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GFO Issue 96



Bernard Rivers

Article Type:

Article Number: 5

ABSTRACT, the Fund's online community, is one year old. It has grown to 3,500 members and functions in four languages.

In October 2007, the Global Fund launched an online community called in four languages: English, French, Spanish and Russian. The purpose of the website is to provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and the sharing of best practices and lessons learned, and to provide a broad network of contacts of Global Fund stakeholders. Today, the community is 3,500-strong. The site is available at

Currently, includes a membership area, and a series of forums and blogs. is still running a “beta” version, which means that refinements will be made and new features will continue to be added before the site is officially launched. New features scheduled to be introduced soon are an improved MyPage, and easier access to one’s blog.

The site is membership-based, but it costs nothing to join. Members are asked to create a profile providing some information about themselves, including their affiliation to the Global Fund (if any).

Over time, the numbers of both members and postings has steadily increased.


The largest forum, the e-Forum 2008, was set up to allow those who will be unable to participate in the Global Fund’s Partnership Forum, to be held in Dakar, Senegal in December 2008, to provide their recommendations to the Board. This forum recently came to an end, in order to allow Global Fund staff to compile summaries of all the postings and prepare a report to be sent to Partnership Forum participants prior to the forum.

The e-Forum 2008 featured discussions on four themes:

  • Gender: scaling up gender-responsive programs supported by the Global Fund;
  • Demand: better addressing unmet needs and translating them into quality projects and programmes;
  • Programme implementation: sharing experiences, challenges and best practices; and
  • Partnerships: reviewing how Global Fund stakeholders work together.

Each theme lasted about four weeks. Each week a different question was posted to spark discussion. For example, for the gender theme, two of the questions were:

  • What could the Global Fund do to better support gender-sensitive program planning and implementation at the country level?
  • What kind of data could and should be provided to the Global Fund to substantiate that a programme is designed to address the needs of women, girls and sexual minorities?

At the end of each week, a summary of the discussions in the four languages was posted on .

The number of posts for each question varied from a low of one to a high to 82. The English forum had the highest number of posts, followed by the French, Spanish and Russian forums.

To stimulate discussion, and to cross the language barrier, forum facilitators occasionally posted on one language forum translated summaries of the discussions from the other language forums.

This year’s e-Forum saw an increase in membership of 162% and participation was up 138% compared to the last e-Forum, held in 2006. The proportion of posts submitted by women stood at approximately 30%.

Another forum currently operating on is on issues related to CCMs. The Global Fund says that the comments and suggestions made in this forum will be used in the ongoing review of Fund policies and guidelines with respect to CCMs. While there was some activity in this forum in 2007 (22 topics, 71 messages), so far in 2008 traffic has been very light.

During Round 8 earlier this year, featured a Call for Proposals forum. It was designed as an interactive tool to assist applicants in their proposal preparation. There were two sub-forums. The first one, on “Proposals Hotline: Questions and Answers,” was used to post questions about the Round 8 applications process received by the staff of the Fund’s Proposal Advisory Services Unit, plus the staff’s answers to the questions. The second one, on “What makes a good proposal,” is self-explanatory, but had only three postings.

A similar forum for Round 9 has just been launched. Sub-forums have been established on the following five topics: ask the proposals team a question; writing stimulating proposals; including HSS in your proposal; integrating gender into your proposal; and rules for regional proposals.


The section of devoted to blogs is intended to provide information on the latest reports and articles by Global Fund in-country partners (e.g., CCMs, PRs, SRs and technical partners).

So far, the number of blogs is limited. Bloggers can post in any of the four languages. For example, currently, there is a blog in Spanish about the work of the Honduras CCM in 2007, posted by a member of the CCM.

Other features

One feature of is that, in addition to replying online to a post from a member, you can send that member a private message (on or by email (if the other member has enabled these features in his or her profile).

There is also a support section containing Frequently Asked Questions and a guided tour of the site. is run by a facilitation team consisting of:

Alastair Green: English; Spanish

Marcela Rojo: Spanish, English

Yauheni Yushkevic: Russian, French

Olivier Cour de Roy: French, English

To contact anyone on the facilitation team, use:

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