A new review, published by MSMGF (the Global Forum on MSM & HIV), synthesizes good practices, and proposes a series of strategic actions for the Global Fund in efforts to expand and enhance meaningful community engagement in all phases of its grants.
The Community Rights and Gender (CRG) Advisory Group, a body that provides advice to the Global Fund’s CRG Department, oversaw the independent review, which was carried out by the Community Action and Leadership Collaborative (CLAC), and led by MSMGF. The report concludes that communities that are disproportionately affected by diseases should be invited and supported to actively engage with Global Fund processes.
“Global Fund requirements are very helpful in pushing for and getting community engagement. By facilitating the engagement process, government representatives are interacting sometimes for the first time with key populations, and their awareness and understanding increases exponentially sitting around the same table talking about the same issues from different perspectives.”
The report proposes a definition of meaningful community engagement, which involves four core principles:
- Effective and proportional representation in planning and decision-making bodies and processes;
- Adequate time and resource allocation to communities to understand systems, derive shared priorities, contribute to debate and discussion, and deliver programs;
- Ongoing independent oversight of grant negotiations and implementation; and
- Ongoing efforts to strengthen the capacities of community organizations and community leaders, so that they are able to take on increasing responsibilities and have greater impact.