Written by Mayank Singh, our Global Fund Consortium Project Manager.

Global Fund (GF) organized a meeting for partners in Bangkok, Thailand, on September 7th-9th 2022, aimed at assessing and strengthening NFM3 ( New Funding Model 3) country outcomes, emphasizing more meaningful engagement in NFM4 ( New Funding Model 4) processes, and exploring adaptation to maximize value for money for the Community Engagement and Strategic Initiative (CE-SI) model. A total of 55 participants traveled from 28 countries, representing malaria, TB, regional platforms, Technical Assistants (TA), and the CE-SI team.

Global Fund Community Engagement & Strategic Initiative Meeting

Day 1 started with the latest & greatest from the CE-SI. In a general sense, the key points are in three sections: the technical assistance in high impact areas such as Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Region, Eastern Europe and Central Asia Constituency (EECA), Asia, and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) continue to request for support on HIV, and TB, with malaria.  Community, Rights, and Gender (CRG) regional platforms have expanded to 100,00 contact points using social network mapping, virtual maps, and geo-map, increasing 20% in organizations to nearly 300. And lastly, Key Vulnerable Populations (KVP) networks saw increased community-endorsed advocacy agenda and participation in Global Fund-related decision-making. However, people are still missing representation (e.g., migrants).

The following session talked about safety and security concerns. Most recommendations included identifying risks and understanding context, co-developing solutions to avoid risks, developing security protocols and locations, and sharing best practices to better coordinate plans and tools.

The third session focused on TB assessments done in Georgia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Moldova. GF help strengthens collaboration with the national program, developing case management algorithm on gender aspects and increasing domestic financing. This has resulted in forming the first network of people living with TB in Cambodia and Nigeria with Country Coodinating Mechanisms (CCM) membership.

Community-led monitoring (CLM) or community ownership of CLM was the following issue taken up. It emphasized increased community involvement at every stage, including service delivery, human rights monitoring, and citizen observatories. The last session of the day covered having an influence on and off the CCM. Barriers to representation in the CCMs are the exclusion of KPs without having a feedback mechanism, KP voices being lost in the system, and Youth requiring capacity building to participate in processes. On the other hand, alternative pathways to influence as creating “room” for KPs to participate, involving champions in the field (UNAIDS to coordinate and support KPs).

Day 2: The second day was reserved for introducing the new global fund strategy and learnings from the previous funding cycle experiences. CCM representation; implementing programs, providing TA; community-system strengthening; addressing ill policies and practices; and increasing partnership. The new strategy puts more emphasis on community leadership than community engagement. Increasing partnerships globally, regionally, and nationally. The most crucial concern is the need for an individual funding stream for KPs, which is opposed to the GF funding system. A need to prioritize community-led over community-based.

Global Fund Community Engagement & Strategic Initiative Meeting

Technical Assistance demand generation was discussed with the help using LAC platforms experience to guide others applying for the TA request. LAC networks have a presence in the region through webinars and newsletters that act as a catalyst for CCM and community representatives to apply for TA requests through them. In response to a lower request on TB, the Key Populations were reached through webinars leading to Colombia re-organizing the CCM and discussing scaling up the representation of constituencies by an election process. 

Ensuring community voices are heard: GNP+ developed a community forum for CCM and community representatives to interact freely. 

The challenges – The stigmatization that the trans population faces for representation and identifying areas where KPs are criminalized and lack the right to form an organization. As an example, the existing trans members of CCMs are compelled to form alliances that can marginalize their voices. 

NFM4: Regional, National, and Global platforms are planning information dissemination. Regional platforms like LAC-organize a webinar on NFM4, EECA-Disseminate information on NFM4 through social networks, Asia Pacific-organize regional meeting, and MENA-to organize NFM4 and TA information sharing through webinars, newsletters, and regional conferences, with Anglophone Africa and Francophone Africa-to organized webinars on the same in September. The key population networks, Malaria & TB networks, will initiate information and knowledge sharing on NFM4. 

Day 3 Began with a fruitful discussion on costing for grant effectiveness. A tool is designed to help communities better communicate their needs to the government, making it cost-effective. The tools are aligned with the modular framework, an excel workbook that allows communities to list, cost, and justify costs. Although to better utilize the tool, an expert is required to break down the mechanism for KPs to use it. One major cost issue undervalued the community’s work and a need for overhead and management fees. They are exploring opportunities for KP to develop simplified tools to bring different inputs together. 

The following session was on the mid-term evaluation. Feedback received includes insufficient funding, conflict of interest to recommend a TA, building sustainable capacity, and simplifying the ta request form. Adaptations for CE SI includes-simpler application forms, direct funding to communities (not CSOs), Capacity for regional platforms to provide TA, the inclusion of languages other than English, shorter approval process.

Re-imagining the CE-SI- by engaging Malaria-affected communities, young people, criminalized, community-led organizations, and TB-affected communities. 

The last session before the meeting wrap-up was divided into two open sessions and two groups- the first session was on Diplomatic voices to discuss how to amplify community voices at global, regional, and national levels. The second was access to treatment, where the issue of continued support to countries, linking communities to the global fund, ensuring lower prices for commodities, and emphasis on access to information. 

The critical point for action and monitoring-Improve information sharing and transparency on tools, and outcomes, connect communities with different departments within Global fund and promote and protect community engagement in NFM4 processes.

What is NFM4? 

Global Fund NFM4 stands for the Global fund new funding model, and CRG SI supports community engagement. The GF-CRG supports Robert Carr Fund, Exceptional opportunity grant in 8 countries-Nigeria, Mongolia, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Ghana, South Sudan, Burundi, and Indonesia. Youth consortium (Youth LEAD, Y+ Global, and Youth RISE). 

What’s new in NFM4? Changes in grant guidance and tools; the introduction of program essentials to guide prioritization; Information notes on HIV, TB, and Malaria are up on the website, which will be followed by a decision-making tool. A modular framework is in place as a guide to structuring and using it as an advocacy tool in the GF process.  

What is NFM4, and what should we know about it? NFM4 stands for the new funding model, and CRG SI supports community engagement. With the end of the NFM3 activity implementation, a new strategy is designed to overcome challenges posed during the last funding cycle by external factors. 

In a nutshell, the youth consortium has assisted Nigeria, Mongolia, and Indonesia in conducting CCM elections for youth representatives, Situational analysis on young people in CCM, TA to countries we support, Opportunity grant-NSP, funding request development, country dialogue, and the CCM. Knowledge sharing platform among youth CCM and mapping of harm reduction services. 

With the end of the NFM3 activity implementation, a new strategy is designed to overcome challenges posed during the last funding cycle by external factors. CE SI-short-term technical assistance is currently accepting requests, Peer-to-peer technical assistance-the component 1-NFM4. It aims to strengthen the engagement of civil society. For more details on the application process please check out: https://www.theglobalfund.org/media/10403/crg_technicalassistanceguidance_note_en.pdf 

When to submit?

  • Window 1-20 March 2023       Deadline-30th September 2022
  • Window 2- 29 May 2023           Deadline 30th November 2022
  • Window 3-21 August 2023        Deadline 28th February 2023

Step-by-step breakdown of Technical Assistance:

Step 1 – TA request submission

Step 2 – TA mobilization (2 months)

Step 3 – TA implementation (3 months)

Step 4 – Use of Deliverables (1 month)

Step 5 – Funding request submission window

List of abbreviations:

  • NFM4 – The new funding model, Global fund
  • TA-Technical assistance
  • CE SI-Community Engagement Strategic Initiative
  • CRG SI- Community, Rights, and Gender Strategic initiative
  • LAC-Latic American and the Caribbean
  • EECA-Eastern European and Central Asian
  • CCM-Country coordinating mechanism
  • KP-Key population
  • MENA-Middle East and North Africa
  • CSO-Civil society organization