CSOs in Zimbabwe

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Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Zimbabwe and other developing countries have experienced a changing environment in care for HIV over the last few years. There are stronger and different treatment approaches to HIV being implemented mainly by the CSO and yet funding for civil society groups have dwindled. The changing institutional landscape highlights the urgent need for civil society to review, redefine its role and reposition themselves to contribute to the response to HIV and health generally, considering the linkages between HIV and other health issues. It is important that civil society groups adapt to the changing landscape to the response to remain relevant, considering that they are key player in the fight to ending the AIDS epidemic. The question that arise is “How can CSOs in HIV adapt to respond appropriately to the changing landscape and the clarion call for access to health?”

As government provides most of the services including prevention and treatment to PLHIVs, civil society groups can focus on:

a) support adherence to treatment,

b) support marginalised and key populations to enable access to both prevention and treatment,

c) provide a watchdog role in the communities,

d) advocate for policy change, through addressing structural/human rights/gender-related barriers to access to care, including legal and policy change, and

e) support community health systems and reach those most vulnerable to HIV where state facilities are not available.

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CSO Strategic Priority Action Plan - Zimbabwe

Initial meetings held by civil society groups reviewing the issues in 2018 prioritised the need to define and clarify civil society’s new role in supporting the achievement of the goals of 90-90-90 in HIV, expand civil society’s role in the move to a more coordinated health and HIV approach, focus on the achievement of Universal Health Coverage, and develop the capacity of networks of civil society groups to strengthen their voice and advocacy role.

These meetings with a cross section of civil society groups reviewed the issues, identified the strategic gaps and agreed what activities would address these strategic gaps. This enabled a review of the strategic direction and developed the HIV and Health CSO Strategic Priority Action Plan, which detailed activities and indicators to assess progress towards each strategic priority. One of the strategic priorities is programme management and leadership skills.

CSO Charter - Zimbabwe

In light of the changes in the HIV and AIDS epidemic that have resulted to shifts in the response to the epidemic at national, regional and global level, the Zimbabwe Civil Society Organizations, convened, developed and adopted the charter based on consultations within the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and other Stakeholders in the HIV and AIDS sector and outcomes of three CSOs’ workshops held in December 2018, in Harare. The Zimbabwe CSO Charter has been validated in March 2019 and building capacity for policy development, leadership, effective and responsive programming.

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CSO Management Skills, Leadership and Programme Management for Health and HIV CSOs

Strong program management and leadership skills of civil Society groups are critical for the Health and HIV Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) if they are to effectively engage Government and partners on program issues, manage projects and contribute meaningfully to the realization of the 90-90-90 Agenda and Universal Health Coverage. As the CSOs in Zimbabwe reposition themselves to contribute to the 90-90-90 Agenda and play key roles in the management of Global Fund grant and other programmes, the key leaders/managers will require training on leadership development (aptitude, attitude, proficiencies) and program management.

It is against this background that there is need to capacitate selected HIV and Health CSOs.

As the GFATM interim Principal Recipient, UNDP, is supporting capacity development of individuals (skills building) within Sub Recipients (SRs), including the CSOs, in the areas of coordination and management, accountability and risk management, including the country’s Health Information System.