Civil society (CS) has played a key role in the design and development of the Global Fund, and in the response to AIDS, TB and malaria, but some challenges remain if the contribution of CS is to be maximised. This is the main message of a new report released by the Global Fund, “An Evolving Partnership: The Global Fund and Civil Society in the Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.”
The purpose of the report is to recognise and document the contribution of CS, and to encourage civil society organisations (CSOs) to continue to be involved in the fight against the three diseases. The target audiences for the report include governments seeking to understand how better to work with CSOs, development partners and, of course, CS itself.
The 49-page report describes the participation of CS in four main areas: advocacy and resource mobilisation; the Board and governance of the Fund; CCMs; and the implementation of Global Fund grants. The report also describes how the Global Fund Secretariat works with CS. The report summarizes the history of CS involvement in the response to pandemics, and describes the comparative advantages of CS. The report says that throughout the development and evolution of the Global Fund, CS has encouraged governments to commit more resources; that CS representatives have played a valuable role on the Fund's Board, on CCMs and in programme implementation; and that CS has proven effective in targeting and delivering services to hard-to-reach communities.
The report includes a number of case studies illustrating the participation and contribution of civil society. Among other things, these case studies describe:
- how CSOs in Latin America created El Observatorio Latino to act as a watchdog over Global Fund projects in the region, to identify technical support needs for CSOs involved in implementing Fund grants, and to ensure strong representation of CS throughout Fund processes;
- how the "communities living with the diseases" delegation on the Global Fund Board functions;
- how CSOs and the Global Fund collaborated on the Debt2Health initiative;
- the selection process for representatives from the NGO sector on the Pakistan CCM;
- the expanded role of CSOs on the restructured Ghana CCM;
- the critical role that CSOs in Peru played in delivering treatment to hard-to-reach populations;
- the role of the Eastern African National Networks of AIDS Service Organisations (EANNASO) in providing support to CS Global Fund Board members and in disseminating information about the Global Fund;
- the role that the All Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS played in implementing care, treatment and support initiatives that were part of a Round 6 grant;
- how Zambia used multiple PRs for an HIV grant to spread the workdload among governments, NGOs and faith-based organisations; and
- the role played by this newsletter, Global Fund Observer (GFO).
The report identifies the following challenges to improving the contribution of CS:
- overcoming a lack of “critical mass” of CS advocates for malaria (the success rate of malaria proposals lags far behind the success rate of AIDS and TB proposals);
- building the capacities of CS in those countries where this sector is still under-developed;
- improving access to information on the Global Fund by CS stakeholders; and
- ensuring that CS representatives are accountable to their constituencies, especially in countries with a large and vibrant CS sector and a range of communities affected by the diseases.
The report is available at www.theglobalfund.org/en/partners/ngo.