I feel included in a community, a network, and I know that I have a whole community [with other workshop participants] that will help to advance my efforts in my country
The GFF is a country-led mechanism, bringing together multiple sources of funding to accelerate progress on reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition (RMNCAH-N). Civil society organisations have a crucial role to play in the GFF: amplifying the voice of their constituencies to influence priority setting; monitoring country commitments; and holding government to account for mobilising domestic resources and improving RMNCAH-N outcomes.
However, despite this potential, civil society are often unaware of how the GFF works or how they can get involved. This workshop equipped civil society with the knowledge and tools to understand and strengthen the role they can play in the GFF.
Without civil society, the GFF is not sustainable
A format tailored to French speaking countries
Tailored material, facilitated group work and activities on the GFF were provided in French for the first time to participants from DRC, CAR, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Rwanda, Mali, Madagascar, and Cameroon.
On welcoming participants to Dakar, Dr Omar Sarr, Head of RMNCH for the Senegal Ministry of Health, highlighted the timeliness and need for this training for French speaking countries. “Pregnancy and childbirth often bring joy and celebration to family and friends. Unfortunately, in many cases, this celebration does not take place. Too many women lose their lives during pregnancy and by giving birth. Too many newborns die within 24 hours of birth, and many children do not live beyond their fifth birthday. We know the reasons for these deaths and how to prevent two thirds of them.”
Sharing learnings and making commitments
During the workshop, participants created a community of practice: sharing knowledge and learning within and between experienced countries and those just starting out in their engagement with the GFF. Participants learnt what it means to meaningfully include youth; the importance of understanding the GFF process to know when and how to access and share key documents; and how to hold authorities to account by aligning monitoring activities to track funding and interventions.
At the end of the three-day workshop, each country delegation made commitments to disseminate information across the ten countries represented and to continue to engage on behalf of the Francophone community with the GFF. Participants were united in their agreement for continued support to French speaking civil society to strengthen engagement with the GFF, and to continue to save the lives of women, children and newborns.
For the first time, things are transparent: we didn’t know about the GFF and now we do!