Using Responsive Feedback to Train the Next Generation of NPHCDA Leaders

Authors: Teslim Aminu, Otokpen Onajite, Ijeoma Mmirikwe, Oluwasegun Adetunde, Ibidun Ajuwon, Adesina Adelakun, Abdulateef Salisu, Uchenna Igbokwe, Muyi Aina

Author affiliation: Solina Centre for International Development and Research (SCIDaR)

Theme: System-level change

Country focus: Nigeria


The NPHCDA’s learning program for future leaders had a responsive feedback mechanism (RFM) built in from the start. This meant that after each cohort the team could adapt their training program based on data gathered on their audience and delivery. Establishing a culture of learning amongst stakeholders allowed iterations to be made efficiently.


The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) is a ‘parastatal’ agency of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health. The initiative works on ‘making Nigerians healthy’ through nine main principles written in its mandate.

The Leadership Development Academy (LDA) aims to drive positive transformation of the corporate culture within the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA). The academy promotes leadership and management skills such as stakeholder management, team leadership, and communication and technical skills. The initiative aims to equip staff with the right competencies to effectively deliver technical assistance at a sub-national level.


The Solina team set themselves up for success by allowing for continuous learning in their program design. The team codesigned version 1 of the training with key partners using a proposal form, a tailored timeline for evaluation obligations, and a Frame of Reference. By taking these initial planning steps the program allowed for ownership, understanding and alignment over continuous learning.


Prior to Version 1 being implemented, the team developed priority learning questions to guide data collection. These questions interrogated:

  • The audience being targeted
  • The format of the course
  • The mode of delivery
  • The length of time given to each module

Feedback forms were designed according to these questions and given to each cohort during and upon completion of the course. There were also interviews with stakeholders and a follow-up survey some time after the training was completed to see how well the trainees retained the key information. External evaluation was introduced further down the line, to determine peoples’ understanding of what the program was about. The team were able to use the findings to reflect upon the priority learning questions and turn this into actions.


Based on the key learnings from the RFM process, the team took the following actions to improve the LDA program:

  • Elimination of distraction. Participants reported difficulty in managing multiple workstreams, so priorities were refined to help participants focus.
  • Entry assessments. CBT tests were introduced to ensure participants had the minimum skills and motivation to succeed.
  • Timeline modification. Shorter timelines proved too demanding, causing low completion rates. Courses were expanded to incorporate eLearning and more time was given for the external rotation and mentorship section. This section of the course was extended from 10 weeks to 12, in two waves and allowed participants to choose their mentors.
  • Diversify modes of training. Originally tailored for physical sessions, the team modified the training modules to accommodate virtual engagements, changed assessment questions from option-based to open-ended case studies to measure all taught concepts, introduced courses for presentation skills, case scenarios, and group work


As a result of the changes made, the team improved the overall effectiveness of the program. Whereas only 41% of the first cohort acquired intermediate to advanced competencies in target skill areas, by the second cohort this was reached by 57% of participants. These trainees have taken up more challenging roles at NPHCDA delivering TA supports to SPHCBs and bolstered the Agency’s ability to independently execute activities such as 2020 integrated medical outreach program (I-MOP).


  • An exemplar for stakeholder alignment from the start. By managing expectations and producing a culture of learning, the obligations of stakeholders were clearly set out for the duration of the program, allowing for efficient modification
  • Knowledge changes. RF shows that what we understand to be ‘correct’ can change; ‘correct’ will likely change as the end goal of an intervention changes. RF is not necessarily for the purpose of reaching a perfect end result, but ensuring a program adapts to changes over time. RF is also able to test assumptions in our Theory of Change, to understand whether what we thought was going to create change, actually works


To find out more email Teslim Aminu at


E: Evolve

Now it’s time to learn and adapt. Take time to pause & reflect, study what feedback evidence is saying, and act on your conclusions.

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