PITCH partners in strong drive towards sustainability
In January 2020, partners in the Partnership to Inspire, Transform and Connect the HIV Response (PITCH) took part in the final PITCH policy summit in Uganda. PITCH focuses on strengthening the advocacy capacity of community-based organsations and the issue of sustainability has been a constant feature of the five-year programme. As we enter this final year, partners shared their hopes and strategies for sustainability and how to ensure successes achieved with PITCH live on after the programme ends, especially in the midst of multiple challenges for the HIV response.
In a global political context where we see a deprioritisation of HIV as countries move towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and broader health systems reform, partners voiced that it is critical to keep building on the gains made with UHC advocacy in the coming years by strengthening their engagement with broader networks working on UHC at the national, regional and global levels.
UHC is the sustainability of my treatment. I use UHC to talk to the government bodies of KP and criminalisation
Baby Rivona Nasution, Indonesia
Funding and movement building key to sustained success
Domestic resource mobilization is also a crucial component of sustainability, not just to ensure governments increase funding for the national HIV response especially in countries where donors are leaving, but also to ensure sufficient funding for the community response, both service delivery and advocacy. Developing capacity on the most effective ways to advocate for increased domestic resources for HIV, health and the community response and enhancing the technical knowledge of PITCH partners on influencing governments’ budget appropriation and spending was highlighted by participants as a key area of attention in PITCHs final year.
In unity, we stand strong. If going it alone, you are a brick easily pushed aside.
Richard Lusimbo, Uganda
Partners also highlighted that we cannot ignore the topic of shrinking civic space and the need to strengthen and sustain alliances through movement building and developing long term strategies for socio-economic sustainability. It is also important to document data and disseminate learnings of successful approaches, advocacy achievements and initiatives to showcase the added value of investing in community-based activism.
Organisational development is crucial
On the subject of accountability, partners also expressed a need for further capacity-building on how to engage with existing international and regional human rights mechanisms, to support advocacy on broadening the space for civil society and the barriers faced in particular by key population-led advocates and groups. Partners want to strengthen their capacity to hold governments accountable with resources for building an evidence base and documenting successes to show the impact of community-led advocacy.
The Summit ended with participants agreeing that the strong partnerships that have been built during PITCH should continue with various approaches that should be prioritized in this final year. Firstly, through ongoing communication and a commitment to keep on working together after the program ends, and using opportunities for joint funding applications to new donors. Secondly, by promoting and supporting linkages with other programs and strategic partnerships, and thirdly, through documenting stories of change and the impact of community advocacy.
We have to start now with considering sustainability at all levels, sustainability of the HIV and AIDS response, sustainability of our organizations and partnerships, and sustainability at the personal level.
Participant at the PITCH Policy Summit