Over the last few years, several donors have supported civil society through multiple granting mechanisms operating in the country. Beginning in 2004, a number of bilateral agencies led by DFID and Irish Aid, collaborated to establish a granting mechanism that harmonized and streamlined donor support to AIDS services organizations. At the same time, USAID was supporting the development of a civil society granting mechanism through which the Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development (MGLSD) would partner with civil society to support OVC and HIV prevention among the youth.
While these initiatives clearly supported the national response to HIV/AIDS and OVC and addressed national and local priorities, observers acknowledged that maintaining these efforts as separate initiatives would continue to foster a fragmented and poorly coordinated response, resulting in duplicated efforts, critical gaps, and inequitable access.
In an effort to merge and streamline these initiatives, the Uganda AIDS Commission, various line ministries, AIDS development partners (ADPs), and representatives of civil society collectively established the Civil Society Fund as a pooled funding mechanism.
CSF was finally established in June 2007 as a unique multi-donor funded initiative seeking to provide grants to civil society organizations and support activities to scale up effective and comprehensive responses to HIV/AIDS and OVC. Currently, CSF is supported by the Danish Agency for International Development (DANIDA), Irish Aid, the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the Italian Cooperation.
Oversight of the CSF rests with the Uganda AIDS Commission Partnership Committee (PC). The PC is the backbone of the partnership mechanism comprising representatives from 12 Self Coordinating Entities (SCEs). The PC oversees implementation of the CSF strategy and is the official custodian of the fund. It sets policy, approves revision of the strategy and monitors perfomance as well as resources for the CSF.
The SC is essentially the Board of Directors of the Civil Society Fund and serves as the unit responsible for the strategic direction of the CSF. The SC’s work ranges from appointing the management agents to establishing their roles and responsibilities, and monitoring and evaluating their performance. They establish policies, procedures and systems for implementation and management, review and approve annual work plans, budgets and cash-flow projections. The SC also ensures that CSF maintains effective working relationships with, and obtains inputs from the line ministries, relevant sector working groups, and technical work groups (TWGs) to ensure funding decisions are aligned with national plans and annual priorities.
Operations of CSF are executed by the Technical Management Agent, Financial Management Agent, and Monitoring and Evaluation Management Agent. They are responsible for ensuring that all the grants under the CSF are in line with national priorities, accommodate the needs of all donors and embrace feedback from civil society. The three management agents include:
The TMA is also responsible for the capacity building of CSF sub-grantees. In partnernship with FMA and MEA, the TMA focuses on supporting the Steering Committee in establishing policies, procedures and systems for the governance, management and implementation of CSF. The TMA is managed by Chemonics International Inc.
Specific areas of support include:
MEA is responsible for establishing a comprehensive performance, monitoring and reporting program for CSF and its sub-grantees that is aligned with the NSP, NSPPI and other relevant M&E frameworks. MEA is managed by Chemonics International Inc.Specific areas of support include:
The goal of the CSF is to ensure that civil society provision of prevention, care, treatment, and support services in HIV/AIDS and Orphans and other Vulnerable Children (OVC) is harmonized, streamlined, effective, and in support of the National Strategic Plan (NSP), National Strategic Program Plan of Interventions for OVC (NSPPI), National Priority Action Plan (NPAP), and other national plans and policies.
The purpose of the CSF is to bring together multiple donor funds and disburse grants to civil society organizations; align grants with national plans and decision-making processes; and enable an effective, scaled up, and comprehensive response to HIV/AIDS and OVC.
Service Delivery Statistics:
Capacity of CSOs improved: CSF developed a Capacity Building Plan informed by a capacity needs assessment it carried out with CSO sub-grantees. CSF employs various strategies aimed at strengthening CSO capacity in program, M&E and financial management. These include support supervision visits; direct training; mentoring and coaching through one-on-one meetings; phone calls; and email. CSF provided M&E assistance for online data entry into the database, proper utilization of data collection tools, indicators and reporting formats, internal evaluations and training for data collection tools, and web-based data entry. One notable success was achieved in data utilization, where through CSF capacity building interventions, 64% of 142 CSF funded CSOs now perform regular analysis of performance data, and 56% of the CSOs are utilizing project generated data to inform decisions and improve programming (in 2009, only 23% of 125 CSOs were doing this). The M&E, financial, and programmatic capacity building activities mentioned above will ensure that CSOs improve the quality of the services they deliver to their beneficiaries. CSF also developed decentralized capacity building models and blended learning modules to ensure that interventions being delivered are regionally appropriate and tailored to the capacity needs of individual sub-grantees.
Improved data quality among CSOs: CSF has made great strides in improving the quality of data produced by CSOs; 52% of CSOs have adequate data quality assurance procedures as compared to 8% at baseline in 2009. In order to further strengthen CSF data quality assurance procedures, CSF has developed a data quality assurance plan stipulating what exactly needs to be done at various stages to ensure quality data. A CSO sample data flow chart was also developed and shared with CSOs as a guide to develop their own data flow charts.
CSF strengthens national programming and M&E systems: CSF is a member of various technical working groups that are reviewing the OVC National Strategic Plan. CSF also initiated setting up an OVC Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Working Group (M&E TWG). This is a multi-sectoral TWG comprising line ministries, AIDS Development Partners (ADPs) district probation officers and other implementing partners. This TWG is responsible for finalizing the M&E section of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) and has had a number of working meetings to this effect. CSF is also a member of the Lot Quality Assurance Sampling (LQAS) technical working group (TWG) meetings that plan and coordinate LQAS interventions of implementing partners aimed at measuring program outcomes through population based study methodologies.
Monitoring of OVC wellbeing strengthened: CSF has adopted the use of the Child Status Index (CSI); a tool for monitoring the well being of a child under the different Core Program Areas using a standard rating scale. The tool will enable the measurement of improved quality of life for supported OVC and will enable provision of timely referral services in situations where the required services are not provided by the monitoring CSO.
CSF has given out over 149 grants to over 140 Civil Society Organisations to date. Organisations include: National Non-Governmental Organisations, Community Based Organisations, International Non-Governmental Organisations, and consortiums of organisations. CSF has also funded 79 districts and seven Technical Service Organisations.