Representing Communities at the Global Fund Partner’s Forum

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Women in a village in Thies province, Senegal, are trained to become community health workers.

Rose Kaberia reports back from a Global Fund Partnership forum in Africa

Representing ITPC-EA, I attended the Global Fund Partnership forum that took place last month in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We were one of the stakeholders who participated alongside other like-minded communities/networks of PLHIV from Africa, and Government representatives from the region.
In preparation for the main meeting, we had a pre-meeting of Civil Society Organizations, together with the community representatives from the Key Affected Populations (KAPs) to agree on what we wanted included in the new Global Fund strategy. ITPC and Global Health Gap developed some really useful background notes and talking points to inform discussions. These will also be helpful for our partners gathering in Thailand in July for the next Global Fund Partners forum.

Great opportunity to raise community concerns

This was a great opportunity for me to contribute to and raise issues of concern from the grassroots, to be discussed by the wider team. I could put the issues that pain the communities of People Living with HIV and the KAPs on table. What we agreed on was presented for discussion in the main partners’ forum. In the meeting, we agreed we want the Global Fund to focus on the following:
1) Build upon existing human rights, gender and key populations foundations in the 2012-2016 Global Fund Strategy;
2) Ensure access to quality and comprehensive services for women, young people and key populations;
3) Collect the most appropriate indicators on gender and human rights (for example more robust disaggregated data;
4) Increase the evidence base to scale-up gender and human rights programming.
Other important points raised in the meeting included:
1) that the deliberations and outcomes of the meeting should not and must not remain behind closed doors but that they must be implemented;
2) that Community Systems Strengthening should be closely linked with health systems strengthening because the two cannot be delinked; and
3) that advocacy must continue because it is the sure way to ensure we play a successful watchdog role.

Building momentum to get our issues heard

I participated in a Forum debrief to strategize on how to build on our participation in Addis Ababa, and how to inform the community representatives attending the Bangkok Partnership Forum. We decided that we would continue to use our voice and power to help ensure the strategy is bold, accountable, and delivers the scale up of quality, evidence-based and human rights-based programs we need. We will keep this momentum going forward through continuous engagement and advocacy, and seek political will from governments and all partners.
The approval of the basic strategic objectives that will define the strategy will take place at the 34th Board Meeting of the Global Fund, 16-17 November 2015. The Global Fund’s Board is expected to approve the final strategy in 2016. There were many treatment activists, and my participation in the forum on behalf of ITPC was equally important because it provided an opportunity for me to join other activists and come up with a recommendations and talking points based on deepened analysis of issues that are grounded at community level given our expertise as activists working with communities at grassroots.