Prioritizing support of community-led monitoring (CLM) in the Global Fund activities in the EECA region

In October 2023 several important meetings of leaders of regional community networks with GF EECA regional team, CLM strategic initiative, and CRG team leadership in Geneva were organized to define a coordinated approach of GF teams and regional community networks in support to communities in countries that planned CLM in the GC7 context.

For community organisations in the EECA region CLM during the last several years became a working mechanism for advocacy in improving the quality and comprehensiveness of HIV and TB response services and human rights protection. Different methods are used by communities on national, regional, and local levels to collect data for effective advocacy. The well-known regional systems of gathering data such as “pereboi.eeca”, and online platforms of data gathering (such as REAct system (“Rights-Evidence-Action”) or One impact) already accumulated experience and lessons learned. Compendium of CLM methods and best practices used in the EECA region by different communities collected and used in the region, the regular mechanism of sharing best practices and capacity building for community group through regional “community of practice” is established.

Based on the experience so far, community-led advocacy regional community networks such as the Eurasian Coalition on Health, Rights, Gender and Sexual Diversity (ECOM), Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA), Eurasian Network of People who Use Drugs (ENPUD), Eurasian Women’s Network on AIDS (EWNA), Health Advocacy Coalition (HAC), International Treatment Preparedness Coalition Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ITPC-EECA), Sex Worker’s Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN), Eurasian Movement for Right to Health in Prisons and TB people developed “The position of regional networks on community-led monitoring”. Position summarising key objectives, principles of CLM from a community perspective, challenges of the implementing CLM such as conflict of interests, the influence of donors and state authorities on the results, integration of CLM in national M&E system and using its results for changes.

During these meeting representatives of regional community networks and regional civil society organizations shared information about existing in the CEECA region experience of the CLM conducted and used for the advocacy by different communities.

19th of October the meeting with GF regional EECA team was organised to facilitate faster and more effective implementation of CLM activities in the GC7 national grants in the countries of the region, It should be done by defining ways to provide technical support and to involve existing regional technical expertise to support PRs and community groups in their planning, implementing and using results of CLM. Participants discussed lessons learned from practical examples of effective usage of CLM in improving HIV response in countries and key challenges of CLM in the EECA region based on the community experience. The important outcome of the meeting was in joint discussion of practical approaches for supporting communities in effective CLM in cooperation between Country Teams, regional community networks, and technical partners on the regional and national level and defined next steps for 2024 in joint work in supporting communities in implementing CLM in EECA countries.

Being in Geneva 20th of October, leaders of regional community networks took the opportunity to meet with the new leader of the Community, Rights and Gender GF team, well-known community activist Vuyiseka Dubula. Vitaly Djuma, ECOM, Svitlana Moroz, EWNA and Ganna Dovbakh, EHRA together with our colleague from CRG team Alexandrina Iovita made for Mrs. Dubula a comprehensive overview of the current state with community development, introduced to her situation of humanitarian crises in the region caused by the full-scale war aggression of Russia against Ukraine, discussed political challenges for civil society involvement into national decision making in authoritarian countries of the region and influence of this context on GF programs’ effectiveness in different countries. It was a really warm and encouraging meeting to find solutions for better community engagement, meaningful participation, and human rights protection specific for EECA region and globally.

31st of October the meeting of regional community networks with the GF CLM team was important to build strong cooperation with GF CLM strategic initiative specifically to establish productive and systematic dialogue between the communities from the EECA region to build effective joint systematic provision of technical support and capacity building for communities in EECA countries to make CLM possible and effective for improving HIV and TB response for key populations in the region. Taking into consideration that starting from 2024 there will not be any specific CLM SI, using other possible mechanisms of the GF technical support and capacity building to communities in conducting CLM were discussed. 

Meetings were co-organized by the Eurasian regional consortium supported by the Robert Carr Network Fund and EECA Regional Platform for Communication and Coordination.