In November 2014, AIDS Accountability International (AAI) joined a round table meeting of 35 organizations to discuss how best to join forces, foster dialogue and share resources in holding health funding partners and programmes accountable. Hosted by Aidspan, the independent observer of the Global Fund, the round table launched a support and learning Community of Practice (CoP) of health watchdogs in East and Southern Africa called“Africa Health Watch”.
Following the creation of the CoP, AIDS Accountability International joined the steering committee of Africa Health Watch and began building new partnerships with other members.
As part of AAI’s project “Strengthening Africa’s Country Coordinating Mechanisms” (in partnership with the Ford Foundation), we are holding the Global Fund accountable for commitments made in their Gender Equality Strategy and Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities Strategy. Based on original research conducted by AAI, one of the best ways to do this is to build consensus among civil society and marginalized groups, such as women, young girls and the LGBTI community around funding and prioritization. In order to achieve this, AAI has been supporting countries in Southern Africa to produce Civil Society Priorities Charters, which are advocacy tools used to advocate to Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCM) for inclusion in concept notes to the Global Fund. These documents in some countries have also helped streamline focus by CSOs within national planning and budgeting processes.
The CSO Charter work has been documented as good practice (done with additional support from ICASO).
AAI has since partnered with other members of Africa Health Watch to scale up the Civil Society Priorities Charters to East Africa. As AAI only does need-driven work, requests from Africa Health Watch partners in Tanzania – particularly EANNASO and HDT – led to AAI’s support for the Tanzania Civil Society Priorities Charter. Both EANNASO and HDT, as well as other members of Africa Health Watch in Tanzania such as Sikika, attended the workshop and contributed towards the Charter. Further, based on this work AAI was also able to support partners in Zanzibar to create their own Civil Society Priorities Charter. EANNASO also attended this workshop and has since provided ongoing technical support towards designing and implementing an action plan for the Charter.
Further, AAI’s new partnerships with EANNASO and Aidspan, seeded through Africa Health Watch, led to collaborations to support both Uganda and Kenya to also create Civil Society Priorities Charters. In Uganda, the Charter development process was led by fellow Africa Health Watch Steering Committee member, UNASO, with technical support from EANNASO and AAI. In Kenya, Aidspan led the Charter creation, again with technical support from EANNASO and AAI. Kenyan members of Africa Health Watch, including Development Initiatives and Wote Youth Development Project, contributed towards the Charter creation, as did s host of other Kenyan organisations who developed supporting research to back the developed charter.
In addition, AAI has also used Africa Health Watch as a platform for information sharing about our new role as watchdogs in the Global Fund’s Key Populations Engagement Pilot. As the Regional Mentor Organization (RMO) for Swaziland, AAI has used Africa Health Watch to enter into dialogue with other prospective RMOs on the continent.
Lastly, based on the findings of AAI’s latest report – “CCMs Speak” – which is a needs assessment for the Global Fund New Funding Model, AAI looks forward to exploring future partnerships with more Africa Health Watch members, seeking even better ways of holding the Global Fund and other funding partners accountable.
For more information on Africa Health Watch, please contact: Angela Kageni (angela.kageni[at]aidspan.org).