In late April, APCOM hosted a two-day consultation and workshop in Bangkok on transition and sustainability readiness for HIV advocates from across South East Asia. Participants learned about new strategies and examined a range of case studies on best practices taking place across the region. There was also some strategic regional level guidance to help participants implement strategies at national levels.
One of the participants was Bunthorn Kong who works with Bandanh Chaktomok, one of APCOM’s partner organisation in Cambodia. Bunthorn is also the MSM Representative on the Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) for Cambodia. CCM’s are national committees in each country that submit funding applications to the Global Fund on behalf of the entire country. They include representatives from government, the private sector, technical partners, civil society and key affected communities.
We asked Bunthorn about his work with the Global Fund in Cambodia:
What has been your proudest moment as a community member in your country CCM?
I am really proud to be elected and representing the MSM community. Through the CCM platform, I can bring the collective voices of MSM – in terms of issues, concerns or needs of the MSM community – into the discussions, particularly in relation to grant development, implementation and monitoring. Furthermore, I have learned a lot in relation to CCM roles, Global Fund mechanisms, structures and processes and national HIV programs. Most of all of proud that I can be a part of the decision making process so I can support the needs of my community.
As a member of the community CCM in your country, what are the challenges to ensure that you perform that function well?
There are a number of challenges. Firstly, we need to broadly understand the local impact and response to HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. The Global Fund has a range of technical strategies, procedures, and policies that CCM members need to clearly understand, implement and follow up. Secondly, we have to contend with a lack of data and an evidence-base to advocate on behalf of the needs of affected communities. Thirdly, we have to overcome language barriers to understand and communicate about CCM or Global Fund-related activities. Sometimes it can be difficult for community members to understand the Global Fund papers or communicate with other CCM members or key stakeholders and this can affect our advocacy and networking.
Do you have any concrete recommendations to the CCM and the Global Fund for more meaningful participation in the development of the transition plan for Cambodia?
There are three things that will ensure the meaningful participation of affected communities in the development of the transition plan:
- Capacity building on STC, Global Fund and national HIV budgeting.
- Provide ongoing support to key affected communities and their networks
- Empower key affected communities to take lead in STC implementation.