AIDSPAN CONDUCTS SURVEY OF EAST AFRICAN SUB- AND SUB-SUB RECIPIENTS OF GLOBAL FUND GRANTS
Cleopatra MugyenyiArticle Type:
Article Number: 6
Despite a low response rate, the survey showed a diverse mix of experiences with Fund processes and principal recipients
ABSTRACT Sub-recipients and sub-sub recipients of Global Fund grants are critical to the Fund's implementation model as they engage directly and consistently with populations and beneficiaries. Little research has been done to understand their experiences and document how they consider Global Fund operations could be improved. Aidspan surveyed SRs across four countries in the High Impact Africa I region: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda. While the response rate was low, the survey reported a highly diverse set of experiences with principal recipients and Global Fund processes.
Aidspan has released a brief analysis of a survey conducted of sub- and sub-sub recipients of Global Fund grants in four East Africa countries: Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. All four countries are classified by the Grants Management unit as High Impact Africa 1 countries.
The survey follows a 2012 study that assessed the opinions expressed by PRs drawing from their experience with a number of Global Fund processes.
The SR survey gathered information on the following topics:
- Opinions about their organizational capacity to implement Global Fund programs
- Experiences of SRs in management of SSRs
- Relationships and communication with PRs
- PR support in program implementation
- Opinions of and experiences with local fund agents (LFAs)
- Interactions with country coordinating mechanisms (CCMs)
- Experiences with funding disbursements
The online survey was sent to representatives of 318 SR organizations, and garnered 42 responses (13.2%). Most responses were from Kenya (47.6%) followed by Rwanda (33.3%) and Uganda (19%). No responses were received from Tanzania. Over two thirds (67.6%) of the respondents were from SR organizations that had been Global Fund grant recipients for one to four years. Although most respondents (68.8%) felt that the PR selection process was straightforward, comments made by respondents indicated a need for clearer communication, wider stakeholder involvement and more transparency. Most respondents did not feel that their organization received assistance from the PR during the proposal development process.
More than half of respondents (51.6%) indicated that there had been program delays due to external factors. Delays in disbursements, health worker strikes, holidays, and elections were some of the reasons mentioned. The most common complaint was a delay in disbursements by PRs.
Recommendations for improvement of Global Fund processes tended to be focused around disbursements. As many SRs may be working under tighter funding constraints than the PRs, quarterly disbursements of funds from PRs were suggested. Consultative budget processes at the proposal development stage between the PRs and SRs is another area that could be improved.
A mixed picture emerged of opinions and experiences with PRs and Global Fund processes. Most SRs/SSRs were happy with the content and timeliness of communication with their PRs. Half of the respondents disagreed with the statement that their organization received assistance from their PR during proposal development, and most respondents felt that their organization needed technical assistance in financial management and program implementation. Some concerns were raised with regards to specific processes such as the timeliness of disbursements and the technical capacity of PRs. Many respondents reported their interactions with LFAs as positive.
The major limitation of this survey was the low response rate. This makes it difficult to generalize the results across all SRs in the region. While every attempt was made to improve the participation of SRs and SSRs in this survey, the low response rate could be attributed to a number of issues. The survey coincided with the launch of the NFM, and many agencies were learning about changes in roles and responsibilities and in the grant application process during this period.
It may also be true that some SRs were not comfortable responding to a survey that could have been interpreted as having a potential influence on their funding. While SRs (and SSRs) are the front line of the Global Fund ecology, they may perceive changing or improving Global Fund processes to be outside of their influence. This small sample has provided information that may be useful for improving communication between PRs and SRs. Hopefully with higher participation, the next SR survey will be able to provide more evidence and recommendations to the Global Fund on the improvement of processes involving SRs and SSRs.