In February the MENA Platform participated in a three-day Community, Rights and Gender Strategic Initiative Learning Event in Bangkok, Thailand. The event, which was organized by the Community, Rights and Gender (CRG) team from the Global Fund Secretariat and APCASO (host of the Asia-Pacific Platform), was an opportunity for representatives of all three components of the CRG Strategic Initiative (CRG-SI) to meet each other and understand the full scope and objectives of the Strategic Initiative over the next two and a half years.
All five Regional Platforms sent representatives to the event. The Platforms form one of the three components of the CRG-SI. The other two components are peer-to-peer short-term technical assistance, and long-term capacity building for key population networks and organizations. The three components are interrelated and the event provided a forum for each to learn about the services and activities provided by others, so that we all might better promote and engage with each other’s work. In addition to the three components, representatives from key technical partners of the Global Fund participated, including the French 7% Initiative (formerly French 5%) UNAIDS, PEPFAR, Stop TB, and GIZ, the German development agency.
Yahia, Alim, and Charlie attended on behalf of the MENA platform. We used the opportunity to strengthen our relationships with technical assistance providers who work in the MENA region, to learn some of the approaches other Regional Platforms are using to strengthen community engagement in Global Fund grants, and to set a course for more coordination and collaboration with the other components and organizations. One of the key discussions was about creating a space at the AIDS 2018 conference in Amsterdam. As civil society and community organizations ourselves, we want to make sure there is ample space and resources for communities who want to enhance or share their work within a Global Fund context.
Stay tuned over the next few months for more details on the CRG-SI at AIDS 2018.