On 11 May, Y+ Global, in collaboration with Youth LEAD, organised a webinar, ‘Young Key Population and Youths Engagement in the Global Fund 7th Grant Cycle’, to provide youth-led and youth-serving organisations and networks detailed information on the Global Fund new grant cycle and ways young people can meaningfully engage. This webinar was a platform to launch the resource co-developed by Y+ Global and Youth LEAD to share effective engagement strategies and lessons learned from organisations and networks of young people living with and affected by HIV and to introduce additional support mechanisms for youth engagement in the Global Fund processes, particularly in the GC7. The resource also provides young people with guidance on the funding request development process, including developing community priorities that can feed into the funding request.
The lead consultant, Jeremy Tan, who supported the development of the guide, detailed its contents, methodology, preparation process, plan of action, and the support and resources available within the resource. Jeremy emphasized that putting the tool into practice is crucial to increase youth participation in advocacy opportunities and providing technical assistance in developing youth action plans to engage in the process. “It is important to develop and put the tool into practice to ensure increased youth participation in advocacy opportunities and provide them with technical assistance in developing youth action plans to engage in the process,” he said.
This comprehensive guideline has been crafted to aid in securing funding for addressing the obstacles faced by the young key population in accessing HIV treatment and care. Its overarching goal is to foster an enabling environment that empowers them to engage in decision-making, program design, and evidence-based monitoring mechanisms.
“It is important for country youth-led networks to have knowledge and information about the Global Fund key processes and gain greater understanding and weaknesses in programs areas to address critical gaps of youth engagement,” explained Amanda Banda from the Global Fund, who also touched on issues related to program essentials and the gender matrix and the costing tool that provides ideas for successful community engagement.
Dr Bridgette Quenum from UNAIDS Asia and the Pacific also shared what it means to create and strengthen programmes and interventions to support young people who are most disproportionately affected by HIV. “The engagement of young people is a priority in the Global Fund processes and aligns with the UNAIDS Global AIDS strategy. It is crucial to view young people not only as beneficiaries but also as partners and leaders in the HIV response. Therefore, programs must provide opportunities for their meaningful engagement.,” she added.
Legee Tamir, Project Manager of Youth LEAD and webinar moderator, invited representatives from youth-led organisations to share effective engagement strategies. Serley from Lidar Foundation in Namibia framed their reflection on their organisation's experience with engaging young people with the Global Fund, taking audiences through the process, which included organising consultative meetings with young people at the community level through to the development of funding requests. “In many cases, the specific needs of young people have been previously excluded in previous engagements, and the narrative needs to change. The Global Fund is an important platform to engage young people living with and affected by HIV. This was the first time Lidar participated in co-developing a proposal at a country level, and it was great to witness young people as they took charge of aspects that concern them.”