Consolidating the Community Engagement Strategic Initiative

Also available in: Español


By: Lídice López Tocón

During the first week of September 2022, Bangkok welcomed participants to the meeting of the Community Engagement Strategic Initiative (CE SI). This new name was given to the former Community, Rights and Gender Strategic Initiative (CRG SI) in line with the new strategy of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

As usual, the CE SI meeting offered an opportunity to evaluate the work accomplished and to exchange experiences. The objectives of the meeting were to develop a common approach to community engagement processes in the New Funding Model (NFM4), to explore opportunities for developing community engagement plans, and to understand in detail some of the aspects related to the new forms and tools developed by the Global Fund and its partners.

On the morning of the first day,  introductions and some integration dynamics took place. Afterward, the change in the partners during the first semester of 2022 was presented, and  those in attendance shared some of their best practices. In the afternoon session, participants were divided into three concurrent sessions, each oriented toward discussing a particular topic: Safety and Security, Community Engagement in the TB Response, and Community-led Monitoring. 

This encounter was a time of mutual learning for the Platforms leading the workshops and those who participated in them. During the Safety and Security session, the LAC Platform and Corresponsales Clave shared their experience about sexual harassment and aggression faced by stakeholders and peer educators in Guatemala. This example prompted a discussion on the importance of sharing the work that different initiatives are implementing to ensure the safety of people working in the field. For instance, participants from Lithuania shared that educators in their country formed groups of at least three people to protect each other in case of robbery or other types of aggression.

Moreover, in order to promote mutual support, the Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE) initiative proposed to enhance the exchange of different experiences and tools developed by other partners. “We are doing things that you are not doing, and you are doing other things that we have to do; therefore, we should have a comprehensive approach to the subject,” commented one of the participants.

The session on Community Engagement in the TB response allowed participants to examine progress in the TB strategy evaluations conducted in more than 20 countries worldwide. More importantly, it also reviewed some of the positive impacts and challenges encountered during these evaluations. “We also discussed advocacy and other actions following the TB strategy assessments. In many countries, the outcome of these assessments have led to the development of human rights and gender action plans that have already been budgeted,” said Mayowa Joel from Stop TB Nigeria in a video. 

The session on Community-Led Monitoring (CLM) focused on sharing EANNASO’s experience in the operationalization of the CLM model. Participants discussed common challenges and solutions in the design and implementation of the model as well as the use of data for advocacy actions.

The second day centered on reviewing the Global Fund’s New Strategy, the preparations for the new funding windows, and the steps to be taken in the coming months to promote and ensure community engagement in developing grants financed by the Global Fund.

On the third day, community-based organizations were presented with a guide for the costing of activities to be subsidized by the Global Fund, with the intention of improving understanding and allowing them to influence the process.

The meeting enabled the integration of the Platforms that collaborate with the Global Fund in promoting community involvement in the GF processes and the provision of Technical Assistance through the CE SI.