Transparent communication needed in the Philippines

No clear and transparent communication between the Philippines Country Coordinating Mechanism and MSM and transgender groups

APCOM (member of the MSMGF Consortium of MSM and Transgender Networks) and Dangal Pilipinas Inc. (DANGAL), the national network of MSM and transgender communities in the Philippines with a membership of 24 organisations, has launched on December 7 the “The Involvement of the MSM and transgender community with the Global Fund New Funding Model Country Processes in the Philippines” Scoping Report, during an organized General Assembly in Metro Manila, Philippines. APCOM, in partnership with Dangal Pilipinas, has conducted a scoping report in the country to assess the level of community engagement in the Global Fund New Funding Model (NFM) Country Processes. Generally, the Scoping Report aims to assess the level of engagement of the MSM and transgender community with the country dialogues in the Philippines. In addition, the report also aims to determine the level of engagements between the community and the Global Fund Philippine CCM. This activity has been supported by Robert Carr Civil Society Networks Fund through the Consortium of MSM and Transgender Networks hosted by MSMGF.

Click here to access the report.

The active involvement of Key Affected Populations (KAP), including the men who have sex with other men (MSM) and transgender people, in the Global Fund against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) country processes is a key feature of its New Funding Model. The GFATM instituted the Country Dialogue – an on-going process that occurs at the country level among the government, the private and public sectors, the networks of KAP, civil society and other technical partners as a means to ensure meaningful involvement of KAP leading towards the development of a robust concept note. However, the complexity of the model poses a challenge to the KAP and their communities to know when and how they can best participate.

“APCOM shares Global Fund’s goals of increased meaningful engagement and participation among the MSM and transgender community in the Philippines with the country processes, including the development of a robust Concept Note,” Midnight Poonkasetwattana, APCOM Executive Director, expressed. “The country dialogue process is a significant opportunity for MSM and transgender organisations to meaningfully involve in all stages of the NFM, and engage with several Global Fund personalities such as the CCM. This will not only provide them with necessary programmatic capacities, but also promote grant ownership among the community.”

However, the report states that the MSM and transgender population subgroups consider their participation as not meaningful in the Philippine implementation of NFM because they were not able to provide inputs in the development of the country concept note. There is limited to no communications provided to MSM and transgender communities from the CCM, which resulted to unclear understanding of the Global Fund country processes. In addition, the KAP Engagement (CCM Funding Pilot) assistance to strengthen the KAP Capacity to engage in the NFM process was not effectively implemented. There is also a failure to create a system of communications for the community representatives within the CCM to consult with their constituency.

“The MSM and transgender community has always been ready and willing to engage meaningfully with the Global Fund NFM Country Processes, but we need something to bridge the gap between what we have already been doing and what we can do more to participate fully and more actively.” Marcelino Oculto, Secretary General of Dangal Pilipinas, stated. “Establishing communications mechanisms with GF bodies, capacitating community organisations with knowledge on GF processes, and shifting the paradigm of looking at the community more as partners in developlment rather than recipients of services are things that we need to steer us to the right direction.”

The MSM and transgender community encountered a number of challenges to be meaningfully involved in the NFM process in the Philippines. Systematic gaps within the CCM posted as challenges for them to engage in the Global Fund, Country Coordinating Mechanism, and country proposal development processes.

APCOM is currently providing support to Dangal Pilipinas to enhance the MSM and transgender community engagement with the Global Fund Country processes including grant implementation. The capacity strengthening at a country level includes conducting a dialogue with the CCM and technical partners for the creation of communication mechanism between community groups and CCM. APCOM also supports the network for its review and revision of National MSM and Transgender Plan, including the creation of M&E Framework within the plan, which will be launched in December 2016.

For more info, contact :

Inad Quinones Rendon
Senior Advocacy and Programmes Officer

APCOM Secretariat
66/1 Sukhumvit 2, Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110, Thailand