The Global Fund provided an update on its implementation of the $15 million Community, Rights and Gender (CRG) Special Initiative: technical assistance to improve civil society participation in country dialogue and concept note development, and support for long-term capacity development of civil society networks.
The CRG special initiative has three components:
- The CRG technical assistance program, which has received 50 requests to date, 23 of which have been completed. So far, $1 million has been spent on this program.
- Long-term capacity development for key population networks, which has been operationalized through a partnership with the Robert Carr Civil Society Networks Fund (RCNF). By February 2015, around $2.5 million of the $4 million allocated for this component was approved to fund the activities of RCNF grantees in over 40 countries and every region in the Global Fund portfolio.
- Regional civil society and community coordination and communication platforms, which will see the establishment of six platforms in anglophone Africa, francophone Africa, Middle East and North Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Selection of the hosts will be finalized by June 2015. The plan is to invest more than $2 million in these platforms in 2015, and a similar amount in 2016.
The report noted that some progress has been made in implementing the Gender Equality Strategy Action Plan adopted in 2014. An information note for applicants on addressing gender inequalities has been prepared. Gender considerations have been integrated into funding application tools. And the Fund has collaborated with partners such as UNAIDS, UNDP and Stop TB to produce gender-specific tools for concept note development.
In late 2014, a gender review of 20 first iteration concept notes conducted by an independent consultant found that many HIV and HIV/TB concept notes had weak gender analysis, while malaria proposals had no gender analysis. Proposed interventions were not always evidence-based, particularly with respect to gender-based violence and HIV prevention for adolescent girls. The review also found a tendency to include programming to address gender-related barriers to services in “above allocation” requests rather than in the base allocation, making it less likely that these programs would be funded.
In July 2014, the Global Fund launched a Key Population Action Plan. The Action Plan expands the scope of the Fund’s 2009 Strategy on Sexual Minorities and Gender Identity (SOGI). The Fund’s Monitoring, Evaluation and Country Analysis (MECA) Unit began work to implement a program to support innovative approaches to key population size estimates in 16 countries. The Global Fund Board has allocated $6 million for this work.
According to the report, a review of 24 concept notes submitted in Windows 1-4 found that while HIV and HIV/TB concept notes identified barriers to accessing services for key populations, there were mixed findings from activities proposed to address these barriers. For example, only six notes included a module on removing legal barriers. TB and malaria proposals scarcely mentioned barriers to access but frequently included efforts to strengthen community responses.
The review found that a majority of concept notes lacked comprehensive key population data, or that the data included were considered unreliable. Data on men who have sex with men and on female sex workers were most commonly available, while data for people who inject drugs and prisoners were available less often. Data on key populations affected by TB and malaria were more limited than data on populations affected by HIV. Most countries did present a plan to address these data gaps, however.
For HIV concept notes, a general disconnect in responses for key populations was noted between high levels of HIV prevalence and limited budgetary allocations.
The report's findings mirror those of the Technical Review Panel when it reviewed the concept notes.
The “Community, Rights and Gender Report” (GF-B33-09) should be available shortly here.