On Tuesday, December 15, GHC hosted a webinar debriefing session on the most recent Global Financing Facility Learning Event and Civil Society (CS) pre-meeting around Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH), which occurred in November 14-16 in Nairobi, Kenya.

The speakers were Monique Vledder from the World Bank GFF Secretariat, as well as Joanne Carter (RESULTS) and Mesfin Teklu (World Vision International), the CS representatives to the GFF Investors Group.

The mid-November meeting was a learning event to hear from the countries that have begun the process and seeing what has worked for them and figuring out how their experiences can be helpful to the GFF process moving forward.

The discussion focused on the country-level platforms and the experience and inputs of CS thus far. It was widely recognized that some challenges remain at the country-level with the main funders, but that the process has been largely country-driven. Both CS and World Bank representatives agreed that CS has been taken seriously and proved valued input.

The main uncertainties remain around questions of quality assurance at the global-level, although most stakeholders agree quality is a key component that needs to be tracked and measured. However, the country platform is at the center of the GFF, it is where the opportunity for CS resonates and CS can and should be included in development quality assurance standards.

The process has also differed widely for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in each frontrunner country. Limited exposure to, or knowledge of, the GFF process, lack of clarity on opportunities to engage in the GFF process, limited communications with CSOs have limited the robustness CS participation. It is important that CS representatives be selected by civil society in transparent ways and all stakeholders, not just CS must be held accountable to the GFF and to minimum standards. Financial tracking mechanisms are important to combat corruption and ensure funding is well-spent.

The speakers predicted that funding will be used more efficiently due to the GFF and noted that most GFF funding is newly allocated, not “old money” that has been moved around, particularly from countries that historically have not supported such initiatives.

CS representatives expressed that they have high expectations of both the private and public sectors to support the GFF and stressed the importance of having and following a multi-stakeholder engagement plan to ensure inclusiveness. They see the country platform as where actions meet light and foresee 2016 as the year that action will be at the country-level, with CSOs participating at the forefront. In general, CSOs need coordination support within countries as well as at the global-level, including communication with CS.

Overall, the Learning Event in Nairobi was a positive experience for both the World Bank GFF Secretariat as well for the CS representatives to the GFF Investors Group. The Secretariat aims to launch a website in February 2016, which will post regular updates on country progress. The frontrunner and donor countries have agreed on follow-up actions and have taken those back to the country-level ahead of the next GFF Investors Group meeting in February 2016. All stakeholders have had the chance to learn from each other and identify gaps at both country- and global-levels.

GHC will host another webinar ahead of the February 2016 GFF Investors Group meeting. Stay tuned to our Twitter feed and Events page for updates, and check out our new Webinar page to view previous discussions.