Meet AIM Grant Recipient: Partnership for Sustainable Development (PaSD)
Earlier this year, Global Health Council awarded its first-ever Advocacy in Motion (AIM) Grants to five civil society organizations. These grants are intended to support advocacy and health equity, as well as amplify the voices of local and regional organizations. This month we are featuring one of our winners, The Partnership for Sustainable Development (PaSD).
Established in 2003 as Citizens United to Promote Peace and Democracy in Liberia (CUPPADL), PaSD is a Liberia-based civil society organization focused on promoting democracy, peace, human rights, policy, and development through advocacy. We recently spoke with PaSD’s Executive Director, David P. Flomo, to learn more about the organization and its work.
Can you tell us a bit about PaSD?
Originally named CUPPADL, PaSD has been working in Liberia since 2003. For the first several years, we advocated within the country’s health, water and sanitation, public financial management, natural resources and concessions, civil society, and governance sectors. We have successfully influenced and increased civil society participation in public policy formulation, implementation, and deliverance of basic social services. Our advocacy work has improved Liberia’s policy and governance environments, quality of services, and public access to basic social services, such as healthcare, water, sanitation, public finance, natural resources and concessions, and social funds.
How has COVID impacted your organization and the community it serves?
In April 2020, the president of Liberia declared a state of emergency and instituted a number of COVID restriction measures. As a result, the donor resources that PaSD heavily relies on became scarce. We had to limit our operations and reduce our activities. Various social, economic, and infrastructure development programs geared towards community growth and development were redirected to COVID-19 response-related activities, which stalled progress in the communities we serve.
What is the biggest challenge your organization is facing today?
PaSD is facing several challenges. The most pressing are:
- Logistical constraints—especially mobility for our staff to reach outlying communities
- Securing funding ongoing expenses, such as office space and compensation for our staff. Due to this challenge, much of our staff works on a contractual or volunteer basis.
- Donor fatigue in Liberia and a lack of internal resources have made it difficult to mobilize resources to accomplish our organizational goals and mission. Because of this, many organizations are mobilizing resources through external and out-of-country channels.
What are you currently doing to overcome these challenges? What help do you need to overcome them?
To address our lack of mobility, each of our project proposals now asks for funding to cover necessary vehicle rental expenses, as well as a mechanism to reimburse transportation expenses. To meet recurrent and administrative costs, we ensure specific donor-funded projects can cover the expenses of staff, office space, and other administrative obligations related to that project. However, in the event that we can’t find a donor project to cover expenses, we will terminate that contract ahead of time. To secure more funding, our Program and Resource Mobilization team has adopted a policy of searching for international donors whose mission aligns with PaSD’s.
Overcoming these challenges sustainably will require more human resources, logistical capacity-building support, and training in resource-mobilization techniques. At the same time, PaSD will need to connect with various out-of-country donors and raise its organizational profile among regional, subregional, and global development stakeholders.
How are you hoping the AIM Grant will help your organization?
AIM grant funds will help PaSD achieve specific objectives pertaining to health and strengthening civil society’s capacity to demand accountability from decision-makers on their developmental and human rights commitments. This support will help PaSD meet its objectives to ensure duty bearers, duty holders, and non-state actors (NSAs) fulfill their responsibilities of facilitating health rights, goals, and targets. The grant will also help PaSD and other involved NSAs elevate their profiles through press coverage as they demand accountability from government decision-makers, development partners, and civil society.
What does “health equity” mean to you?
Health equity means that everyone has access to basic healthcare services through inclusive policies, services, infrastructure, human resources, and financing. Unfortunately, factors outside of a person’s control, such as discrimination and lack of resources, can prevent them from achieving their best health. Working toward health equity is a way to overcome these factors to create a happier, healthier world.
What are some actionable steps you think global health decision-makers can take to increase health equity?
- Mobilize political will and the full involvement of all the stakeholders at the national level, including government, opposition political leaders, civil society, community dwellers, and traditional stakeholders.
- Mobilize and properly target resources for essential services and activities, especially towards rural hard-to-reach communities, vulnerable populations, and those left behind.
- Ensure that healthcare sector policies and procedures are continuously improving to maximize accessibility.
What is the most important message you want to give to global health decision-makers?
Civil society capacity—especially at the grassroots and rural level—should be enhanced, and CSOs should be given the space to lead engagement efforts at the national level to influence political will, targeting of resources, the policy environment, and institutional structures within the health sector.