A common refrain at the Global Fund Partnership Forum in Bangkok in July was the need for technical assistance - especially in writing Global Fund applications, developing effective government-civil society relationships within CCMs, improving communication among stakeholders, and developing monitoring and evaluation capacity at the CCM, PR, and LFA levels.
Even before such concerns were articulated at the Partnership Forum, the Global Fund board decided to set up a new committee, chaired by the Board Vice Chair, to make policy recommendations regarding the provision of technical assistance for CCMs, Principal Recipients, and Sub-Recipients.
There are three main ways in which technical assistance can now be accessed.
First, the Global Fund encourages CCMs to include a technical assistance plan and monitoring and evaluation activities in their Global Fund proposals - and to allocate up to 10 percent of the proposal budget for these activities. (Of course, such funds will not be available until many months after proposal approval, and thus will only be useful for project implementation rather than proposal development.)
Second, the Global Fund Secretariat is working to make it easier for grant applicants and recipients to receive technical assistance from the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, the Stop TB Partnership, UNAIDS, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization on such challenges as responding to clarifications requested by the TRP on Round 4 applications, developing more sound TB proposals, shifting malaria project implementation from old treatments to new artemisinin-based combination therapy, and practical application of the "three ones." For instance, Stop TB has committed to support the re-submission in Round 5 of all Round 4 TB proposals placed in Category Three by the TRP.
Third, the GTZ BACKUP Initiative, designed specifically to provide this sort of technical assistance, is continuing to accept applications for technical assistance funding.
The GTZ BACKUP Initiative is a semi-autonomous project of the German governmental development agency GTZ. So far, the BACKUP Initiative has worked to:
- strengthen CCMs by supporting civil society involvement, supporting networks of people living with HIV/AIDS, developing management capacity, supporting regional CCM meetings, and offering tailored technical assistance
- assist with applications to the Global Fund and the World Bank's MAP
- support local coordination through stakeholder meetings and other means
- support the development of monitoring and evaluation systems
- offer capacity building and training for various Global Fund stakeholders
In the past, GTZ accepted three kinds of applications:
- Fast Access Mode, which provides rapid cash for specified activities such as reimbursement for CCM planning exercises or participation in relevant conferences or exchange visits.
- Consultancy Mode, which provides funding to hire consultants to support CCMs and member organizations during the Global Fund proposal or implementation stage.
- Project Mode, which funded larger strategy or policy development projects, such as upgrading of M&E systems or establishing interactive networks.
Because the Global Fund is now encouraging CCMs to include a technical assistance component in their Global Fund proposals, GTZ has recently eliminated its "Project Mode" applications. But technical assistance funds are still available through Fast Access and Consultancy modes, and the application is fairly simple. Governments, NGOs, civil society and private sector institutions are all invited to apply for these GTZ funds. Applications are available on-line at: www.gtz.de/backup-initiative/english/application.htm
Finally, "The Aidspan Guide to Obtaining Global Fund-Related Technical Assistance," released in January by Aidspan, publisher of GFO, provides extensive details regarding 170 organizations and individuals based in 40 different countries that can provide Global Fund-related technical assistance, sometimes at no charge. It is available for download from www.aidspan.org/guides.