With a budget of $65 million annually, the Local Fund Agents represent a significant and critical element in the Global Fund’s architecture and reflects about 20 percent of its total operating budget. Despite this, there has been little reflection or review of this piece of the model. One of the last reviews of the LFA system was commissioned by the Fund in 2006, and published online in 2007.
Due to the rigorous protocols that have been established, the role of the LFA is fairly narrowly defined and confined to interaction with a select group of actors: principal recipients, fund portfolio managers and country coordination mechanisms (CCMs).
The controlled oversight mechanism that is the purview of the LFA brings with it several key advantages for the Global Fund: they are the eyes, the ears and often the nose of the Fund to ensure that grant management and implementation are efficient, efficacious and clean (see article here).
However, that same degree of control limits the transparency of the LFA role within the Global Fund, making it challenging to research or study their roles, their impact and their value for money.
This is one of the main findings of a review paper written by Frank Wafula and published today by Aidspan entitled, The Local Fund Agents: A review of their functions, operations and performance since 2002.
Aidspan intends to publish a series of papers exploring the nature of the relationship between the LFA and the Fund and the lessons learned over the last 12 years. This will be of particular importance going into the era of the new funding model (NFM), as the responsibilities of the LFAs are being adapted to accommodate the Fund’s new direction and ways of working.