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TIP Partner Amos Mwale Speaks on Civil Society Engagement in the Global Health Initiative

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Amos Mwale, the Executive Director of Youth Vision Zambia (a TIP partner) spoke at InterAction’s Forum in Washington, DC on a panel about civil society engagement with the Global Health Initiative (GHI). He joined a panel discussion that included: Michelle Folsom (Program Development Director, PATH), Janis Timberlake (Director for the Office of Country Support, USAID), and moderator Mary Pack (Vice President for Domestic and International Affairs, International Medical Corps).

At the session, the results of a small survey of international implementing organizations and local civil society working in GHI countries were shared. This survey was circulated to TIP partners in our six focus countries to help capture the different experience of local civil society organizations. Special thanks to those partners who completed the survey – your voices were heard! While the survey found that overall knowledge of the GHI had improved, as compared to a similar survey which was conducted last year, there was still a strong desire for improved consultation, more coordination and better channels to address outstanding questions about the GHI.

The survey also found that local civil society’s knowledge of the GHI largely came from international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) and not through direct contact with the U.S. Mission in country. Amos provided concrete examples of local civil society’s experience with the development and implementation of the GHI in Zambia. Zambia’s GHI country strategy is currently under development and, according to USAID’s Janis Timberlake, may be publicly released by the end of May. Amos called for greater transparency in the roll out and decision making process around the GHI in country.

He noted how challenging it has been for local civil society to connect with U.S. Mission staff and the identified the missed opportunities that arise from the failure to robustly engage with indigenous organizations. Improved collaboration with civil society can result in greater trust and buy-in on the GHI’s goals and strategies, the development of more sustainable initiatives, and the identification of existing health programs and commitments in country that the GHI can build upon. The speakers and audience representing the U.S. government, implementers and advocacy organizations at this session were very engaged and support the U.S.’s new approach to global health. Hopefully this group – and other allies in the U.S. and GHI countries – will continue to improve civil society’s access to information about the GHI and coordinate to deliver on the GHI’s vision.

Source: Population Action International

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