Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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Alliance Zambia ensures civil society representation in wider health agenda

1
SEP
2009

Aids Alliance

The International Health Partnership and related initiatives (IHP+), launched in September 2007, seeks to develop results-focused, country-led compacts that rally all development partners around one national health plan.

In order to assist other Alliance linking organisations, this case study explains how Alliance Zambia has engaged in the process in Zambia. Working in partnership with other NGOs in the country through the Civil Society Health Forum, Alliance Zambia has set out to ensure civil society is fully represented in the IHP process.

Zambia started to develop an IHP country compact in November 2007. The roadmap built on the Health Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2006 and the Joint Assistance Strategy for Zambia, which was an attempt to improve the coordination of donor aid in the country.

As part of its ongoing advocacy strategy, Alliance Zambia was keen to be recognised as a key player in the health sector in Zambia and for civil society to have an active part in the decision making processes.

In mid 2008, when the Zambian government had started to draft the IHP Compact, it became apparent that civil society was not being fully involved. Whilst the government was liaising with the Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ) and OXFAM, it was felt that civil society engagement was not sufficiently inclusive.

Within Alliance Zambia, the IHP advocacy work was mainly led by the then Executive Director of Alliance Zambia, Chabu Kangale and the current Programme Director, Lillian Byers, who continues to engage as the Alliance Zambia representative.

The first phase involved working closely with CHAZ (who had by now been co-opted by the government as the single civil society representative in the IHP process) to begin to expand the membership and the representation.

This involved attending a meeting in Geneva of approximately 80 civil society participants, and some of the core IHP signatories (including WHO, the World Bank, the Global Fund, GAVI, UNAIDS, DFID, AusAID and NORAD). The primary purpose of the meeting was to highlight the added value of civil society engagement in the IHP , especially at the global level. Alliance Zambia, CHAZ and OXFAM participated in the meeting.

The second phase was engaging in the process of drafting the compact. The government had already developed a first draft (as an addendum to the original 2006 Health Memorandum of Understanding).

A small group of civil society representatives, including Alliance Zambia, Oxfam, TALC, and CHAZ took the lead in drafting an amendment to the compact on the role of civil society.

The amendment included the suggestion of establishing the Zambian Civil Society Technical Working Group which would become the coordinating body for all the CSOs operating in the Zambian health sector and facilitate the wider representation of civil society in the IHP process.

The Zambian government went on to fully adopt the amendment and this is now included in the addendum to the MoU (see page 15, section "Civil Society’s Commitments of Intent"). It is hoped that civil society will be an equal signatory to the final compact (three representative organisations from the Technical Working Group) when it is signed in November 2009.

Alliance Zambia’s involvement in the development of the IHP compact has increased Alliance Zambia's profile in-country and their ability to influence the wider health agenda. This has directly contributed to the achievement of Alliance Zambia advocacy programme objectives.