RCNF was launched in July 2012 as an urgent reaction to reductions in funding for HIV, persistent human rights abuses against Inadequately Served Populations (ISPs) 1 and a strong corresponding push for greater coordination amongst civil society stakeholders. The slow pace of change in political and funding environments meant that in many parts of the world, Inadequately Served Populations (ISPs) continued to be at a higher risk of HIV infection, illness and death but often faced daunting barriers to treatment, prevention and support services. In this context of rapidly dwindling resources, global and regional civil society networks acting as critical representatives, advocates and coordinators of such communities started ‘falling through the cracks’ of existing financing mechanisms, many suffering acute restrictions on their work, and even closure. There was clearly an urgent need to protect and support the most under-served, vulnerable and disenfranchised communities affected by HIV.

RCNF is a custom-built solution to protect and support the most under-served, vulnerable and disenfranchised communities affected by HIV. Our mission is to enable global and regional civil society networks to scale-up access to prevention, treatment, care and support and to protect the rights of ISPs. Civil society networks play a crucial role in addressing barriers to universal access to HIV-services: they provide training and capacity building, support their members with locally relevant services, and can have a powerful influence on national resource conversations. Networks also play a strong role in advocacy by enabling leadership from communities and populations most affected by HIV and actively advocate for their human rights. When properly resourced and supported, networks are able to influence important policy developments at global, regional and national levels that often lead to more successful and efficient national and local programs – delivered by governments as well as civil society. Our work is still in its infancy and there is much more to be done to ensure that communities lead and no one is left behind.

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