6 May 2011

All proposals for the three diseases have to be "consolidated proposals"

Proposal form and guidelines will be field tested

Round 11 is expected to be launched on 15 August 2011. Applicants will have until 15 December to submit their proposals. There will be several new features in Round 11. This article describes these features.

In a comment at the end of this article, Aidspan suggests that applicants start working on their Round 11 proposals now, and adds that designing the programmes on which the proposals will be built can be done without waiting for the new forms and guidelines.

In Round 11, for the first time in several rounds, cross-cutting health systems strengthening (HSS) requests can be submitted as separate components (as opposed to being "attached" to a disease component). This means that applicants can include up to four components in each proposal - HIV, TB, malaria and cross-cutting HSS. It also means that an applicant can submit a proposal containing only an HSS component (which had not been permitted for the last several rounds).

Perhaps the most significant change being introduced in Round 11 is that proposals submitted for any of the three diseases must be "consolidated proposals." Some (but not all) proposals for HSS will also have to be consolidated proposals.

A consolidated proposal is one that includes information (e.g., objectives, service delivery areas, activities, targets and costs) on both (a) new initiatives for which funding is being sought, and (b) all existing grants for the same disease (except for grants that are scheduled to end before the proposed start date of the new initiatives). For example, if Country X has two existing grants for TB, and is applying in Round 11 for new initiatives for TB, Country X must submit a consolidated proposal that includes information on the two existing grants plus the new initiatives.

The requirement to submit a consolidated proposal applies regardless of the number of PRs involved in the existing grants and proposed for the new initiatives.

If the TB proposal from Country X (in the above example) is approved, one or more single-stream-of-funding (SSF) grant agreements will be signed, one for each PR. An SSF grant agreement is very similar to the grant agreements that have been used up to now. The most significant differences are (a) the provisions for periodic reviews (replacing Phase 2 reviews); and (b) the fact that the SSF grant agreements will be revised after each periodic review and when additional funding for that PR is approved in a future round.

(Again referring to the above example, in the event that Country X already has SSF grant agreements, these will be revised, as necessary, to incorporate the new activities.)

Submitting consolidated proposals is not the same as doing grant consolidation, though there is a significant connection between the two (see next article).

It is not known yet which HSS proposals will have to be consolidated proposals. The Global Fund will provide more information on this by the time of the launch of Round 11 on 15 August.

The other significant changes for Round 11 are as follows:

1. New criteria will be in effect for eligibility, counterpart financing and prioritisation - assuming that the new criteria are approved by the board at its meeting on 11-12 May 2011. (See later article in this issue for an explanation of the eligibility, counterpart financing and prioritisation criteria.)

2. New country coordinating mechanisms (CCM) guidelines will be in effect, again assuming that they are approved at the May board meeting. (The guidelines contain minimum requirements for CCMs, sub-CCMs and regional coordinating mechanisms; these minimum requirements form part of the eligibility criteria for proposals.)

3. There will be a number of changes to the proposal form and guidelines.

4. Applicants seeking funding for cross-cutting HSS activities may apply to the Global Fund, or to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), or to both. A separate proposal form, developed jointly by the Global Fund and GAVI, will be provided for the cross-cutting HSS component.

5. Applicants will be required to include a log frame with each application. The log frame will provide a consolidated summary of the programmes for which the applicant is seeking funding. It will contain an overview of the goals, objectives, service delivery areas and key activities. The Global Fund will release more information on the log frame at the time of the launch, if not before.

6. To assist applicants to develop their proposals, the Global Fund Secretariat will prepare an applicant profile for each country that has previously applied to the Global Fund. The profile will contain financial and programmatic information for each disease for which an applicant has existing grants. The profiles will be available at the time of the launch of Round 11. In addition, applicants will receive partner reports from UNAIDS, Stop TB and Roll Back Malaria (RBM), containing epidemiological statistics and other relevant information about the disease profile in the country. The partner reports will also be made available at the time of the launch. (Note, however, that most of the information that will be in the applicant profile and the partner reports is already available from the websites of the Global Fund and UNAIDS, Stop TB and RBM.)

7. Applicants will need to ensure that their proposal budgets include funds for a programme and impact evaluation that will occur at the time of the first periodic review.

8. A section on priority interventions will be included on the Round 11 proposal form. It will be similar to the programmatic gap analysis table used in Round 9.

In Round 11, for the first time, the proposal form and guidelines will be field tested. For the field testing, the Global Fund Secretariat is recruiting both successful and unsuccessful Round 10 applicants, plus organisations known to be planning to apply in Round 11. The testing is expected to be completed by the end of May 2011. The feedback will inform the development of the final proposal form and guidelines.

The Global Fund Secretariat told Aidspan that while it may appear that the field testing will give some applicants an advance look at the core application documents, in fact Global Fund partner organisations have been given drafts of these documents and are welcome to share these drafts with potential applicants - providing they explain that these documents are still working drafts, and that an applicant will need to download the final versions from the Global Fund website on the day of the launch.

Aidspan Comment

Once Round 11 is launched, applicants will have four months to develop and submit their proposals. This may seem like a long time, but in the past, many applicants have had to rush to meet the deadline. There are a number of steps involved in proposal preparation, including discussing the country's priorities; deciding which components to submit; organising consultations with stakeholders, and providing stakeholders with an opportunity to make suggestions concerning the content of the proposal; reviewing submissions from stakeholders; designing the programmes for which funding is being sought; identifying principal recipients; selecting sub-recipients; filling out the proposal form; and obtaining approval (and signatures) from all members of the CCM for the final proposal.

Add to this the fact that most applicants are not familiar with how to develop a consolidated proposal, and it becomes apparent that four months is not such a long time after all. However, there is no reason for applicants to wait until launch date. Applicants can start working on their proposals now. Most of what is described above can be done without knowing what the final proposal form will look like. In addition, the Global Fund will be publishing a number of guidance documents (e.g., FAQs, information notes, new policies on eligibility, counterpart financing and prioritisation) at its website prior to the Round 11 launch.

As it has done for previous rounds, Aidspan will release a guide to applying for Round 11. The guide will be produced in two volumes. Volume 1 ("Getting a Head Start") will provide guidance on proposal development, as well as more information on what is new for Round 11. Volume 2 ("The Applications Process and the Proposal Form") will provide detailed information on the requirements concerning Round 11 proposals, as well as guidance on filling out the proposal form. Aidspan hopes to release Volume 1 several weeks prior to launch date, and Volume 2 as soon as possible after launch date. However, again, there is no reason for applicants to wait for Volume 1 to be released before they start working on their proposals. Applicants seeking guidance may refer to Volume 1 of "The Aidspan Guide to Round 10 Applications to the Global Fund" (available in four languages at www.aidspan.org/guides). The guidance on proposal development which Aidspan will provide in Volume 1 of the Round 11 guide will not differ significantly from the guidance on that topic already available in Volume 1 of the Round 10 guide.

There is another reason to start working on the Round 11 proposal now: When an applicant submits a consolidated proposal, the applicant has an opportunity to "reprogramme" existing grants - i.e., drop some initiatives, modify others. So, when stakeholders are asked to provide suggestions for new initiatives in the country proposal, it would be a good idea to ask them at the same time what changes they would like to see to the existing initiatives.

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