Crown Agents is a firm that specialises in international development and growth (500+ employees). It works with governments, the private sector and civil society in over 100 countries.
Taruna worked on tenders and programmes for a range of clients, notably: The UK government's Department for International Development(DfID), The Global Fund for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria(TGF), the European Union(EU) and UNICEF. Through her work she developed key skills for developing and delivery of business.
Skill: Project management and technical assistance
Taruna developed an understanding of Crown Agents Project Management System based on training from the Project Management Institute. She is exceptionally organised, diligently follows up on tasks and attentive to detail. As such she has managed and supported some flagship programmes at Crown Agents as described below:
- Programme support and technical advisor on the South Sudan Health Pooled Fund(HPF), GBP 120 million: following the role of bid coordinator at the tender stage, she supported the entire procurement process for providing primary health care across 60 counties (including developing request for proposal, tender document checks, technical evaluation of proposals, due diligence of service providers and compilation of 100+ contracts). She has cumulatively spent 3 months in South Sudan(Juba, Yirol and Torit) where she conducted a hospital assessment in Lakes State and delivered workshops on key health policies and proposal evaluations to representatives from the government of South Sudan. As a result of her in-depth knowledge of the health system and the programme, she supported the creation of the technical workplan for the first and second year. Following this she developed a costed programme work plan for final year of implementation. She has been the technical editor and peer reviewer for several reports under the programme.
- Project Manager responsible for Zimbabwe roll out and implementation of Results Based Financing programme (multi-donor), USD 15 million, Key activities included: developing the programme work plan, funds disbursement and financial management, including verification; management of core team; and quarterly reporting.
Deputy project manager EUNIDA Libya Health System Strengthening Project, Euro 10.5 million. She carried out evaluation of CVs, technical interviews and negotiations with consultants. Following recruitment she was charged with mobilisation, field support (including monitoring security) and report reviews for consultants.
Directly selected by newly appointed CEO to work as the Project Manager for corporate 100 Days Plan. Worked with six Executive Directors to monitor and report progress against three key milestones. Further to the success on this assignment, she created a plan for the development of the 5 year rolling corporate strategy.
Skill: Technical writing and communications
Taruna has extensive experience in writing, compiling and editing technical proposals, programme reports and external communications material. She has received training from leading agencies such as Shipley Associates on developing effective written material for both technical and non-technical audiences.
She has acquired a proficiency in delivering high quality written pieces as demonstrated in the following examples:
- Lead technical writer, for DfID funded GBP 46 million, food fortification component of Supporting Nutrition in Pakistan Programme and DfID funded innovative financing mechanisms in the health sector.
- Researcher and technical writer for the successfully contracted, GBP 25 million, Bangladesh Joint Donor Technical Assistance Fund.
- Content and research manager for publications in Africa Health journal, producing technical pieces focusing on grant and fund management, mobile health and capacity building in the health sector.
- Point of contact for communications health department as such developed internal and external communications strategy; and authored a regular health newsletter (the content and effort were recognised by the Executive Committee and non-executive Board members).
- Researched and authored capability statements for marketing on subject areas of health system strengthening, laboratory system strengthening and health financing.
Taruna Gupta, May 2014, Mobilising Africa: the growing role of mobile phone technology in healthcare, Africa Health Journal, volume 36. Issue 4. Available at: URL http://www.africa-health.com/articles/may_2014/Mobile%20Technology.pdf
Harnessing Public Private Partnerships to Finance Improved Quality of Healthcare using Innovative Technologies and Performance Based Incentives, Financing for Development business compendium, pg 39-41, Available at: URL http://www.un.org/esa/ffd/ffd3/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/08/Addis_Financing_for_Development_Business_Compendium.pdf
Skill: Business Development
Taruna played a fundamental role in supporting the expansion of the health business to existing technical areas (fund and grant management, information technology, banking services and training), within the organisation. Key contributions she made include:
- Proactively developed a corporate capture plan template using Shipley methodology. This provided a detailed outline for gathering strategic information required for positioning and acquiring new business.
- Proposal manager who oversaw successful proposals, which included researching background information; facilitating proposal design sessions; identifying and managing, partners and consultants; collaborating with graphics, costing and international resourcing teams; and ensuring overall quality control and compliance.
- Corporate commercial reviewer authorised to approve proposal submissions of a value of GBP 6 million, assessing contracting mechanisms, risk profile, commercial return and quality of proposal. She is fully proficient in developing costing for a wide range of bilateral/multilateral funders.
- Mentored and coached staff from HQ and country offices on new business processes and approaches.