Assessing gender-transformative supportive supervision for family planning providers

SHOPS Plus has piloted a new model which looks at supportive supervision with a gender lens in Nigeria. The team is in the process of assessing the model, and will report on the results this fall.

Supportive supervision is a common approach to improving a health provider’s performance that includes setting performance goals and monitoring performance, joint problem-solving, and addressing professional development needs. Gender dynamics can influence interactions between providers and supervisors, and gender can influence a provider’s performance in the workplace. However, issues related to gender are generally not discussed in supportive supervision. SHOPS Plus piloted a gender-transformative supportive supervision model among a group of public and private family planning providers and their supervisors in Nigeria in 2019.

4 women and a man posing for a picture
The SHOPS Plus team meets with staff at a private facility in Oyo state. From left to right: Olufunke Olayiwola (SHOPS Plus Nigeria quality improvement officer), Bashirat Giwa (GTSS coach), Idowu Olowookere (Family planning provider-private sector hospital), Shipra Srihari (SHOPS Plus researcher), Adewunmi Olowookere (Private sector hospital staff member).

Gender-transformative supportive supervision aims to improve provider performance, retention, and gender equity in the workplace. The model integrates gender into standard supportive supervision training for supervisors and introduces tools for supervisors that promote discussions around gender. The pilot added such a module into a training for supervisors and coaches who support SHOPS Plus-trained family planning providers in the public and private sector. During the pilot, SHOPS Plus trained 30 coaches, 12 government supervisors, and 20 private facility supervisors who supervise over 150 providers in Oyo and Akwa Ibom states on the curriculum.

SHOPS Plus has been conducting a formative assessment among providers and supervisors/coaches in the two states to understand how this type of supportive supervision has been operationalized in the private sector. In addition to understanding how gender issues are brought into the supervisor-provider sessions, the assessment also examines the perception and experience of providers and supervisors/coaches regarding this type of supervision, the gender-related issues that have come up during supervisory visits, and the effect gender-transformative supportive supervision may have had on providers’ job satisfaction and communication with supervisors.

5 women posing for a picture
The SHOPS Plus team meets with a supervisor and FP provider at a public facility in Oyo state. From left to right: Shipra Srihari (SHOPS Plus researcher), Olufunke Olayiwola (SHOPS Plus Nigeria quality improvement officer), Funmilayo Abodunri (LGA family planning coordinator), Funto Rachael Akindiya (Family planning provider-public sector health facility), Bashirat Giwa (GTSS coach).

The project conducted the first phase of the assessment in fall 2019 with a quantitative survey administered to providers before they received any gender-transformative supportive supervision. The team is administering the same survey to these providers as part of the second phase of the assessment, after they have experienced some gender-transformative supportive supervision sessions. The second phase also includes qualitative inquiry through interviews with providers and focus group discussions with supervisors and coaches. Initial results from discussions with coaches suggest that there is support for this type of supportive supervision among coaches. They feel that gender in the workplace is an important issue that has not been addressed previously.

Read the assessment brief on this gender-transformative supportive supervision pilot.

Technical Area
Health Area



Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus is a five-year cooperative agreement (AID-OAA-A-15-00067) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This website is made possible by the generous support of the American people through USAID. The information provided on this website is not official U.S. government information and does not represent the views or positions of USAID or the U.S. government.

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