Lesson 1, Step 1
In Progress

What are the Prevention+ Core Principles and how did they help?

It is difficult to achieve decentralized decisions AND consistent strategic action across a large and geographically spread programme such as Prevention+. However, private sector companies who face similar challenges when they have a large, diversified offering and workforce that is spread globally, often employ what is called a ‘strategic principle’ to help the companies employees to make local decisions and innovate, whilst maintaining an overall strategic focus. For example, General Electric communicates the following strategic principle across its’ global management team: ‘Be number one or number two in every industry in which we compete, or get out’. A strategic principle is defined as a memorable and actionable phrase that distils a company’s corporate strategy into its unique essence and communicates it throughout the organization. 

The ‘strategic principle’ has become particularly useful in today’s rapidly and constantly changing business environment, but has equal application in the not-for-profit development space, where there is perhaps an even more complex inter-play of factors in creating social change that are constantly in flux, and where innovation and strong local leadership are essential to achieving sustainable social impact. Whilst this wasn’t necessarily how the Prevention+ ‘core principles’ were first described when they were developed in line with the programmes initial Theory of Change, the Prevention+ five core principles below, are actually serving a very similar purpose to a ‘strategic principle’ deployed in the corporate world. The core principles are to:

They have been selected to help Prevention+ country staff to maintain strategic focus while still fostering the necessary flexibility amongst programme partners and staff that permits innovation and a rapid response to opportunities in the field. 

Together they are in effect acting as a succinct distillation of the Prevention+ strategy, to guide Prevention+ partners allocation of limited resources- money, time, management’s attention, staff, and their own charity brand – in order to build a sustainable and valuable focus for Prevention+ work globally. They serve to guide partners in what to do and, just as importantly, what not to do. More specifically, the core principles help with the following:

The inFocus evaluation revealed the value of having these ‘core principles’ in place, especially in the context where Prevention+ programme partners have simultaneously faced a number of challenges: decentralization to four different continents and multiple delivery partners; rapid growth and scale-up of activities; socio-political upheavals; and significant delivery challenges due to Covid-19 (more recently); all of which made the core principles even more integral to the programme’s success.