THE GLOBAL FUND ADVOCATES NETWORK LAUNCHES ITS NEW STRATEGY
Katy Kydd Wright*Article Type:
Article Number: 7
ABSTRACT The Global Fund Advocates Network has launched its new Strategy, reflecting a broader vision of what health means to its members. The Strategy goes beyond the scope of responses to HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria to encompass universal health coverage, the Sustainable Development Goals, health system strengthening, and the impact of COVID-19.
In July 2011, the Global Fund Advocates Network (GFAN) was formed to bring activists together to collaborate on strategies and lobby governments to support the Global Fund. GFAN also advocates for structural changes to the Global Fund to demand a more community- and civil society-responsive and effective organization. Over time, GFAN has grown from its original membership of approximately 120 people in primarily donor countries to a network of over 700 people in more than 90 countries in both donor and implementing countries. While the work of GFAN changes overtime, our underlying mission remains the same – to unite advocates worldwide for fully funded and effective efforts against epidemics of HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria and for attainment of health, human rights, and sustainable development.
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, GFAN, like many advocacy organizations, had begun to ask if its mission and purpose remained relevant. This coincided with a time when universal health coverage (UHC) and reaching the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals had moved the discussion on from one of a disease=specific focus to a broader vision of health that encompassed community and health systems strengthening and resilience. This was the start of our reflection on our new Strategy that we launched this past March.
In our consultations with our partners, we heard that our core functions as a network – to provide a facilitated space for conversations and joint advocacy ― were still critical to the broader community and serve an important function within the wider health advocacy ecosystem. We also heard that maintaining our focus on a fully funded and effective Global Fund was still the right objective. But, most importantly, we heard that the pathways to achieving that were perhaps more comprehensive than had been previously imagined and that, naturally, we had already begun to move closer to this.
With this new 2021-2025 Strategy, GFAN will continue to be an open and accessible network where members will share expertise, evidence, analysis, and strategies to improve the Global Fund’s funding, policies, and programs. We will continue to sustain our visible and vocal advocacy in many countries to inform and influence governments and raise public awareness. GFAN remains committed to inclusion and equity, such that the voices of those most impacted by lack of equitable access to healthcare and HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria services are heard at decision-makers’ tables.
At our Strategy launch in March, former GFAN Speaker, Loyce Maturu, shared her reflections on the Speakers Bureau: “When I hear the words GFAN – it is like a family to me, it’s an honour and a privilege to be a GFAN Speaker, and I am super excited that we have fresh new blood that will continue to build the GFAN legacy and I cannot wait to see how far they will go in building the momentum.”
GFAN’s Steering Committee Chair, Joanne Carter, shared her thoughts on the organization’s role: “GFAN is really an important and unique network, a convenor and at times a conductor of the orchestra – in its role both closely aligned and deeply committed to the goals and success of the Global Fund – but also seeking new partnerships and new resources to address the epidemics and advance health and advance rights and development more broadly”.
Our new Strategy informs our work on the coming 7th Global Fund Replenishment and the fight to fund the response to COVID-19 and ensure equitable access to new tools. We look forward to continuing this work with you and hope you find our new Strategy resonates with you and your work.
GFAN is grateful to its many members and partners who participated in our Strategy process and our funders who supported its completion. We also express our sincere thanks to Sam Avrett from the Fremont Centre, who supported our work and guided us on the path towards our new Strategy.
Link to our New Strategy: https://www.globalfundadvocatesnetwork.org/gfan-strategy-2021-2025/
Link to our Strategy Launch: https://youtu.be/SgJKuXUIqSI & video on what GFAN means to its Members: https://youtu.be/QOOkMgQFWD4
*Katy Kydd Wright is GFAN’s Interim Director