The capital of land of smiles, Bangkok, welcomes back the Sustainability of HIV Services for Key Populations in Asia Program-2 (SKPA-2) implementers for a two days event held on 5 to 6 September 2023. The first day was dedicated to the Regional Steering Committee (RSC) Meeting, an independent advisory committee tasked with providing strategic leadership and guidance for the program. The hybrid event accommodated in-person participants, the SKPA-2 sub-recipients from 4 countries (Bhutan, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines) and representatives of Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) of each country, as well as other RSC Members who joined virtually.
The meeting kickstarted by the Principal Recipient of the program, Health Equity Matters, presenting SKPA-2 general program updates. Among other that were being highlighted was the need for support of domestic resource mobilization and program ownership, in addition to the good burn rate – one of the most important key performance indicators of the program – in one year implementation of SKPA-2 since it officially started on 1 July 2022 at about 80%, and commitment for more rapid programme implementation in year 2 (period July 2023 to June 2024). Other important components included in the agenda were the sub-recipients’ presentations, each highlighting their top milestones in year 1 and top three goals for the year 2 program implementation and discussion on disbanding future SKPA-2 RSC meetings.
Day two was dedicated for sub-recipients review and planning. The full-day meeting was packed with a handful of activities, including reflections and reviews of the program’s performance framework. Most important were the process of looking into the details of the four programme objectives – one hour allocated for each objective – allowing sub-recipients to analyze their respective scope of work and work plan for programme implementation going forward.
In parallel during day two, the finance personnel of each sub-recipients also had their specific sessions. Edzelyn Zabala-Baduya from Health Equity Matters Team who led the finance-specific session commented, “The half-day session that was held as part of the two days meeting gave us a chance to recognize the accomplishments of the F&A team, determine what more has to be done to improve, stay updated on the latest Global Fund guidelines, and plan for more capacity-building sessions. I’m looking forward to more team engagement and knowledge sharing.”
For this two-day regional event, Felicity Young, the Principal Director of SKPA-2 concluded that “the program had a very strong first year and the team has made great strides in operationalizing the findings from the baseline assessment. One key takeaway from the planning meetings is that the project is poised for success in several critical areas such as community-led monitoring and in our human rights and gender program. In Year 2, we will work closely with our country partners to realise the potential of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and HIV self-testing along with developing viable models of domestic financing.” She further commented, “It will be a busy year for SKPA-2 but I have no doubt that we are up to the challenge.”
About the Contributor
Nicky Suwandi (He/Him/His)
Knowledge Management & Learning
Nicky led the demand generation initiatives during SKPA-1, and with his current position, he is aiming to facilitate discussions and promote cross-learning in the SKPA-2 project and beyond. In addition, his work is deeply rooted in creating meaningful changes for key population communities, specifically on HIV online interventions, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and sexualized drug use or chemsex. Hailing from Indonesia, he is equipped with a degree in communication studies, and have experience working in a national network for men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women, which comprises more than 80 community-based organizations and support groups across the archipelago.