PITCH in 2019: A decisive year for change
PITCH in 2019: A decisive year for change
We are proud to share the key successes and learnings from the penultimate year of the Partnership to Inspire, Transform and Connect the HIV Response (PITCH) in our annual report. In 2019, PITCH advocacy has had inspiring results in the nine programme countries and has influenced global policy.
In Nigeria, for example, PITCH partners have secured the country’s first harm reduction pilots, and in Uganda they have persuaded members of parliament to take their first steps towards the decriminalisation of sex work.
These changes, and the other examples in this report, mark important milestones on the road towards improved access to HIV services for key populations and adolescent girls and young women, and are cause for celebration.
PITCH partners successfully used advocacy and campaigning to secure commitments on both HIV and the most vulnerable people
At the global level, PITCH partners have overcome significant obstacles and achieved important firsts. As this report describes, in 2019 PITCH partners successfully used advocacy and campaigning to secure commitments on both HIV and the most vulnerable people in the Political Declaration agreed during the High-Level Meeting on universal health coverage (UHC). In the Ministerial Declaration that accompanied last year’s UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, PITCH partners successfully lobbied for the inclusion of a stocktake of the last decade of drug policy and for the uptake of other key recommendations. In the face of an increasingly organised and vocal opposition to the health and human rights of key populations at the global level, these achievements mark significant steps forward.
In 2019 PITCH regional programmes in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) and Southern Africa were launched, adding valuable new dimensions to the programme. The EECA programme has increased recognition of the critical role community-based organisations play in providing HIV services, while the Southern Africa programme is helping to increase momentum in the age of consent for accessing sexual and reproductive health services in the region. Having more structured regional programmes has also created important new opportunities for synergies between the different levels of PITCH advocacy.
Support partners through COVID-19 crisis
At the time of writing, the PITCH partnership, and the entire world, is adapting to an unprecedented challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, with significant implications for health, human rights and the global economy. Naturally, country lockdowns and travel bans are affecting PITCH programme implementation. PITCH partners are having to adapt or delay their activities, and in some cases cancel them. PITCH staff at Frontline AIDS and Aidsfonds, as well as our country focal points, are doing all we can to support our partners through this crisis, helping them to adjust their work plans, budgets and operating models to mitigate the risks and continue our common effort towards achieving PITCH’s goals.
In late 2019, following careful analysis, we made the strategic decision to invest nearly €360,000 in UHC advocacy and domestic resource mobilisation. In early 2020, before lockdown hit, we brought together global, regional, and national PITCH partners at our annual policy summit, with an agenda focussed on UHC and sustainability. In the remainder of 2020, we will further strengthen partner capacity on these topics, and work with them to design and implement country-specific advocacy strategies on domestic health budgeting and UHC that respond to the new context of COVID-19.
Deliver the next generation of inspiring advocacy
Finally, as 2020 is the final year of the PITCH programme, we will heavily invest in cementing the long-term impact of our partners’ work and of the programme as a whole. Through the PITCH Sustainability Initiative, we will support partners to document their successes, mobilise new resources, communicate about what makes them unique, and finely tune their capacities so they are able to fundraise for, and deliver, the next generation of inspiring advocacy.
Christine Stegling Executive Director, Frontline Aids Mark Vermeulen Executive Director, Aidsfonds