Community and civil society mobilization is essential to safeguarding human rights of key populations and affected and vulnerable communities. This plays a crucial role towards improving uptake of health services, including those for HIV, TB, and malaria; scaling up interventions to the level necessary; accessing hardest to reach groups; advocating for transparency and accountability; and keeping implementation costs sustainable.
In Global Fund grants, communities and civil society play important roles in ensuring community-centered, rights-based, and gender-transformative (CRG) HIV, TB, and malaria programming. In affirmation of this, the Global Fund Board in 2014 allocated USD15 million from 2014 to 2016 for a set of CRG Special Initiatives (CRG SI). The CRG SI has two objectives: (a) for communities and civil society to be meaningfully engaged in the design, implementation, and monitoring of supported programmes; and (b) to ensure the inclusion of technically sound interventions to address human rights, gender equality, and community systems strengthening (CSS). The CRG SI aims to support effective community and civil society engagement in Global Fund processes through the following core programmes:
1) Supporting the long-term capacity development of national and regional HIV key population networks for more effective engagement in Global Fund processes;
2) Short-term technical assistance towards effective engagement of community and civil society groups in Global Fund country dialogues and concept note development (up to grant signing); and
3) Regional CRG Communication and Coordination Platforms Under the short-term technical assistance (TA) program of the CRG SI, APCASO has been deployed to several TA assignments across the three diseases from 2014 to 2017.
In addition, from August 2015 APCASO launched and served as the host of the Asia-Pacific CRG Platform (APCRG). As host of the APCRG, APCASO has been positively reviewed by external partners for having facilitated solidarity-building, information exchange, and cross-learning amongst community and civil society (CS) networks working on and across HIV, TB, and malaria in the region. APCASO as APCRG produced and packaged resources and tools to support advocates unpack Global Fund processes and to help ensure that disease programmes are inclusive of CRG interventions. It has also brokered linkages and CRG-relevant communications and concerns between community and CS partners and the Global Fund CRG Department, technical assistance provider platforms, funders, and UN partners.
As part of its APCRG hosting role, as well as part of its CRG TA provide duties, APCASO has supported the establishment and strengthening of regional CS advocacy platforms on malaria and on TB. Select assignments of APCASO as a CRG TA provider include supporting development of the key population engagement plan as part of the CCM reform in Nepal in early 2017, and inclusion of CRG issues in the 2017 series of country and regional dialogues for the Mekong Subregion malaria funding request submission of the Regional Artemisinin Resistance Initiative (RAI) grant.
This documentation report aims to capture insights and lessons from its APCRG hosting and select CRG TA provision work from 2015 to 2017, and provide recommendations that will guide future similar work and initiatives.