By Olayide Akanni, Martin-Mary Falana, Ifeanyi Orazulike and Morenike Folayan
Members of the Peer Review Forum, a civil society-led advocates group that seeks to promote accountability in the HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria responses in Nigeria, have called for better performance of Nigeria’s Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM).
The forum made the call during its planning meeting in Ibadan recently.
The members noted that gaps in the CCM’s performance have started to erode the ability of Civil Society Networks to actively engage with aspects of the HIV response being supported through the Global Fund.
An independent assessment of Nigeria’s Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) has shown that there are gaps in the CCM’s performance of its role and functions that undermine the effective management of the Global Fund grants in Nigeria.
The assessment whose findings are contained in a publication titled “The Nigeria Civil Society and Communities Shadow Report”, involved individual interviews and focused group discussions with both CCM and non CCM members. The report was conducted by members of the civil society across nine countries; Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia with support of Eastern Africa National Network of AIDS Service Organisations (EANNASO) and AIDS Accountability International (AAI) between November and December 2016.
The report assessed six things – if the Global Fund concept note development process was transparent and inclusive; if the principal recipients of grants were selected through a transparent process, the effectiveness of their oversight planning and implementation process; its membership, the process of non-governmental member selection; and how the organization manages and resolves conflicts.
The Country Coordinating Mechanisms are a vital part of the Global Fund architecture at country level. They convene stakeholders to engage meaningfully in the development and implementation of country proposals for the Global Fund funding for HIV, tuberculosis and Malaria control.
While the assessment indicated that the CCM had fared well at efforts to be transparent and inclusive in its concept note development process through active engagement of members of the civil society, some respondents were of the opinion that the selection of principal recipients (PRs) for grant implementation was not transparent. One of the major complaints was about the way the Global Fund Secretariat unduly influences the selection of the PRs.
The report also noted that the CCM was underperforming in its oversight function; a reason the Global Fund Secretariat often has to interfere directly with affairs in the country. Sadly, this interference undermines the effectiveness of the CCM and needs to be addressed moving forward.
At the time of the assessment, 51% of the CCM membership was from the civil society: above the recommended 40%. However, the membership was skewed to the exclusion of those most affected by HIV – female sex workers and men who have sex with men. The selection of community members on the CCM has however been transparent.
Finally, many respondents who participated in the assessment were of the opinion that the conflict resolution process was not optimal and can be improved.
The Peer Review Forum on its part noted that “in the spirit of accountability and transparency, and in support of the national efforts to achieve significant milestones with the HIV response in Nigeria by 2020, the CCM will need to improve its action now and fast. The Peer Review Forum is watching and willing to take it to task.”
The authors, Akanni, Falana, Orazulike and Folayan, are members of Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria