Published by MSMGF (the Global Forum on MSM & HIV), this new review 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 this independent review, which was carried out by the Community Action and Leadership Collaborative (CLAC)**, and led by MSMGF. Preliminary findings and recommendations were validated by more than 100 people through community consultations and interviews in seven countries: Cameroon, the Dominican Republic, Kenya, Moldova, the Philippines, Suriname, and Tunisia – and nineteen community key informants from Morocco, Sierra Leone, Indonesia, Armenia, Ethiopia Argentina, Tanzania Nepal, South Africa, Thailand, Costa Rica and Tunisia.
Diseases like HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria disproportionately affect certain groups as a result of social and economic inequities that persist worldwide. These groups are often criminalized and experience human rights abuses, seriously compromising their access to health services. HIV disproportionately affects men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers, and people who use drugs, whereas TB can affect miners and healthcare workers.
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.
“In areas of the country dialogue and the development of the concept note, progress for engaging communities has been significant… But during negotiations that follow this step and during the implementation of the grant, it turns out that the exercise of this commitment is often symbolic”
The intended outcome of meaningful community engagement is stronger, higher-quality, more human rights-centered and gender-transformative programs and services delivered to and by communities most impacted by these three diseases.
Based on the findings of the review, the report proposes a series of recommendations, and component strategic actions for the Global Fund in efforts to expand and enhance meaningful community engagement in all phases of its grants moving forward.
*The Community Rights and Gender Advisory Group is comprised of 18 HIV, TB and Malaria experts on community systems and responses, gender, representatives from key population networks, representatives from the Communities and NGO delegations to the Global Fund Board, and a limited number of technical partners as observers
**The CLAC is a unique collaboration between AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA), the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), Global Action for Trans* Equality (GATE), the Global Forum on MSM and HIV (MSMGF), the Global Network for Sex Work Projects (NSWP), the International Network of People Who Use Drugs (INPUD), and the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC). The collaboration between these networks supports a deep understanding and connection with key populations to strengthen expertise in the areas of HIV and tuberculosis, treatment access, human rights and community engaged. See www.clac.cab for more information
MSMGF is an expanding network of advocates and other experts in sexual health, LGBT/human rights, research, and policy, working to ensure an effective response to HIV among gay men and other men who have sex with men. We are directly linked with more than 130 community-based organizations, across 73 countries.
The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF)