Why W4GF

To read a recent 2020 report on W4GF’s history, success and impact click here and this infographic explains W4GF at a glance.

Why W4GF?

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.


W4GF’s Vision

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.

W4GF’s Mission

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.

W4GF Objectives

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.


Herstory

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.