This midterm evaluation of the Sustaining Health Outcomes Through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus project, a five-year USAID global health program (2015-2020), was undertaken to assess: (1) the project’s family planning achievements; (2) how it applied newer areas of focus (Public-Private Engagement [PPE], Health Financing [HF], Total Market Approach [TMA], Corporate Engagement [CE]); and (3) the effectiveness of the implementing consortium. Methods included: key informant interviews, an electronic survey, visits to Nepal and Tanzania, and review of documents. Key informants included SHOPS Plus staff, partners, USAID personnel, and stakeholders.
The evaluation concluded that activity implementation had progressed well at the global level and in all but two countries where significant delays had occurred due to external factors. Achievements in family planning were diverse: (a) social marketing, strengthening social marketing organizations, and resulting couple-years protection; (b) data generation, dissemination, use; (c) strengthening service delivery; (d) applications of newer focus areas; and (e) global engagement. Of the newer focus areas, PPE was applied the most; opportunities for HF were limited; TMA-related activities were implemented in three countries; CE was applied on a modest scale (in family planning, HIV, water treatment). The SHOPS Plus consortium appears well managed and effective in providing technical expertise. Recommendations include: consolidating and deepening current activities and learning; increasing cross-fertilization of technical expertise between consortium partners and across country offices; increasing contextual appropriateness of aspects of the gender work; and continuing to promote the private sector but with balance and candor about its limitations and failures and means of addressing them.