Risks to Sustainability

© 2009 Frederick Noronha, Courtesy of PhotoshareEven with strong planning, there will be challenges to sustainability:

  • Donor timelines for proposal submission and project length can limit the time the planning team has to research and include sustainable elements in the program design.
  • Some projects feel pressure to innovate, which has led to many pilot projects that lack interoperability with existing systems and are unable to continue or expand.
  • Although the purpose of a pilot is to generate evidence to determine whether scale-up is feasible and appropriate, too often, funding runs out before the intervention can be scaled—even if the intervention has been proven to be cost-effective and beneficial to the community.
  • If the project is scaled up, expectations to achieve sustainability in a short amount of time conflict with the cost of mHealth, which, in the short run, can be more expensive than more traditional public health interventions.

The pages that follow in the Sustainability section will help you navigate and overcome these and other challenges to ensure that your project can continue beyond the pilot phase if desired.