A W4GF webinar on March 7 2017 provided space for W4GF advocates to engage with the Global Fund Secretariat (GFS) to discuss the Global Fund Applicants’ Handbook as well as the Global Fund Modular Framework.

1. Introduction
The Global Fund is focusing on adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in 13 priority countries across East and Southern Africa (Botswana, Cameroon, Lesotho, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Many W4GF advocates are working on funding requests in various roles and countries will be submitting funding requests in the next three windows: March, May and August. The agenda for this webinar included:

  • The Global Fund Applicants Handbook
  • The Global Fund Modular Framework
  • What is happening now and before the March 20 (window 1) submission date?
  • Lessons from W4GF Advocates and Partners
  • Questions and discussion

2. Update from Global Fund Secretariat
To view the introductory section presented by the Global Fund Secretariat (and covered in previous webinars) click here.

3. The Global Fund Applicants Handbook
The Global Fund Applicants Handbook is designed to offer practical information on the different stages of the application process (2017-2019 funding cycle), along with guidance on best practices and lessons learned from the previous funding cycle. It includes supporting resources and tools related to each stage of the process and highlights important changes designed to better serve tailored funding application approaches to different country circumstances

Key changes highlighted in the Applicants Handbook include:
Differentiated Applications – The funding request process for 2017-2019 is tailored to the needs of applicants through ‘differentiated’ application materials and corresponding review approaches. These updated application and review processes allow for flexible funding requests and documentation that are ‘right-sized’ to match the needs and context of a country and include:

  • Program continuation: streamlines the funding request process to ensure well-performing programs with no material change needed can continue implementation with minimal distraction.
  • Tailored Review: funding request needs to specific tailoring related to: Programs; Challenging Operating Environments; transition funding; applying innovative approaches and learning opportunities to existing programmes.
  • Full review: A comprehensive review of the countries program’s approach and strategic priorities.

Matching Funds replace ‘incentive funding’ and is a separate reserve of funding for eligible applicants to catalyse allocations for activities in line with GF strategy. Countries are informed if they are eligible for catalytic investments (matching funds) in their Allocation Letters sent in December 2016.

CCM Eligibility Assessments. There are three different approaches to the annual CCM eligibility and performance assessment: standard, light and superlight. There are also standard and light approaches to screening eligibility requirements one and two, which are assessed at the time of funding request submission. For additional information on CCM guidelines click here

The handbook highlights the following to consider before/during engaging in the funding request process:

  • Funding requests must be based on national strategic plans or an investment case may be developed which is a country-developed proposal for resource allocation, including an analysis of optimal allocation of existing resources, and a prioritised scale-up plan to reach national disease goals.
  • An ongoing country dialogue among all stakeholders
  • Agreement on the program split where a country decides how to allocate funds across the disease components and sustainable health systems
  • Understanding of health system needs and ways to build resilient and sustainable systems for health (RSSH)
  • Performing a needs assessment and gap analysis of the health system
  • Requesting technical assistance if appropriate
  • Knowing the submission date of your funding request.

4. The Global Fund Modular Framework
The ‘modular approach’ is a method used by the Global Fund to organise the programmatic and financial information related to each grant from the funding request, through grant making and implementation. It provides a structure for organising the funding request but countries should use the country dialogue process to identify areas for strategic investment. It is important to note the following:

  • Grant related information is summarised under categories called modules that have interventions;
  • Modules includes interventions and impact/ outcome and coverage indicators to monitor progress;
  • Provides a structure for applicants to complete the performance framework and budget templates.

Key Points on the Modular Framework:

  • Modules and interventions are the building blocks of the funding request, and applicants will continue to use and track them through grant making and implementation;
  • Core documents such as performance framework, budget, programmatic gap tables and funding landscape tables, are linked together via the modules and interventions selected by the applicant;
  • The modular framework, interventions and indicators should be used to help countries complete their data for submission as part of the funding request;
  • The selection and prioritisation of the modules, interventions and indicators is one of the main outputs of country dialogue;
  • The modular approach facilitates preparation and submission of the funding request to the Global Fund. It is not meant to guide countries in their programming or prioritisation of specific investments or activities in their funding request. It is also not meant to provide technical guidance to countries on strategic investment.

5. Discussion
The Eastern Africa National Networks of AIDS Service Organisation (EANNASO) provided an update on two meetings in Kigali (February 27 – 28, 2017). The first was a civil society CCM forum where the following issues were discussed and debated:

  • How to manage conflict of interest (CoI). One recommendation was that those who were involved as implementers should not be part of providing oversight;
  • Representation of Key Populations and women and girls and youth representatives in the CCM and what CCMs are doing to ensure effective representation and consultation;
  • Funding requests – and the role of civil society CCM members to coordinate civil society input into the funding request.

The second part of the meeting was the Anglophone Africa Global Fund CRG Platform Meeting on Sharing civil society and Community Groups Engagement Experiences in GFATM Processes” (March 1-2 2017) also in Kigali which highlighted:

  • What the Global Fund is about and the catalytic funding; AGYW; human rights and gender;
  • People shared country experiences – Zimbabwe showed how women were coordinated and mobilised and Uganda also shared their experience. Key lessons included:
    • The importance of having a lead network/organisation to lead this process.
    • Speaking with one voice
    • Technical Assistance (TA) is essential – many were unsure how to access this even though the Community Rights Gender (CRG) shared how TA is accessible. Other TA could come from GIZ, the Alliance and The Stop TB Partnership. Through this next funding cycle Global Fund TA has been extended into implementation and EANNASO is able to support community to complete the form that then submitted to the CRG Department.
    • Women want to be come implementers but the criteria remains a barrier.

A W4GF advocate from Zimbabwe requested advice after sharing feelings of despondency “during the funding request process it was echoed many times that civil society have no capacity. At some point you loose hope that anything significant will go to women or make a difference in the lives of adolescent girls and young women and women or led by communities – Is there any advice on this?” Zimbabwe had a particularly challenging situation and at least one accountability mechanism was that the draft funding request was submitted to the Global Fund Secretariat before the team started to work on the budget and this is one form of accountability. It is really important that civil societies scrutinise the budget and bring attention to what is missing and that we do this in writing. All comments received by the lead writer are being kept and will go to the Global Fund Secretariat. We need to remain engaged and at the table and not to give up. To access the Community Rights Gender TA form click here.

A W4GF advocate from Malawi also shared existing struggles around CoI and sustainability and ownership are huge issues and more capacity building is required for civil society especially around data capturing to better track impact and the grant itself. Civil society is also competing against each other and this is unhelpful. Advocates were encouraged to apply for TA perhaps to enable shadow reporting. The TA application form is easy although there is an existing assumption that the process is complicated but it is actually straightforward.

6. What’s happening now and before the March 20 (window 1) submission date?
Right now some countries have submitted their first draft of the funding request to the country teams at the Global Fund Secretariat who conduct a review to check on completeness in accordance with the set guidelines and consistency in response to the country epidemiology. Feedback is then communicated to the CCMs for necessary adjustments before final submission for the detailed Technical Review Panel (TRP) review. The discussions emphasised the need for sustained civil society engagement (even through grant making); to be familiar with the documents submitted; and to work very closely with the CCMs. Advocates were also advised that if things are not working well in country they should contact the Fund Portfolio Manager and report this. Contact details can be found here.

The webinar was hosted by the W4GF Secretariat – Sophie Dilmitis (Global Coordinator); and attended by 6 participants: Mara Banda, Olga Belyaeva, Elisa Canqui Mollo, Olive Mumba, Albertina Nyatsi, Martha Tholana and from the Global Fund Community, Rights and Gender (CRG) Department: Rukia Mannikko, Technical Advisor- Gender.