Women4GlobalFund (W4GF) brings together women’s rights advocates, especially women living with HIV, and directly affected by TB and malaria — to advance gender equality through the Global Fund. W4GF mobilizes women in all their diversity to ensure that the world’s most important finance mechanism for the HIV, TB and malaria supports programmes that meet the rights and needs of women and girls.
We are not an organisation – rather we are building a movement. The first phase of organising has been supported by the Secretariat of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and facilitated by ASAP Ltd, through projects commenced with the ATHENA network.
W4GF is mobilizing activists, especially from community organizations in implementing countries, to make sure that the Global Fund’s Gender Equality Strategy (GES) is put into action, and achieves real impacts. W4GF is a space to mobilize more action so that the Global Fund resources go where they are most needed and where they will change lives. We need to finance gender transformative programmes, to meet the needs and rights of women and girls in all their diversity. W4GF is designed to make sure that diverse voices are central to the conversation about what the Global Fund does, and where the money is spent, to have the greatest impact on our world and our communities.
In 2013, the Global Fund was in an exciting phase of transformation. W4GF worked to ensure that gender equality was central to these transitions, and that women participated fully in key decisions, in particular when the Global Fund agreed on the new funding model (NFM) that delivered finance through new, targeted approaches. The Gender Equality Strategy and its action plan committed the Global Fund to supporting gender-sensitive – ideally gender-transformative – programmes that address the underlying vulnerabilities faced by women, girls and especially key affected women including transgender women, sex workers, and drug users.
The new Global Fund Strategy 2017 – 2002 Investing to End Epidemics has elevated gender equality to a key strategic objective to ensure that Global Fund resources support programmes that meet diverse gendered needs. This means adjusting the systems, policies and approaches so that all Global Fund levels and processes are grounded in meaningful participation of diverse women, to have the greatest impact on HIV, TB and malaria, and to know what this impact is by making sure that results are disaggregated and tracked by age and gender.
Those of us who started W4GF hope to live in a world where no woman or girl is marginalised and all women – in all their diversity – are able to access the services and treatment they need.
This website (www.women4gf.org) and a Facebook page have been developed to secure an interactive space for women, girls, Trans* and men who support gender equality and want to engage with the Global Fund to make sure that programmes on HIV, TB and malaria are gender transformative.
W4GF was founded in June 2013 and created by a coalition of individuals and organisations concerned that gender equality was not receiving sufficient attention at the time of substantial transitions within the Global Fund. This process was led by ASAP (AIDS Strategy, Advocacy and Policy), a community based consultancy headed then by Ms Robin Gorna with associates around the world who share a clear commitment to confronting AIDS and poverty. ASAP’s ambition for W4GF was to kick start a process of mobilising women most affected by the three diseases, and other gender equality advocates, to engage actively in the Global Fund.
In 2013, ASAP organised a series of funded workshops, and also undertook secretariat work to support the ongoing work of W4GF. The first W4GF workshop was held in July 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland, co-organised with the ATHENA network and supported by the Communities Delegation to the Board of the Global Fund. After this workshop, ASAP established a virtual secretariat to support the ongoing work of W4GF on a pro bono basis.
In Q3 2014, ASAP embarked on resource mobilisation efforts to build a sustainable plan for W4GF and was able to raise resources to further build and sustain W4GF with a funded Secretariat. With a funded W4GF Secretariat led by Ms Rachel Ong (Global Coordinator) and supported by Ms Sophie Dilmitis (Programme Officer), it was anticipated that through sustained action at community levels, W4GF would be able to encourage a broader range of community-based networks and actors to come together and facilitate sustainable action that creates a space for interface between groups who are not currently accessing the resources and structures of this essential financial instrument.
On 1st September 2016, Ms Rachel Ong stepped down in her role as the Global Coordinator with Ms Sophie Dilmitis taking on the leadership role to facilitate and coordinate W4GF.
Ms Robin Gorna
Ms Robin Gorna started her work on AIDS in 1986 and has had a strong focus on women and children’s health since the onset, including authoring one of the first ever books on women and AIDS in the early 1980s: Vamps, Virgins and Victims: How can women Fight AIDS? Her earliest work was with the Terrence Higgins Trust, and she was subsequently the Executive Director of Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO). At AFAO, she set up an important programme on AIDS in the Asia and Pacific region, and was co-chair of the International Conference on AIDS in the Asia and Pacific (ICAAP) in 2001, as well as co-chairing the International AIDS Conference in 1996, and serving as the Executive Director of the International AIDS Society (IAS) from 2009 – 2010. She established the Global AIDS Policy Team at the Department for International Development (DfID) – playing a key role in establishing the Universal Access agreement, the Global Task Team (GTT) on Improving AIDS Coordination Among Multilateral Institutions and International Donors, and the UNAIDS Three Ones, and as a member of the UK-Austrlia Delegation to the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; before moving to Pretoria where she led the HIV and Health programme in DfID’s Southern Africa office from 2006 – 2009. In 2010, Robin established a community-based consultancy – AIDS Strategy, Advocacy and Policy (ASAP Ltd), and oversaw and directed all of the projects, many of which related to the Global Fund and Gender Equality. She was instrumental in the creation and support of W4GF in 2013 and the securing of core funding from ViiV Healthcare to establish the W4GF Secretariat in 2015. Robin has since served as the Executive Director of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH) in 2015 and 2016, and co-authored and published articles including in the Lancet.
Ms Rachel Ong
Global Coordinator 2015 - Aug 2016
Ms Rachel Ong holds a Masters in Public Administration and has worked as the Communications Focal Point with the Communities Delegation on the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria since May 2009, and was a member of the Finance, Operational and Performance Committee (FOPC) from 2014 – 2016. Rachel has been involved in regional and international advocacy and policy work since 2000, and is also currently the Steering Committee Member of Global Fund Advocates Network (GFAN), and Special Advisor of GFAN Asia-Pacific (GFAN AP). In her different capacities and roles since 1999 as the Chair of the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+); Co-Chair of the Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (APN+); Project Coordinator at Positive Art Workshop (PAW) in Beijing, China; and Asia Pacific NGO Delegation Member on the UNAIDS Coordinating Board, Rachel has extensive experiences working with community and civil society networks/organisations at the country, regional and international level, as well as with aid agencies, donors and governments. Rachel was a co-founder of W4GF in 2013 and the establishment of the W4GF Secretariat, and was its Global Coordinator from Jan 2015 through August 2016.