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 mobilises 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.
W4GF is not an organisation – it is a movement. W4GF is a space to mobilise action so that Global Fund resources go where they are most needed and where they can change lives. W4GF is designed to make sure that diverse voices are central to the conversation about what the Global Fund does, and where the money can have the greatest impact in 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 meaningful participated in key decisions, in particular around the new funding model (NFM). The Gender Equality Strategy (GES) and its action plan committed the Global Fund to supporting gender-sensitive and transformative programmes that address the underlying vulnerabilities faced by women, girls and key affected women including transgender women, sex workers, and women who use drugs.
W4GF has played a key role to ensure that achieving gender equality was elevated to a key strategic objective in the new Global Fund Strategy 2017 – 2022 Investing to End Epidemics. This means adjusting 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 ensuring 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 women – in all their diversity – are able to access the services and treatment they need.
This website (www.women4gf.org) and a Facebook page provide 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.
To live in a world where all women have equal access to HIV, TB and malaria services and the treatment they need and that all women enjoy their rights and are afforded the same status and respect as men in society.
To catalyse the power of women in all their diversity to advance gender equality through the Global Fund – one of the world’s most important finance mechanisms for HIV, TB and malaria. W4GF is designed to empower women to participate in decision-making at global and national levels, to ensure diverse voices influence how money is spent to achieve the greatest impact in communities, and to hold the Global Fund accountable for the impact of spending that will advance gender equality.
W4GF: Building a movement
W4GF’s strength is rooted in building and sustaining connections among women in all of their diversity, and building an effective global movement. The core work of the W4GF Secretariat is to build, strengthen and sustain W4GF as a virtual network of diverse advocates to promote gender equality through the Global Fund; and to secure the infrastructure that will support their work and activities in a cohesive manner.
The direction of W4GF is overseen by its Advisory Group, and informed by W4GF Collaborators at national levels as well as other key stakeholders. W4GF works closely with networks of women living with HIV and women from key affected populations, including through NSWP and INPUD, as well as with the three Communities Delegations to the Global Fund Board and the Community, Rights and Gender Regional Communication Platforms and other allies.
In addition to the core movement building, the W4GF Team is guided by three objectives.
- Objective 1: To improve awareness and understanding of Global Fund processes, policies and investment support among women in all their diversity around the world – so women of different backgrounds and experiences become stronger advocates, to influence how the Global Fund achieves gender equity and human rights at all levels;
- Objective 2: To create a platform where women make connections, learn from each other, strategize and collaborate to set priorities for Global Fund advocacy;
- Objective 3: To secure accountability for and critique of Global Fund investments: tracking Global Fund–supported programmes and services, and influencing global and national processes to inform stronger programming for women and girls.
In 2013, The first phase of organising was supported by the Secretariat of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and facilitated by AIDS Strategy, Advocacy and Policy (ASAP Ltd) with other women and organisations (notably the ATHENA Network and the Communities Delegation to the Board of the Global Fund) to bring gender activists and the Global Fund closer together.
This was led by Ms Robin Gorna who co-created W4GF. Since her early work in the 1980s, Robin has been concerned about the inadequate engagement between organisations and actions focused on AIDS, women and gender equality. The consultancy group that Robin founded, ASAP, had been hired by the Global Fund secretariat in 2011 to review the implementation of the Global Fund’s GES. Her team found that implementation was poor, and attention to gender within Global Fund processes was inadequate, and remarkably different to the attention being paid by community groups to the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Strategy, agreed by the Board at the same time as the GES. Rather than just deliver a report, Robin’s team led a process to kick start a movement that would mobilise women most affected by the three diseases, and other gender equality advocates, to engage actively with the Global Fund through its global processes as well as at national and regional level. From the outset, there was a strong commitment to meaningful engagement of women living with HIV, and other women (including transgender women) most directly affected by all three diseases. Given the connection with other projects ASAP was working on, as well as its origins, ASAP hosted W4GF. The original vision was that ASAP would be leveraged as a launching pad for W4GF until it was established and functioning well enough to move to an organisation grounded in community and that focuses on women.
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.
W4GF was awarded its first grant from ViiV Healthcare for the period of December 1, 2014, through to November 30, 2015, to establish the W4GF Secretariat, governance/advisory structures, and to further strengthen the network of W4GF advocates, organisations and community networks seeking to engage with the Global Fund to ensure that programmes are gender sensitive and gender transformative with the implementation of the funding model. The second ViiV grant was awarded from December 14, 2016 and helped sustain efforts and continued to build on previous achievements and momentum. All of these efforts and accomplishments were attained under the leadership of Ms Rachel Ong, W4GF Coordinator who became the Global Coordinator in the beginning of 2015.
In March 2015, Ms Sophie Dilmitis was appointed as a Project Officer. It was during this period that W4GF was further supported to carry out specific projects by the Global Fund, the Stop TB Partnership, and the Communities Delegation to the Board of the Global Fund. In August 2016 Sophie assumed the role of Global Coordinator and sustained the network’s virtual presence and provided support to W4GF advocates in implementing countries despite a funding gap in 2017.
Half a decade into its existence W4GF has seen transformation and growth through the extension of global partnerships and is now with the International Council of AIDS Service Organisations (ICASO) as its administrative partner under a new grant provided by ViiV Healthcare in 2019.
To read more about our history and achievements please click on this 2020 report which documents W4GF’s history, successes and impact.
W4GF acknowledge the immense role and contribution made by Ms Robin Gorna, who co-created and steered W4GF through its earliest days, and also to Ms Rachel Ong (bios below), who engaged with W4GF from the outset and built on the vision to ensure W4GF is where it stands today. We further salute the leadership of women in implementing countries who have been the bedrock of W4GF’s advocacy and continue to demand meaningful engagement in national processes to ensure impact – delivering essential services, grounded in reality and rights.
Ms Robin Gorna
Robin Gorna has been involved in AIDS since 1986. She wrote one of the first ever books on women and AIDS in the early 1990s: Vamps, Virgins and Victims: How can women Fight AIDS? Robin’s work began with the UK’s Terrence Higgins Trust, and subsequently she became the Executive Director of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) and set up programmes in the Asia- Pacific region, and was co-chair of the 2001 International Conference on AIDS in the Asia and Pacific (ICAAP). She also co-chaired the International AIDS Conference in 1998 (Bridging The Gap, held in Geneva) and went on to serve as the Executive Director of the International AIDS Society (IAS) from 2009 – 2010. Before IAS Robin worked in government, establishing the Global AIDS Policy Team at the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) playing a key role growing the UK’s action on AIDS. Her team prepared the first ever UK Strategy on AIDS in Developing Countries, with a £1.5 billion spending target. She was a member of the UK-Australia Delegation to the Board of the Global Fund, and supported DFID and the Prime Minister’s office on substantial global advocacy through the G8 & UN resulting in the Universal Access agreement and the Three Ones. In late 2006 she moved to Pretoria to lead DFID’s Southern Africa HIV and Health programmes, covering SADC including working in Angola, Lesotho and South Africa. In 2010, Robin established a community-based consultancy – AIDS Strategy, Advocacy and Policy (ASAP Ltd), and oversaw all projects, many related to the Global Fund and gender equality. It was through this work that she was instrumental in the creation and support of W4GF in 2013, including securing core funds from ViiV Healthcare to establish the W4GF Secretariat in 2015, when she moved to Geneva to serve as the Executive Director of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH). In 2017 she was asked to co-Lead the SheDecides movement, working with brilliant politicians, young leaders and advocates and evolving this idea to a pledging conference. SheDecides is now a global movement with 140,000 Friends in 174 countries, and over 40 Champions (Ministers, young leaders, NGO Leaders etc) uniting for a world where every girl and every woman decides about her body, without question. Robin handed over to Naisola Likimani in April 2019, and is now working on her second book, a feminist take on 30+ years of AIDS.
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.