance context is understood and dealt with. In this module a framework to grasp the wider picture of governance, including its different aspects, and the ways in which it can be dealt with in an integrated manner will be suggested. Within a context where contemporary policy challenges require multi-level, multi-agent and multi-sectoral approached, discussing the advantages and problems of an integrated perspective on governance, its usefulness and intrinsic challenges will be at the core of the module.

Leaders need to make decisions in real time based on the best available information. Yet data and information available to decision-makers are usually anything but real time. Data that are generated and analyzed are often misaligned with the information needs of key decision-makers and the timeframes whereby they need to make real world decisions. This not only operates as a constraint on specific decisions that need to be made – whether on policy and strategy, financing, service delivery, community engagement and responsiveness, or other matters – but hinders the overall ability of country leaders to deliver on the full potential of their stewardship of the health sector. Better aligning the feedback loops whereby data are generated, analyzed and used with country-led processes through which key decisions are made can help unlock this potential, and significantly enhance individual leadership and how it is applied to strengthen stewardship for improved health of populations. In this module, participants will explore a pragmatic framework and key principles for strengthening leadership through generation, analysis and use of data, and overcoming commonly experienced challenges in different settings. Participants will then explore how they can further learn from each other and apply new approaches in context of their own work to enhance individual leadership and how it is applied to strengthen overall stewardship of the sector.

The complexity and speed of change of our world requires new forms of individual and collective leadership. The old ways of trying to predict the future and control our way towards it are ill-suited to our current reality. We need to develop new qualities and competencies as leaders, build resilient cultures, and create adaptive structures and processes that allow us to dynamically steer our way forward. This module will share some of the personal leadership qualities needed and also show how other modules will be contributing to building transformative leadership in our communities and organizations.

This module serves as an introduction to systems thinking methods and technical tools that are foundational to answering three essential questions: 1. Why does systems thinking exist (i.e., its promise and popularity)? 2. What is systems thinking? 3. How do we do systems thinking? We also explore two subsequent questions: 1. How do we apply systems thinking to everyday and wicked problems? 2. How do we apply systems thinking to the social and policy challenges we face? At its core, systems thinking attempts to better align how we think things work with how the real world actually works. The real world works in systems—complex networks of many interacting variables. Often nonlinear, complex, and unpredictable, real-world systems seldom correspond with our desire for simplistic, hierarchical, and linear explanations. Systems thinking is the field of study that attempts to better understand how to think better about real-world systems, and the complex problems we face.

Most organizational transformations falter because they don’t address the mindset changes necessary to carry out new ways of working. Through a highly structured, research-based method, this module invites participants to uncover the underlying, and otherwise invisible, individual barriers (limiting assumptions and competing commitments) that actively, automatically and powerfully work against desired transformational change. Participants will be introduced to a reliable process for addressing and overcoming these barriers at their core.


In this in-person seminar, reputed experts from both global and local institutions will share key approaches and concepts on the topics relevant to maximize your leadership impact in response to country-specific challenges. During the seminar, these inputs are tangled with operative tools to support immediate learning application based on leaders' real-case scenarios and needs. The duration and format of the seminar is defined as a case-by-case scenario.

This actionable tool provides tailored support for country leaders to analyze and respond to complex challenges based on new concepts and approaches learned. It includes a variety of application exercises, and acts as a visual guide with clear pointers for leadership action and competence development. This tool will be used in the in-person and remain available on-line as a collaboration tool for the team following it up.

A CLP local expert will be available to accompany country leadership following the in-person seminar – this is meant to further support application of learning acquired to daily work and deeper institutionalization of new leadership approaches. This local expert support will also be provided to optimize the application of new knowledge into existing programs, projects and health system strengthening processes.

A set of online learning resources are curated for the specific needs of country leaders, on a case-by-case scenario. These resources include complementary e-learning courses, CLP recorded leadership workshops, selected articles, videos, and related.

Tailor-made case studies will be used through the program, containing several pointers to existing activities and good practices in-country or elsewhere, connections to GFF work, and hints towards institutionalization of a transformative leadership agenda. The case studies will be introduced at specific points of the program. These case studies are developed exclusively for this program, based on the specific needs and leading contexts of participants.

These workshop series share key approaches and concepts on the topics relevant to maximize your leadership impact in complex and adaptive contexts. Reputed experts from selected institutions will provide input tailored to cohort needs, that could then be applied to address in-country challenges.

Before the program starts, you will be able to complete the Hogan leadership assessments and gain insights about key strengths, areas for development, values, and vulnerabilities that have the potential to hinder your leadership effectiveness. In addition, you will have the opportunity to turn these insights into action by working with a coaching expert to drive both personal and organizational success.

As the program unfolds, optional thematic workshops will be scheduled on a content demand basis to complement the program. Participation is not mandatory, but we highly recommended that you join to learn complementary leadership skills, approaches, concepts and actionable tools that will enhance your leadership impact. These sessions are also open to participants from other CLP cohorts (in different countries).

These are groups organized across countries, for peer functions among CLP participants. For example, if you are a leader in the health sector representing a governmental institution or civil society organizations, you will be able to peer-up with leaders in similar roles in other countries and discuss on the challenges and opportunities you may find in leadership capacity.

The CLP Alumni Community has been set up to gather CLP participants and experts beyond the duration of each program. The objective is to continue sharing best practices, challenges, questions, and solutions to improve the impact on systemic change in the health sector. By joining the CLP Alumni Community, you will also get access to a wealth of resources to support leadership impact in the health sector and receive regular updates through the CLP Newsletter.

Program Faculty

Dr. Peter Merry is co-founding Chief Innovation Officer at Ubiquity University. He has worked in and across different sectors. As well as co-founding and leading various organizations, his experience includes facilitating integral change processes in multinational corporations, and government ministries, and in multistakeholder initiatives with global stakeholders. He has also spent many years in the not-for-profit sector. He is a recognized expert in the field of futureproof learning, evolutionary systems dynamics and integral leadership

Yene Assegid is a seasoned transformational leadership practitioner with a broad global background. She is a speaker, facilitator, and author who guides many of the world's leading organizations in developing leadership and high performance. Working as a professional Leadership Executive Coach and Senior Trainer since the mid-nineties, she brings extensive experience in talent development. She is a member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and holds the level of a Master Certified Coach (MCC), ranking her in the top 5% of coaches worldwide. Yene has collaborated with organizations such as the EU, IFC/World Bank, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNICEF, UNJSPF, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), UNOCHA, UNSSC, WHO, UN Secretariat, and GELI. She holds a PhD in Transformational Leadership from the California Institute of Integral Studies and an MBA from the University of Maryland.

Filipe Teles has worked with and across different sectors. As an expert/consultant he has worked with several European institutions and agencies, as well as in other global contexts where he has acted as consultant and policy advisor in topics related to decentralization, local governance, inter-institutional collaboration and integrated governance. He is a political scientist in the University of Aveiro, Portugal, where he teaches courses in the fields of Public Policy and Governance, and currently acts as Pro-rector for Regional Development. He holds a PhD in Political Science and has developed research work on subnational governance, territorial reforms, and political leadership. Filipe Teles participates in several international projects and is the author and co-author of various books. In the context of his teaching and research activities he has lectured in several universities in different continents. He is the co-editor of the book series “Palgrave Studies in Sub-National Governance” and, currently, vice-president of the European Urban Research Association.

Gabriela Morena is a Senior Public Policy Professional with extensive experience in local government and public management as an appointed official and advisor. She currently works as a consultant in diagnosis, planning and implementation of public policies for governments and international organizations; and is an integrated researcher in the Governance, Competitiveness and Public Policy Research Unit – GOVCOPP, at the University of Aveiro - Portugal. During the last decade, she has worked with policy makers to execute government plans focused on social policy areas with a people/territory based approach. As part of an innovative team she supported the implementation of a new territorialised education policy in the City of Rio de Janeiro, one of the most challenging educational projects in recent years. From this experience she contributed to the development of a Competency Matrix for Public Managers as part of the Educational Leaders Development Program of the Centre for Excellence and Innovation in Educational Policies (EBAPE-FGV)

Laura and Derek Cabrera (B.S., M.P.A, & PhD, Cornell) are co-founders of the Cabrera Research Lab and researchers at the Cornel University. They have co-authored a number of publications on Systems Thinking, including the popular book “Systems Thinking Made Simple: New Hope for Solving Wicked Problems”. Laura applies her expertise in research methods and translational research to increase public understanding, practical application, and dissemination of sophisticated systems science and systems thinking models. Derek is an internationally known systems scientist and a faculty member at Cornell University, where he teaches systems thinking, leadership, and mapping. In his work, Derek developed and patented a suite of systems thinking tools for use in academia, business, and beyond. Both Laura and Derek are co-editors of the Routledge Handbook of Systems Thinking.

Peter Hansen leads GFF’s Results workstream. Previously, Peter co-led Results for Development’s health portfolio and served as director of the Health Systems Strengthening Accelerator. He also worked at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, where he led a department responsible for accelerating the introduction and scale up of innovations and ensuring scientific and technical quality of investments totaling nearly $4 billion per year in over 100 countries. He also worked at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, where he led the monitoring and evaluation function and investments in strengthening country data systems and capacities.

Dr. Nkechi Olalere is the Special Advisor on Health Economics to the Honorable Minister of Health and Sanitation in Sierra Leone where she serves as a thought partner on health financing reforms. She has over 17 years’ experience in health insurance implementation, spanning private, public and development sectors. She is passionate about digital health, sustainability of country health systems and strategic purchasing, especially provider payment reforms, several of which she led, successfully, in the private health insurance space. Nkechi recently served as the Executive Director of Strategic Purchasing Africa Resource Center (SPARC) and the chair of Africa Union’s Tracker sub-committee tasked with developing indicators and measures of progress for ‘More Health for the Money’. She is the chair of the Rapid Cycle Monitoring sub-group of Global Financing Facility’s Results Advisory Group.

Dr. Jeanine Condo, MD, PhD, is a seasoned medical doctor and public health expert with extensive experience in academia, government, and non-profit sectors. As CEO of CIIC-HIN, a Rwanda-based NGO, she leads initiatives driving research, innovation, and capacity building in the public health sector. Dr. Condo holds Adjunct Associate Professor roles at the University of Rwanda and Tulane University, USA. Formerly, she served as Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Center, overseeing evidence-based healthcare improvements while spearheading transformative strategies to enhance healthcare delivery in the nation. Her tenure at the University of Rwanda included positions as Dean and Principal, shaping the College of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dr. Condo's influence extends to international committees like the Global Fund's TERG and WHO's Primary Health Care Advisory Group. A committed mentor, she has supervised numerous postgraduate students and supports women's leadership in East Africa. With over 50 peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Condo remains dedicated to advancing public health.

Lisa is Founder of Minds At Work, a coaching and consulting firm serving businesses and institutions around the world and is on the faculty of Harvard University where leads the Personal Mastery program in the Doctorate Program for Educational Leaders for aspiring public-school superintendents and other leaders. Lahey and collaborator Robert Kegan are credited with discovering the “immunity to change,” a dynamic which impedes personal and organizational transformation. Her work helps people to close the gap between their good intentions and behaviors. This work is used worldwide by executives, senior teams and individuals in business, governmental, and educational organizations.

In order to make the program optimized for local / regional specific context, the CLP faculty is enriched with selected experts on a case-by-case scenario. These local / regional faculty members work alongside with global faculty members to adjust the program and add content in response to country specific needs.