Looper: Constituency Feedback Loop Tool

Five years ago, the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (hereafter referred to as the Global Fund) acknowledged the need to address gender equality (GE) with regard to all three diseases and particular emphasis was placed on women, girls and people marginalized because of their sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), namely, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals. In response to this, the Global Fund developed GE and SOGI strategies to address these vulnerabilities. These strategies were intended to positively impact the policies and operations of Global Fund at country level as well as at the Secretariat in Geneva. Despite these strategies, in 2014, women, young girls and LGBT groups still have difficulty participating in Global Fund decision making and accessing Global Fund grants. 

The Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCM) are national-level forums responsible for writing proposals and choosing Principal Recipients to implement Global Fund programming in the country, and are thus key forums for implementation of these GE and SOGI strategies. The CCMs are intended to be inclusive and participatory bodies, with representation from all sectors, including women, girls and LGBT, however, these individuals often face barriers to meaningful participation on the CCMs. In Southern Africa in particular, legal, cultural and political circumstances result in the exclusion of women, girls and LGBT from CCM discussions. Further, even if marginalized groups do have a seat on the CCM, they are often not well equipped to participate meaningfully due to a lack of adequate capacity to engage on the issues, or attitudinal barriers from other members. Seats for women, young girls or LGBT individuals that do exist can be ‘tokenistic’ to appease donors, yet the individual is not able to engage or advocate on behalf of their constituency in a meaningful way. 

In light of this, AIDS Accountability International (AAI), in partnership with the Ford Foundation, began working with Southern African CCMs in 2012 to support women, young girls and LGBT groups to participate more meaningfully in Global Fund decision making. With the New Funding Model (NFM) beginning in 2014, the need for inclusive processes has never been as dire.   AAI has been pleased to see that since 2009 the work of partners such as AIDSPAN, EANNASO, AAI and others, as well as continuous effort from GFATM Geneva, that representation on CCMs is constantly improving. However, challenges remain.


Current challenges


During the course of our work with CCMs in Southern Africa and the rest of Africa, AAI has uncovered that an important and enduring challenge is the lack of constituency engagement of many CCM members. This process of CCM representative engaging with their constituency members both in terms of feeding outcomes and decisions made at CCM meetings to members; and in terms of feeding constituency demands, questions etc. through to CCM meetings is what AAI is terming the Constituency Feedback Loop.

There are many reasons for this lack of feedback, including but not limited to the following:
•    Constituencies are fluid, as people join and leave jobs;
•    Areas of work change for constituencies as funding shifts;
•    CCM members fulfil this role in a part time position and do not always have human, financial or other resources to deeply engage with constituencies;
•    Constituencies may be physically based in distant rural areas, difficult to access regularly;
•    Financial resources make face to face or other engagement limited or non-existent;
•    A lack of political will to engage with constituencies (power representation challenges);
•    The quantity and depth of info that needs transmitting between CCM member and constituency members;
•    No formalised process for gathering, and organising constituency feedback;
•    No method of quantifying constituency feedback;
•    No method of visualising constituency feedback;

The gaps in the Constituency Feedback Loop affect how CCM members make decisions, request funding, demand emphasis or decision-making and can result in erroneous or under-played representation, often unintentionally. Many CCM members do not wish to misrepresent their constituency but regrettably are forced to rely solely on their own judgement too often. Most CCM members legitimately support any improvement in the Constituency Feedback Loop and in our informal discussions AAI has discovered many who would be happy to improve the Loop using accessible, simple and affordable technology.

The aim of this project is to develop a software product that CCM members can use to engage directly with their members. This is not designed to be a silver bullet but as a support tool to both constituency members and to Reps to make the job of sharing, engaging, discussing, representing easier, more efficient and more accurate.

The long term hope is that this tool will have reach beyond CCM members to various constituency structures globally, improving representation and making it more direct, accurate and transparent.


Long term objective (10 years)


Improve accountability in the health response by improving constituency feedback loops by making them more transparent, improving dialogue between stakeholders (members and representatives) and demanding accurate action and representation.


Medium term objective (2-5 years)


Improve constituency input and engagement with GFATM CCM representatives in order to improve accuracy of representation at CCM level.


Short term activities (12-18 months)


END SEPT 2016    1.    Create an AAI Development Team to advise on work
END SEPT 2016    2.    DT Meeting 1 (virtual) to discuss this concept note (ambit, framework, budget and timelines of the work);
END NOV 2016    3.    Develop Pilot based on DT meeting 1;
END DEC 2016    4.    DT Meeting 2 (virtual) to analyse version 1 of Looper
MID JAN 2016    5.    Revisit and incorporate feedback of DT into version 1 to develop version2
END JAN 2016    6.    DT sign off of V2 (or inclusion of minor changes)
END MAR 2017    7.    Pilot (Katswe Sistahood, and maybe 2 or 3 other members in different countries: Ask Fred)
END APRIL 2017    8.    Revise based on pilot to develop Version 3
END MAY 2017    9.    Roll out version 3 in as many SADC CCMs as possible, whilst soliciting feedback from all users.
END JUNE 2017    10.    Incorporate feedback as updates on an ongoing basis
END 2017-2018    11.    Develop Generation 2 of Looper if required.
END 2017-2018    12.    Extend geographic and issue coverage


AAI Development Team 


AAI uses experts to advise on the content development of many of our research projects and scorecards. Their role is to provide their expert advice on the development and content of the work. DT members are acknowledged as such in all outputs, but receive no financial or other compensation for their input. The final decisions always rest with AAI, as does the responsibility for errors and missions.

Recommended members for this Looper:
Phillipa Tucker (lead on project); Yunus Mohammed (software developer); Talent Jumo (CCM member to pilot software); Olive Mumba (EANNASO ED); Gemma Oberth (ex AAI, now EANNASO GFATM and CCM expert); Rene-Frederic Plain, GFATM CCM Hub;); Kevin Chikwava and Rob Ward (Q Partnership).

Others beyond this list should be considered.

1.    An ex CCM member, someone who is no longer involved. 
2.    A constituency member.


The Looper software requirements


Mandatory Functional Requirements

1.    The system will operate on all platforms (Android, IOS, Windows etc.)
2.    The application should not be device specific and be able to work on locally purchased devices or regionally purchased (imported) devices. (Smart phones, tablets, PC’s?)
3.    Representative dashboard: a one stop shop where representatives can add questions for feedback and info for constituency followers to read (these would take various forms: yes/no/DK questions; priority questions; discussion forums; direct messaging; folders with pdfs; Q and A etc. This dashboard needs to have a calendar and reminder so that Rep can add CCM meetings, and then remind herself to send feedback timeously after the meeting.
4.    Constituency Follower dashboard: a one stop shop for followers to see their various representatives that they follow and whether any updates have been placed on the Looper since their last visit. They can then click on each Rep and read docs that rep has shared with them; answer feedback questions; participate in discussion forums; DM the Rep etc.
5.    No training must be necessary. System must be simple enough at Gen 1 for there to be no need for manuals etc. Basing the Looper on existing social media and other existing tools such as Twitter (DM); Whatsapp (Chat); LinkedIn (discussion forums); Survey Monkey (questions and Answers); and Clouds Dropbox (file sharing) should create an app that is already known to users and thus requires no training.
6.    Incentivising users: Airtime, airline miles, corporate social responsibility, stars on their Facebook page, etc.
Other System Requirements

1.    Non-device specific
2.    Server not specific
3.    Database not specific

1.    Web based system, connectivity required across all devices
2.    Off line capability
3.    Auto data save and transmit when in connectivity is re-established