By Rachel Simon on May 2nd, 2022

Due to its success and impact, IAPHL is extending its Country Chapter small grants program through 2022. 

With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, IAPHL launched a small grants program in 2021, allowing IAPHL Country Chapters to apply for funding for various chapter growth and health supply chain activities. As of early 2022, IAPHL has awarded 16 small grants, totaling an investment of more than $35,000.

Leveraging Virtual Platforms to Grow IAPHL Country Chapters

Whether an IAPHL Country Chapter is new or established, it is important that the chapter continues to grow, remains relevant, and receives recognition by local stakeholders and governments. During the COVID-19 pandemic, engaging members and stakeholders became increasingly difficult due to local restrictions. Many chapters turned to virtual platforms to host meetings and continue activities. 

This trend has continued throughout the IAPHL small grants program and resulted in new, innovative activities that leverage the benefits of virtual connection. 

  • Throughout 2021, the IAPHL South Africa Chapter used grant funding to promote the chapter through local media releases and webinars. As a newer chapter, the South Africa chapter leveraged media releases to generate awareness and speak to industry-specific issues like women in supply chain. These releases appeared in both virtual and print sources. In coordination with the Professional Body for Supply Chain Management (SAPICS), the chapter also hosted four webinars with local experts to discuss topics ranging from automating replenishment planning of medicine and the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in South Africa. The IAPHL South Africa Chapter also launched a youth-focused initiative to attract students and young supply chain professionals to IAPHL and SAPICS.
  • The IAPHL Cameroon Chapter is using social media platforms, including Facebook and LinkedIn to engage members. As part of their small grant, the chapter launched a virtual game contest that tested members’ knowledge of good storage practices. Over 120 supply chain professionals in Cameroon participated! The Cameroon chapter is also supporting five remote regions of the country through internet packages to participate in virtual chapter activities.
  • In Tanzania, the IAPHL chapter is reinvigorating its membership through timely webinars focused on relevant, local supply chain topics, including the country’s immunization supply chain. Utilizing these webinars, social media, and other virtual forums, the chapter is rewarding and recognizing members for their active participation. Through these ongoing small grant activities, the IAPHL Tanzania Chapter aims to grow their local community and increase overall engagement.

Impact of Small Grants

Following the completion of these grant activities, the IAPHL Country Chapters were able to expand access to health supply chain experts and connect remote, underserved communities through virtual platforms while promoting safe COVID-19 practices.

Expanding Access to Expertise

By hosting virtual events with supply chain experts, IAPHL Country Chapters are able to provide more members access to expertise regarding specific health supply chain areas. In South Africa, the chapter successfully engaged four local and international experts to share their specific expertise with members through webinars: 

  1. David Crewe-Brown, General Manager at Vitalliance Corp – “Automating Replenishment Planning of Medicine in the South African Public Health Supply Chain”
  2. Capital Berhanu, Procurement Officer at the Ethiopian Pharmaceuticals Supply Agency – “Chemotherapy Supply Chains in Ethiopia”
  3. Annette Naude, Regional Head of Life Science at DHL – “Innovations for Healthcare Supply Chains for the Future”
  4. Norman Faull, Chairman at Lean Institute Africa – “A Call to Arms! The COVID-19 Vaccination Challenge”

The small grant has also enabled us to communicate about the work and hopes of IAPHL in an effective manner which we hope will be of value to the association at a global level as well as locally.

Jenny Froome, COO of SAPICS and IAPHL South Africa Chapter Leader 

At the start of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Tanzania, the IAPHL Tanzania Chapter also used webinars to educate its members on the basics of Tanzania’s vaccine supply chain. By providing a forum for experts to share their knowledge and members to ask questions, the chapter expanded access to knowledge at a critical time for the local supply chain community. 

Connecting Underserved Communities 

Virtual platforms have also allowed IAPHL Country Chapters to engage new, often remote communities of supply chain professionals. Through the small grants program, the IAPHL Cameroon Chapter established 10 regional chapter leaders to fully engage members throughout the country. The chapter even supported the five most remote regions with internet connectivity packages to ensure they could attend virtual meetings and chapter activities. Overall, the grant allowed the IAPHL Cameroon Chapter to expand their reach, knowledge, and support to supply chain professionals in remote communities. 

While not remote, the South Africa Chapter also used grant funding to engage an underserved community–health supply chain students and young professionals. The chapter coordinated with the South African Department of Health and a variety of universities and higher education institutions focused on public health education to engage students and young professionals in the field. This ongoing initiative aims to attract 50 youth, who will receive support from the local chapter, including a free membership to SAPICS.

Promoting COVID-19 Safety

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for IAPHL Country Chapters to remain active. With social distancing measures and increasingly busy health logisticians, in-person chapter meetings became nearly impossible. However, with the proliferation of virtual platforms, many chapters began holding virtual meetings and experimenting with virtual activities.

The IAPHL Tanzania Chapter was one of the first chapters to transition to Zoom meetings. While they cited initial difficulties with engaging members via Zoom, the chapter was still able to convene during the height of COVID-19 to discuss necessary issues, including the local vaccine supply chain. This also led the IAPHL Cameroon Chapter to develop an innovative small grant activity based solely on virtual gaming technologies. Overall, the chapters were able to promote safe COVID-19 practices while continuing to creatively engage members of the local supply chain community. 

Interested in learning more? Check out our previous blog post on Small Grants and the COVID-19 Pandemic

How can I get involved in my local IAPHL Country Chapter? 

Joining an IAPHL Country Chapter provides opportunities for online and in-person networking and professional development among supply chain professionals at the country level. Country chapters can also facilitate internship, peer mentorship, and employment opportunities.

All current IAPHL Country Chapters are listed on our website. If your country does not currently have an IAPHL Chapter and you are interested in starting a chapter, please contact

IAPHL Small Grants Program – Leveraging Virtual Platforms to Grow IAPHL Country Chapters