The International HIV/AIDS Alliance and the International Council of AIDS Services Organizations (ICASO) are conducting an online consultation for civil society and other interested parties to input into the draft community systems strengthening framework (CSS for short).  Please feed into this consultation through the online survey by no later than 5th March 2010.  It is crucial to get the views from harm reduction and drug user organisations.

The CSS framework has been developed in recognition that there are gaps in funding for many aspects of community action on HIV, TB, malaria, reproductive health and other health-related issues. It has been developed specifically to support the CSS component of Global Fund (GF) grants, but is applicable to all community based activities aimed at improving health though community based action.

There are a range of ways people can participate in the consultation, including survey monkey.  There are copies of the draft framework in English, French, Spanish and Russian here.

 The opportunities for feedback are:
- A 3-week online dialogue on a dedicated eForum
- An online survey available in English, French, Spanish and Russian
- Key informant interviews in a number of countries
- A two-day face-to-face consultation meeting to be held on 18-19 March

Click here for more information.

Background:

The Global Fund's CSS policy is a particularly important policy development for global civil society, including harm reduction/drug user organisations.  As one of the major sources of global resources for HIV/TB/malaria, GF policy on civil society is vitally important. On the one hand GF CSS provisions represent enormous potential in terms of generating financial support for grass roots organisations working on HIV and TB, on the other, more tradition understandings of ‘civil society’ continue to overlook or exclude drug users and their organisations, along with other harm reduction organisations.  And of course many of us know of the problems that occur nationally at CCMs where civil society are short-changed in favour of government-led HIV/TB programmes.  Good guidance on CSS won’t stop those practices occurring, but it might help.  If the GF are clear and unequivocal about the importance of civil society in national HIV responses, and the CSS guidance describes well the nature and type of efforts that are required to support a strong civil society response, then advocates working nationally will have policy support for proposals that set out to strengthen civil society-led responses.

By feeding back on the draft framework, you will help ensure that the document is clear and concerns central to your work are covered. In particular it is crucial to get some references and/or examples of drug user groups and harm reduction networks in the guidance. 

Defining the CSS process so far has been difficult.  The consultation process represents the most formal of all the attempts so far to define the essential building blocks of a civil society response to HIV/TB.  Attempts to get drug user groups described and acknowledged so far have been unsuccessful. It is vitally important that the voices of people from drug user groups and harm reduction organisations are heard loudly in this consultation.