CSO Initiative

PEPFAR Civil Society Organization Initiative


The full participation of civil society organizations (CSOs) in every stage of programming and planning, from advocacy to service delivery, is critical to the success and sustainability of PEPFAR and the global effort to combat HIV.

Successful planning for Country Operational Plans (COP) depends on working with the community to establish agreed upon measurable outcomes, assessing the extent to which these outcomes have been achieved, and developing objectives for future work to address any gaps.

For CSOs to make informed and relevant contributions to this process, they must be able to access and understand information about PEPFAR goals, investments, program performance to date, and proposed future targets and investments.

Civil society representatives came to the COP planning process with diverse experience and expertise. Some were highly conversant in use of strategic information for decision making, while many others had very little experience or understanding of how to assess and interpret data. It was the role of the PEPFAR teams to develop a simplified framework that facilitated the process of reviewing and presenting epidemiological and program data in a manner that empowered CSO staff to analyze and understand the information that supports PEPFAR’s program planning and decision-making process.

At the outset of the project, HRSA, AIHA, and National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) provided a menu of specialized technical assistance options for PEPFAR country teams and CSOs to choose from: CSO recruitment for participation in COP planning and implementation, meaningful CSO engagement in COP planning, meaningful CSO engagement in PEPFAR implementation, and evaluation of CSO engagement and dissemination of tools.

Ultimately, PEPFAR teams from four countries requested technical assistance (TA) from the CSO EngagementInitiative of Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Uganda. The project encompassed a series of activities customized to each country’s needs and timed to coincide with COP-related activities as appropriate.

This initiative had two key goals:

  • Building the capacity of PEPFAR teams in select countries to more meaningfully engage community and civil society in COP planning
  • Enabling PEPFAR teams worldwide to more meaningfully engage civil society in COP planning

To achieve these goals, AIHA and NASTAD developed a data use package that was disseminated to PEPFAR teams worldwide. We also designed a series of technical assistance interventions to facilitate more meaningful engagement between PEPFAR country teams and local CSOs.

AIHA implemented data TOT trainings in Nigeria and Ethiopia. At the end of 2018, AIHA provided technical supervision for PEPFAR teams to conduct stakeholder orientation and development retreats where they put the skills learned in the data TOT trainings to use with local CSOs.


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