2016 has been a challenging year for many of us working in the development sector, with an external environment characterised by unprecedented volatility, requiring a degree of flexibility and agility from NGOs at a level we have not experienced before.
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In spite of these challenges, the Alliance performed well. In terms of achievements, 2016 was a good year with 12 targets, out of 16, met or exceeded, thanks to the effort and strong performance by Alliance Linking Organisations and partners.
This includes nearly 1.5 million people receiving HIV treatment, care and support packages, an increase of 25% from last year, and 840,000 people from key population groups provided with defined packages of HIV prevention services, including 180,000 in Africa, despite an increasingly hostile environment for LGBT people.
Changes to how we work
We made a number of changes to the way we work in order to remain relevant, staying true to the premise of ‘adapt or fall’, which was the theme of our Board of Trustees meeting in November 2016.
We undertook a comprehensive organisational change process to create a more efficient and agile Secretariat in the UK (and with staff located across the globe) and engaged with our trustees and senior management of Linking Organisations to drive a change agenda for the entire partnership, acknowledging that ‘business as usual’ would not be adequate for the immediate future.
We reviewed our approach to Southern leadership, deciding in early 2017 to stop funding the institutional structures of the Alliance Centres of Practice, and instead support specific products and initiatives led by Linking Organisations. Investment in sustainable Southern leadership will remain a key organisational objective, and we are engaging with Linking Organisations about how to achieve this, learning from and building on the achievements of the work done to date.
Investment in sustainable Southern leadership will remain a key organisational objective
An external evaluation of our strategy, which generally told a very positive story about the Alliance’s work based on the impact data collected by the annual survey of Linking Organisations, recommended a move towards more outcome-focused indicators to better describe how our work brings about changes to people’s lives. Responding to this, we are making adjustments to the results framework and evaluation activities to capture more qualitative and narrative evidence.
New data captured by this year’s annual report describes the contribution by community-based organisations financed through the Alliance towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We plan to prioritise advocacy around the SDGs during 2017 and in the run up to 2030, and to find ways to better understand and capture our impact at the level of community-based organisations, specifically showing how our work at global, regional and national level directly contributes to the SDGs.
2017 has proven to be a challenging year, with the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy by the US administration threatening to undo the significant progress towards integrated sexual and reproductive health and rights and HIV programming achieved in the past years, and steadily declining Official Development Assistance, especially in middle-income countries – and all this in a context of persistently high levels of new HIV infections.
We are at a significant stage in the response to HIV and need to ensure that the gains made in HIV prevention, treatment, care and support over the last 30 years are not lost.
We will fight to keep prevention on the agenda at a time when there is a danger of new epidemics emerging in Eastern Europe and Eastern and Southern Africa.
The Alliance will continue to do quality, integrated programming with key populations, and will work with governments to strengthen health systems that work for and with communities, including advocating for domestic financing of the community HIV response. We will fight to keep prevention on the agenda at a time when there is a danger of new epidemics emerging in Eastern Europe and Eastern and Southern Africa.
We will continue to embed our unique partnership in our principles of Southern leadership and shared responsibility, and ensure that we contribute to reducing the impact of HIV, inequality and discrimination and protecting the human rights of the most marginalised people.